Mumbai

Ghazal singer Rajendra Mehta passes away

Gifted vocalist: Rajendra Mehta’s love for Urdu poetry gave him a unique insight into the language.

Gifted vocalist: Rajendra Mehta’s love for Urdu poetry gave him a unique insight into the language.  

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He along with his wife, known as ‘Musical Mehtas’, performed together for 36 years

Five days after ghazal singer Rajendra Mehta recovered from a brief lung infection and kidney disease, he passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, at the age of 85.

Long before Jagjit and Chitra Singh performed ghazals as a couple, there was Mehta and his wife Nina. They started performing together shortly after their marriage in 1967 and shot to fame with Prem Warbatoni nazm ‘Taj Mahal Mein Aa Jaana’ from Humsafar (1980). “They performed for more than 36 years together, and continued until my sister was not keeping well and couldn’t perform on stage,” said Ms. Mehta’s brother Sudhir Shah. “They were popularly called Musical Mehtas.”

Mehta was born in Lahore in 1934. “During his younger days in Lahore, his grandfather had lost his vision and it was Mehta’s duty to read the daily news to him in Urdu,” Mr. Shah said. “This made him a skilful reader of the language.”

Subsequent to Partition, the family moved to Lucknow where Mehta continued to pursue his love for music. Eventually, he moved to Mumbai where he met his wife.

Mr. Shah recalled how Mehta was an emotional man, always affected by the poetry. He had a very good rapport with Kaifi Azmi and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. When the latter visited India, he made sure to meet Mehta. “On occasion, he even cried while singing a ghazal and of course like all artistes enjoyed the response from public over the singing,” Mr. Shah said, adding he was an exceptionally gifted vocalist. “But the sad part was that he never had any recognition from the Indian government.”

Mehta’s love for Urdu poetry gave him a unique insight into the language. “Very often, before he would compose a ghazal, my sister and Mehta would read it for [and delve into it] over six months,” Mr. Shah said.

He also said his brother-in-law would occasionally sing bhajans and geet but he pursued his love for Urdu ghazals till the end.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 1:37:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/ghazal-singer-rajendra-mehta-passes-away/article29976656.ece

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