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Jagjit Singh... beyond time



Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee releasing Jagjit Singh's book `Beyond Time' in New Delhi.

BIOGRAPHIES OF celebrities released in the presence of the very person in surveillance provide no big news. It, in a way, stamps an endorsement of the words that fill up the pages. But, what became attention grabbing at the launch of ghazal superstar Jagjit Singh's pictorial biography - `Beyond Time' - in New Delhi this past week was his making public about "the fact" that only some part of his privacy is for sale.

"I would say only 80 per cent of my private life is out for all's perusal at present. The rest, I have saved for my autobiography," said the versatile son of Punjab in his rich, velvety voice. However, immediately, he added with a smile, "like a garland, Ashaji put the incidents of my life in order. My progression from the beginning till now is well-mentioned in the book". He promised an autobiography as soon as he retires.

Released by Delhi-based Habitat Arts Private Limited, the hard bound book is based on close to 40 hours of recorded interviews with Jagjit and his singer wife Chitra Singh, with members of his family, friends, fellow musicians, poets, film directors and colleagues, transcribed and edited by freelance writer Asharani Mathur. The book, with a foreword by Lata Mangeskar, has three-dozen favourite ghazals of Jagjit Singh in it, which, despite the exorbitant price of Rs. 2,750 for only 168 pages, can very well be a collector's item.

"Besides his life story, it has many good pictures from the personal collection of the couple," added Pankaj Kodesia, the Director of Habitat Arts, whose association with the maestro goes back to his first show at Hyatt Regency in Delhi in 1984.

However, one more interesting point about owning a copy of it is also a set of two CDs comprising the singer's favourite collection of his ghazals and nazms, compiled by Saregama - HMV.

SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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