Singer Bhupinder Singh has died aged 82

Dil dhoondhta hai phir wohi, fursat ke raat din; baithe rahe tasavvur-e-jaana kiye huye

(Once again the heart tries to recover from these cozy days and nights / Just sit, think and dream of the beloved)

One of Gulzar’s most memorable love songs owes much to Mirza Ghalib, whose couplet forms the first line of the song. Gulzar replaced the word ‘jee’ with ‘dil’ and augmented the couplet with lyrical skill, while Madan Mohan composed it in the honeyed Raag Keervani.

Within this near-perfect combination of poetry and melody was Bhupinder Singh’s slightly sluggish, languid voice, hovering just a few seconds behind the thought. It was a unique expression, not the kind heard from male playback singers at the time.

Singh, who moved millions with this famous song, among other things, died of cardiac arrest on Monday evening. He was 82 years old and had been in the hospital for the past 10 days.

dr Deepak Namjoshi, director of Criticare Asia Hospital, said: “His condition worsened on Monday morning and we had to put him on a ventilator. He went into cardiac arrest and died at 7:45 p.m..”

Singh was born in Amritsar and grew up in Delhi’s West Patel Nagar.

He started his career at All India Radio, Delhi and Doordarshan. At a meeting in Delhi, Madan heard Mohan Singh and asked him to try his luck in the world of film music. He gave Singh his first breakthrough with Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey and Talat Mahmood in Haqeeqat. The song was “Hoke majboor mujhe” which got quite a bit of attention.

He followed him with others such as Do diwane shahar mein, Naam gum jayega, Karoge yaad to, Meethe bol bole, Kisi nazar ko tera intezaar aaj bhiand Ek Akela is Shehar Mein, Kisi Ko Mukammalamong other.

In his later years he also turned to ghazals, often performing with his wife and singer Mitali Singh.