Note from the author on inception and and prograssion of K.L. Saigal Memorial Circle:
K.L. Saigal Memorial CircleAs a dedicated fan of K.L. Saigal, the greatest popular singer of the 20thCentury. I was very keen to known his memory. My Lahore book carried aChapter on K.L. Saigal’s concert at Lahore in 1937. Saigal was the firstgreat artist to bring music to the masses. With his God-gifted voice andinimitable style, he gave a totally new dimension to the music of his time.No wonder, he inspired a whole generation of singers such as SurenderNath, Mohd Rafi, Mukesh, C.H Atma, Talat Mehmood and Kishore Kumar.
After the publication of a couple of my articles on K.L. Saigal by theHindustan Times, some Saigal fans met me and urged that somethingshould be done to worship. The immortal singer soon thereafter, I wasinvited by India Habitat Centre to give a talk on “K.L. Saigal, theLegendary singer” on the occasion of his 95th birthday, 4th April, 1999. Iwas enthused to find the hall packed with Saigal fans. At my request, K. L.Saigal’s daughter Mrs. Bina Chopra joined us and garlanded Saigal’spicture. I peppered my talk with Saigal’s recordings of popular melodies.There was a lively discussion and everyone on K.L. Saigal’s birthanniversary. This led to my turning into the founder convener of “K. L.Saigal Memorial Circle”.
I followed it up with annual events to mark Saigal’s BirthAnniversaries at the I. H. C or I.I.C. I would talk on some fact of Saigal’smusical genius, as a poet, composer, Gazal king and Geet and Bhajan maestro. Contemporary recording of popular melodies were also presentedto entertain the audience which was swelling after every event. Thegathering of music lovers was thrilled when I presented “K. L. Saigal singsGhalib” Many a listener commented that Saigal had made the greatestcontribution in popularizing Ghalib. Saigal’s choice of Ghalib’s Ghazalshas contributed to be replicated by every other singer.
In January 2003, I was invited by “Nehru Centre” Mumbai where Imade audio visual presentations of “K. L. Saigal-Life and Times”. Soonthereafter I had a Saigal function at the I.H.C. where I introduced anaccomplished artist Radhika Chopra, disciple of Vidushi Shanti Hiranandeminent maestro of Ghazal Gayaki. She enthralled the audience with herrendition of Saigal’s popular Ghazals and songs.
During the K.L. Saigal centenary year 2004-05 ma member ofconcerts were organized at the I.I.C., I.H.C. Nehru Centre, Mumbai andalso at Nehru Centre, London. A notable event of the centenary celebrationwas the production unique fusion of K. L. Saigal’s poetry, music anddance performance by the renowned Kathak exponent Shovana Narayan.This unparalleled presentation received wide publicity and we were invitedby Nehru Centre, Mumbai to repeat the performance there.
During the past fifteen years nearly a hundred musical functionshave been organized under the aegis of K. L. Saigal Memorial Circle. Theobjective has been the celebrated of people’s music comprising Geets, Bhajans and Ghazals. We have paid tribute to all the great singers of thetwentieth century viz K.C. Dey, Pankaj Mallick, Surendarnath, Mukesh,Mohd Rafi, Talat Mahmood, Hemant, Munna Dey, Mahendra Kapoor, C.H. Atma, Mehndi Hasan, Jagjeet Singh, Kanan Devi, Shanta Apte,Khurshid, Noor Jehan, Rajkumari, Zohrabai, Amirbai Karnatki, GeetaDutt, Suraiya, Iqbal Bano, Reshma Malka, Pukhraj and ShamshadBegum. The celebrities of gramophone era viz Gauhar Jan, Sundrabai,Jankibai, Kamla Jharia and Juthika Roy were also duly saluted withmemorial functions. Due reverence has also been extended to the eminentmusic directors, the creators of hit melodies viz R.C. Boral, S.D Burman,Khemchand Prakash, O.P. Nayar, Madan Mohan, Roshan, Naushad,Ghulam Haidar and Shyam Sunder.
People usually remember the singer and the song but not the poetor lyricist who produced it with his head and heart. We have paid homageto the famous lyrists Kedar Sharma, D.N. Madhok, Saher Ludhianvi andShakeel Badayuni. As regards poets, most of the eminent Urdu Poet of thesub-continent was remembered with concerts of their poetry and music.For Hafiz Jullandhri, Sir Mohd Iqbal and Daiz Ahmad Faiz, specialfunctions were held blending poetry, music and dance, with performingartists, Radhika Chopra acclaimed singer and Rani Khanam, therenowned Kathak exponent.
To promote and popularize Ghazal Gayaki, a two-day GhazalFestival was organized in collaboration with I.C.C.R in 2013. The fourartists who delighted the audience at Azad Bharan were Rashmi Agarwal,Seema Anil Sehgal, Gaurav Sood and Radhika Chopra.
The Ghazal Queen Begum Akhtar’s centenary was celebrated withfunctions at Epicenter, Gurgaon, I.I.C. and I.H.C. On this occasion Ipresented a special album carrying a private recording of Begum Akhtardone by me in 1958 at a Private Mehfil in Delhi. The Album was releasedby her foremost disciple Shanti Hiranand.
Another unforgettable event held at Epicenter, Gurgaon as well asI.I.C. was “The Courtesan-An Enigma” based on my book “Nautch Girls ofIndia; Dancers, Singers and playmates”. The concert featured therenowned Sufi Kathak exponent Manjari Chaturvedi performing DarbariKathak, the dance of the courtesan, known for its delicate movements andexpressions. The performance was enriched with Nisha Singh narratingepisodes and stories from the lives of well known courtesans.
Among other events which were acclaimed and noted by the mediawere “memories of Indo-Pak Mushairas of 1950s and Indo-Pak MusicalJourney. I have preserved my recording of illustrious poets like Kaifi Azmi,Ali Sardar Jafri, Jigar Muradabadi, Makhdoom, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, HabidJalib and some others. These were presented along with the musicalrenderings of poetry by talented singers.