Friday, October 12, 2012

Chitra Singh - Safar me dhoop to hogi

Chitra Shome was born in Calcutta in a musical family. She had no formal training in music, but had a lovely voice.  Very early in her life (I could not find dates for her birthday or any important events on the internet) she married Dutta and moved to Bombay.  Her husband ran a sound recording studio and recorded jingles.  Chitra was a popular voice on these jingles and was soon joined by Jagjit Singh who was looking to make money.

Her marriage was on the rocks by the time they met, and soon she was divorced from Dutta and married to Jagjit Singh.  They tried to get into singing for movies, but the talented Jagjit Singh brought out The Unforgettables, a collection of ghazals that catapulted them into instant fame.  Soon ghazals were all over the place and Jagjit and Chitra ruled the scene like a king and his queen.

Slim, beautiful and sophisticated Chitra, with her high cheekbones looked gorgeous beside the handsome Jagjit.  Jagjit's deep voice and Chitra's light flutey voice complemented each other perfectly.

Although Chitra was overshadowed by the massively talented Jagjit, she held her own and is appreciated and her ghazals and songs sought after even now.

I am always on the look out for Chitra solos, sung emotionally yet with a light touch.  Her songs bring out the lyrics, but rarely make you feel depressed. Just thoughtful.

Here is an early ghazal of hers, written by Nida Fazli, composed by (I am guessing here) Jagjit Singh

Kisi ke vaste rahen kahan badalti hain
tum apne aap to khud hi badal sako to chalo


safar me.n dhuup to hogii, jo chal sako to chalo
sabhii hain birrD me, tum bhii nikal sako to chalo

kisii ke vaasate raahe.n kahaa.N badalatii hai.n
tum apane aap ko Kud hii badal sako to chalo

yahaan kisii ko koii raasataa nahii.n detaa
mujhe Giraake agar tum sambhal sako to chalo

yahii hai zi.ndagii, kuchh Khawab chand ummiiden
inhii khilauno se tum bhii bahal sako to chalo


  1. For me, Chitra's voice is synonymous with the landscape of Ladakh. One year, when my dad was posted in Srinagar, we accompanied him on a 10-day tour of Ladakh, driving for hours everyday. The jonga had a cassette player, and we had taken along (perhaps short-sightedly) only two cassettes: a Jagjit-Chitra one, and one of Anup Jalota's ghazals. Blue, blue skies, the Indus, gorgeous mountains, sprawling bushes loaded with wild pink roses - and Chitra singing Kisi ranjish ko hawa do.... lovely.

  2. That must have been an awesome feeling. I love Chitra's voice.

    I mean to hunt up several of her ghazals and post them here from time to time :)

  3. Thanks for introducing me to her!