On Friday 26th September, 2008 I decided to watch a live concert of Gulam Ali the famous Ghazal Maestro from Pakistan this despite receiving not very encouraging reports about his existing singing abilities from my Mother and wife as also from my many Pakistani friends who keep on meeting me at various Advertising conferences.
I still ventured out with a ray of hope that the ustaad on whose Ghazals we grew up and spend many a late nights even to the extent of drinking a couple of pegs extra will find his bearings right today. He came in after the lesser known artists had done their bit. The Khan Saheb than made an entry amidst thunderous applause imagine the welcome when the entire Shanmukhanandan Hall is packed to capacity. Well he has earned it and thoroughly deserves it.
The first note killed me as a spectator. I started wondering is he a duplicate my mind was not willing to accept the fact that the legendary singer is over the hill and no longer the singer that he use to be. What followed was still worst as his voice was cracking and the sur went astray. I must admit that Ghulam Ali for a seasoned ear is unbearable. I am nobody to sign of an obituary of a great singer who has entertained millions over the world and mark my words am his greatest fan but I will be practical and realistic.
If in future someone is going to give me a free pass for a concert of the legendary Ghazal singer I will not go and also ensure that it is wasted for I do not want another hard core fan of his to arrive at a conclusion similar to that of mine for as a music lover it is quite hurting but than it cannot be ignored either. Let millions of Ghazal lover from this country remember the Ghulam Ali of old and not a person who is not even remotely close to his shadow hence the title, the last line of which is taken from one of his famous Ghazals.
I sincerely thank Ghulam Ali Saheb for entertaining us over the years with his matchless rendition of a variety of Ghazals full of romance and dard but time has come to draw curtains. Sir you are a batsman who has scored a hundred whenever you batted hence can’t stand the sight of you getting out on a duck pretty regularly.
Thus it is very important to retire when people ask WHY and not WHY NOT. The sad part is the maestro did not pass on the legacy and create shishiyaas/disciples and even if he has they are unheard of.