Pakistan’s gift to the Ghazal, Ghulam Ali who turned 83 on 5 December was acutely keen to work with India’s Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar.
In fact the spectacular Ghazal album Meraj-e-Ghazal which Ghulam Ali eventually did with Asha Bhosle in 1983, was planned with Lataji. Ghulam Ali had every song of that album ready for ten years.
Ghulam Saab had told me excitedly, “I might be working with Lata Mangeshkar soon.She’s a one-woman authority on sur (melody) and music. I’m her big fan. ‘Badi hi sureeli artiste Didi hain hamari, bahut pyar karti hain mujhe.’ (She’s a melodious singer and likes me very much.).”
He was waiting for Lataji’s green signal to record the songs . Sadly during those times, Lataji was not keeping good health. She kept cancelling repeatedly .
Commenting on the deteriorating standard of Ghazals Ghulam Ali had said to me, “Today’s music is far removed from the ghazal. Ghazal ek apna muqaam rakhti hai. (Ghazal has its own status.) It’s not just a genre, it’s a thought, an attitude and a way of life. When a ghazal is featured in a film, it acquires exceptional longevity. My ghazal Chupke chupke, raat bhar in Nikaah is remembered to this day. I’ve sung many ghazals in films. They’re all loved to this day.”
He had also spoken on his unwavering commitment to excellence. “My love for my work remains undiminished. I never gave up singing in the style and mood that I had adopted from the start. That’s what keeps my love for my art alive. One should love and respect one’s own work. I never sing at a venue where my musicians and I aren’t comfortable.”