I got into Ghazals fairly soon thanks to the ‘born old’ head and a low tolerance towards most songs in the 1990s. At that time (and forever) Ghazals meant/will mean Jagjit Singh to me. Trying out a ghazal from anyone who is not Jagjit singh used to be a self declared ‘Gunaah’ for me.

In 1995, I was in Class X and in came a ghazal album titled ‘Phir bhi’ and as with Magnasounds philosophy of promoting the new album, my favorite shop, (Shiv electronics, Indira nagar lucknow) had a huge poster of the album right outside the shop. To this day I dont know what was it that made me buy the cassette for a princely sum of INR 40 in those days (Papa’s money)?

May be it was just begining of the first ghazal, titled Ye dil jaata hai. The way the electric flute makes an appearance and leads us to the wonderful voice of Sudeep. A ghazal composed with a lot of love. Excellent use of guitar, non intrusive backup singers and good amount of violin. The pace is non-ghazal like whereas the words are just too ghazal like. An entire ghazal wherein the lover is waiting in anticipation of what gives in first..heart or courage.

May be it was the second ghazal Fakira na aaye . Guitar start the ghazal at a leisurely pace. A ghazal with a lot of thehraav. Singing remains top class. The pronounciation of words, the excellent music arrangement and a simple tune, the focus is purely on singing and nothing else. The ghazal has a sinking feel to it and if you feel the same, it just means that you like the ghazal.

May be it was this ghazal titled Kahein kya hum pe jo sadme guzartey hain, guzartey hain. The pace is slightly ‘geet’ like but the overall feel remains closely hugged to the sensibilities of ghazal. Excellent use of Sitar and tabla, coupled with really powerful lyrics, this ghazal is pure delight.

May be it was this old classic that has been sung by so many people that it made me curious to see how has Sudeep, a debutant treated this ghazal. Wo jo hum mein tum mein qaraar tha, tumhein yaad ho ke na yaad ho. Very subtle guitars, good backup vocal support and piano make up this ghazal so beautiful that you are inclined to think it’s not a debutant’s work. Delicately sung, hopelessly in love reminders of old days…(don’t miss the excellent violin play just before the second antraa). This will bring back a lot of memories, in a good way.

May be it was the excellent bass play with Sarod and slight drum play before this ghazal Kabhi saaya kabhi dhoop. A ghazal that Sudeep starts with a soulful hum. Powerful lyrics again. For a debutant to choose a ghazal like this and that too in 1995 is just splendid! The tune treatment is slow and marked with constant guitar throughout.

May be it was the excellent sarangi play that starts this wonderful ghazal, Bheegi hui aankhon ka ye manzar na milega, ghar chorh ke na jao, kahin ghar na milega. A very ‘By the tabla’ ghazal. There is a good amount of Santoor as well that multiplies the ‘pleasing to the ears’ factor of this ghazal. This used to be the favorite ghazal from this album of a lot of people I knew back then. It still is, I think.

Or may be it was this surreal ghazal Koi aarzoo nahi hai, koi mudda nahi hai, tera gham rahey salaamat mere dil mein kya nahi hai. There is Sarangi, Sarod and the velvet voice of Sudeep that keeps this ghazal constantly in the mind once you hear it. Tune wise, I believe this is the most innovative attempt in the album. The lyrics, the atmosphere, the guitar…I could go on and on about how madly I am in love with this ghazal since the time I heard it for the first time.

Sudeep has done some excellent work since the time this album came out. In fact, his album Irshad was reviewed on this blog in December 2011. Sudeep continues to work in his little ways for keeping ghazals alive when most of the ‘used to be legends’ are busy changing the frames of their goggles and basking in the glory of their work. If you want to get in touch with Sudeep, you can write to me. (before you think it’s a promotional post, let me tell you, he doesn’t even know of this blog)

To submit this review from the same room in my Lucknow home in which I used to hear it (inspite of the various music releases that included albums like Bombay, DDLJ, Rangeela, Barsaat and many more), is a high for me.

The album has stayed with me for 18 years and it continues to sound wonderful. To me, that means a lot and if you trust my word, do try the album out. It is available on iTunes for less than 100 Rupees.

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