Jagjit Singh will forever be remembered as the artist for bringing the resurgence of ghazals in India in the 1980s and that had a lasting effect on Bollywood for about two decades!
Prior to Jagjit Singh, Ghazal maestros such as Begum Akhtar and Talat Mahmood only managed to garner a niche audience because their lyrics were typically hard for the normal audience to like and the tunes were too "sufi" and didn't match with the anti-muslim sentiments of the time.
Jagjit Singh brought on a mainstream aspect to his songs, which were picked up by the Bollywood audience quite nicely. He picked simple language - While he was comfortable with Urdu, he didn't try to sound too intelligent resulting in audience disconnect. His ghazals were composed of simple words that were chosen to evoke the proper emotions. This became a hit with the masses and was well received. The tunes were also catchy and the instruments synchronized with what was popular in Bollywood at that time. This further gave his music longevity.
Also, the kind of subjects (social, ethical) and the kind of cinema (parallel) that were being explored in in the 80s, his kind of music sort of fit the bill too with them being quite inspirational.
Thus, here are 5 of his evergreen songs on the occassion of his birth anniversary:
* Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho (Arth): It is quite an uplifting number, meant to cheer up a distraught woman with an unsuccessful relationship. He is simply trying to tell her that fate is a game of lines (of the palm/forehead), by being sad you are just getting defeated by them. Relatable and understandable too.
* Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar (Arth): A friend is telling the woman that you can learn to be confident and trust yourself again. Thus, making her realize her self worth and that she can reclaim her identity and happiness if she chooses to. Again, very inspiring and apt for the social message behind the film.
* Tum Ko Dekha To Yeh Khayal Aaya (Saath Saath): The lyrics were written by Javed Akhtar, who understood the emotions of the Bollywood audience very well. A man is trying to tell his woman of the significance of her in his life. He tells her that only when she leaves his life, will he realize what he's gained and what he's lost. So he wants to hold onto her. Every romeo can relate, every juliet will cry to it.
* Woh Kagaz Ki Kashti: We all are forever reminscing about the golden and irreplacable memories of childhood. Everything is more beautiful in childhood - the trees are higher, the flowers are more fragrant, the food tastes much better and the festivals are more exciting. You don't have to worry about work, bills, responsibilities and heartbreak. In the end of it all, you just have to crawl into your moms or dads lap and diffuse all your mini worries into them as you are lugged into deep slumber. This song evoked the exact same emotions.
* Hothon Se Choo Lo Tum ( Prem Geet): A man distraught from life wants the lady in his life to embrace him and illuminate it with love. Such earnest words, such a beautiful plea and such an amazing way of wooing a lady.