Singer-wife Mitali Singh remembers the multi-faceted artiste who found the perfect creative partner in Gulzar
Gulzar and Bhupinder Singh
Bhupiji’s voice was haunting. I always used to say he was blessed with a unique tonal quality. There are many singers who sound like Kishore [Kumar] and Mohammed Rafi saab, but I have never heard another voice like Bhupiji’s. We sang many songs together, but some — like Shama jalaye rakhna and Raahon pe nazar rakhna — remain etched in my heart.
It’s rare that a singer is also a musician and composer. He played the guitar brilliantly. [When composing], he would also imagine the arrangement. Bhupiji would compose music for all our albums. When he would make me hear it, we would sometimes fight [as I would question his composition]. He would then tell me that I don’t understand. And sure enough, after the song was recorded, it sounded divine.
Bhupiji would do riyaaz every day, but there was no specific time for it. He would practise anytime — be it night, morning or afternoon. He was always living and breathing music. Sometimes, when a tune struck him, he would hum it to me and seek my opinion. Sometimes, he would call up Gulzar saab, saying, ‘Ek dhun aa rahi hai, aapko kuch lafz dene hai.’
Gulzar saab and he shared a special relationship. They loved each other and had immense respect for one another’s craft. Few know that Gulzar saab’s first nazm or blank verse was composed by Bhupiji in 1980.
Nobody had recorded his nazms before that, as they are difficult to compose. In fact, Bhupiji was also the first to record Gulzar saab’s non-filmi poetry in the album, Woh Jo Shair Tha. His last album with Gulzar saab was Surmayi Raat. They had a lovely tuning.
In the last few years, he hardly did playback singing. In today’s times, the young music directors have their own [preferences]. His last film song was Na jis din teri meri baat hoti hai for Madhur Bhandarkar’s Traffic Signal . In Satya , he sang the romantic track, Badalon se kaat kaat ke. You can hear the variations in his voice. After a song was composed, Bhupiji would take it to another level. This, when he never took any formal training. He was naturally gifted.
On your playlist
. Hothon pe aisi baat – Jewel Thief (1967)
. Beeti na bitai raina – Parichay (1972)
. Dil dhoondta hai – Mausam (1975)
. Ek akela is shaher mein – Gharaonda (1977)
. Naam gum jayega – Kinara (1977)
. Thodi si zameen thoda aasman – Sitara (1980 film)
. Karoge yaad toh – Bazaar (1982)
. Huzoor is kadar bhi – Masoom (1983)
Also Read: Singer Bhupinder Singh passes away in Mumbai