‘Superstar’ of bhajans Narendra Chanchal no more, mourned by fans and stars
Celebrated bhajan singer Narendra Chanchal, 80, passed away on Friday. He was virtually synonymous with bhajans, be it Jai Mata Di, Chalo Bulawa Aaya Hai, Jot Jage Din Raat or Pyara Saja Tera Dwar. The news of his demise was confirmed by Sanjay Malik, a close associate who had been organising his concerts for two decades. Malik shared the singer was in hospital for the last few months and breathed his last at noon, due to age-related issues. In his death, that era has come to an end.
Fans, admirers and celebrities mourned Chanchal’s death. Reminiscing how as a child she had sung at many competitions and concerts where Chanchal used to come as a guest, singer Akriti Kakar says she still can’t believe that the news is true. “I’ve had the good fortune of taking his blessings many a times as a child who aspired to become a singer later in life. He’s done such exemplary work and matching his body of work and Respect n legacy that his name became would be really hard for anyone.. praying for his soul to Rest In Peace. He devoted his life to singing for God, now gods will surely take great care of him,” she adds.
Singer Kavita Seth begins by saying that the first song that comes to her mind every time she thinks of Chanchal is Chalo Bulawa Aaya Hai. “His songs, the emotions in them and the way he used to sing those bhajans, took us so close to God. Chanchal ji jo dil se gaate the woh hamare dil tak pahuchta tha. Growing up in Barielly, UP, his songs were something that we used to start or end our days with. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet him. I wish I could. I don’t know how are we going to get over this loss. These times have taken away so many people, even this year has started with a sad note,” adds Seth.
Singer Shilpa Rao shares, It’s quite disheartening to get news like this. Narendra Chanchal ji was associated with the whole aspect of devotion and his work with the bhajans that we heard growing up as kids is how I have and will see him always. With him passing away, it is a huge loss to our fraternity. I hope his family is strong during this difficult time.”
Coming from a Punjabi family in North India, singer Shashwat Sachdev says that Chanchal’s bhajans were what he, too, has grown up with.
“When we were growing up, what he was doing or the music he was creating was very important to our upbringing. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have all grown up subconsciously revering him. So, it is very sad. He made a dent culturally with his music because everybody wants to live forever but there are very few people who can actually achieve that. He is one of them and the repertoire of music that he has is going to live forever. A person like him never goes away,” he reveals.
For singer Antara Mitra, Chanchal is actually “the first superstar” of devotional songs. She adds, “He actually made that entire genre glamorous. And he remained the king of that genre. His song Main Benaam Ho Gaya (Benaam; 1974) is one of my most favourite tracks of all time. The longing and the call that he had in his singing can’t be matched ever. His music will live on, and that’s how true artistes live through time.”
Many celebrities also took to social media to express their sadness and to pay their last tribute in words. Singer Daler Mehndi, who was the one of the first to share the news on Twitter wrote, “Deeply saddened to learn that iconic and most loved #NarendraChanchal ji has left us for the heavenly abode. In prayers for his soul to rest in peace. Heartfelt condolences to his family and legions of fans.”
Actor Ranvir Shorey tweeted, “Saddened at the demise of vocalist Sh. Narendra Chanchal, singer of many iconic bhajans & Hindi film songs in history. His unique voice had the ability to pierce straight to a listener’s heart, making every listening experience an emotional & spiritual one. #RIP #respect”. Cricketer Harbhajan Singh also wrote on the micro-blogging site, “Deeply saddened to learn that iconic and most loved #NarendraChanchal ji has left us for the heavenly abode. In prayers for his soul to rest in peace. Heartfelt condolences to his family”.
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