Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
By Kashish Rai
The beauty of the Hindi film industry lies not only in it’s stories but also in the songs that get in tune with the mood of the narratives. These songs remain eternal in the minds of the audience for generations to come, but unfortunately the ones who give their melodious voice in these songs are not always remembered. Jaspal Singh is one of them.
Today we have brought in light one of those gem singers of bollywood~ Jaspal Singh, who has by and large made a significant contribution in Bollywood through some of the most popular and melodious songs he sang.
Who is Jaspal Singh?
Jaspal Singh is an Indian singer who lent his voice to various Bollywood actors in the era 1970’s and 1980’s. He was born in Amritsar and during his school and college days, he realised his passion for singing. He used to participate in various music competitions throughout his school and college life. To further pursue his passion for singing he went to Mumbai where his sister used to stay.
Jaspal’s talent was first and foremost recognised by well known female singer Usha Khanna during the year 1968.
Jaspal’s Early Life Struggle
Jaspal Singh was provided a chance to sing at a professional level, however he did not get the recognition which he deserved in his life. He struggled to make a career in singing and would often visit Amritsar, Delhi and Mumbai time and again.
Jaspal was always an ardent fan of Mohammed Rafi and grew up listening to his songs and singing Rafi’s songs whenever he got the opportunity. As he was attracted to only film songs he did not undergo any training in classical music.
Due to peer pressure, he started practicing law and started living in Mumbai. In spite of the hardships he was facing, he never gave up and then, a well known Music Composer, Ravindra Jain gave him the big break for a song in the movie called ‘Geet Gata Chal’ of 1975. After this song, he became a prominent name. His voice was unique and was unlike any other and he sang for some hit bollywood movies like ‘Nadiya ke paar’, ‘Ankhiyon ke jharokhon se’,’Sawan ko aane do’, etc.
Please Follow NewsGram on Twitter To Get Latest Updates From Around The World!
Jaspal’s Singing Career in Bollywood Industry
In 1975 as the opening credits of the newly released film “Geet Gaata Chal” rolled out and the cinema hall resonated with the fresh, melodious, energetic and high-pitched vocals of Jaspal Singh singing the title song- ‘Geet gaata chal o saathi gungunata chal…’
Every viewer was mesmerized by this totally new, original, youthful and brilliant voice which was both pleasing and heart-warming. This was the magic his voice had.
For the audience who did not see the film at that time, hearing the song was enough to transport them to the villages and immediately entreating up images of the person dancing amidst the lush green fields, flowing rivers, chirping birds and pleasant winds. Such was the effect the song had on the listeners of that time that it became one of the most iconic songs of the decade.
The film “Nadiya Ke Paar” produced by Tarachand Bharjatya under his banner “Rajshri Productions” was to be the launch vehicle for introducing child artists Sachin and Sarika as adult stars in a romantic story. As the existing singers of the time were all associated with different popular heroes, the new male singer Jaspal Singh was chosen to do a playback for Sachin. Not only did the film became a big hit, all the songs of the film also became super-hits and music lovers wholeheartedly accepted Jaspal Singh as the new sensational voice.
According to an interview, Ravindra Jain was apprehensive about giving Jaspal the title song which according to him was his best composition for the film but associate producer Rajkumar Bharjatya was in favour of taking the risk. Whatever the concerns may have been, still the fact remains that finally Jaspal Singh did get the green signal to record all the songs and the rest as they say is history.
Jaspal Singh was very thrilled to get such a golden opportunity. Those days it was not very easy for a new singer to make inroads into the industry especially without any father figure to launch him!
Luckily for him the film established him in a big way. He proved his versatility in the film by singing fun songs, romantic song and even ‘bhajans’.
Though, popular perception is that Geet Gaata Chal was Jaspal Singh’s debut film, technically he had made his debut earlier in 1968 in the film Bandish. It was music director Usha Khanna who decided to give him a break. She gave him a solo number which was picturized on a comedian in the film. As the film did not create any ripples, the song also did not get much attention and Jaspal Singh’s debut song went virtually unnoticed.
After this he also sang a duet with Mahendra Kapoor for the film Anjaan Hai Koi, 1969, but again that song also did not receive any great response. Once again Usha Khanna was the music director and the song was picturized on character artistes. In the coming years, he started singing for many other films in Bollywood.
How did Jaspal “Lost in Transition?”
Slowly it was becoming evident that as Jaspal Singh’s voice had become the voice of actor Sachin, he was not going to be used for any of the top actors of that period. Also keeping in consideration the type of films he was singing for, he did not get an opportunity to sing a variety of songs in his career. Eventually, actor Sachin’s career also did not take off in a very big way as a hero and in the absence of any top music director willing to try his voice, Jaspal’s career went towards a downward trend.
But today, he has no complaints whatsoever with his career. He feels that whatever he accomplished was due to divine blessing and his good fortune. He is thankful to the Bharjatyas of Rajshri Productions and music director Ravindra Jain who placed so much faith in him and gave him a break in the industry. His stint in Bollywood got him many stage shows all over India and abroad as well which gave him an opportunity to outshine him.
Indeed this winsome vocalist’s career was short-lived but whatever he sang was melodious and from the heart. Today not many people may pause to recall this underrated singer but for those who grew up in the seventies, his songs remain etched in their memories and listening to them still gives them inexplicable pleasure.
As kids growing up in different states, Shoba Narayan and Michael Maliakel shared a love of one favorite film — "Aladdin." Both are of Indian descent, and in the animated movie, they saw people who looked like them.
That shared love has gone full-circle this month as Narayan and Maliakel lead the Broadway company of the musical "Aladdin" out of the pandemic, playing Princess Jasmine and the hero from the title, respectively.
"Growing up, there was such little South Asian and Middle Eastern representation in the American media, and Princess Jasmine was really all I had. She was a huge role model to me as someone who was intelligent and strong and independent and beautifully curious, and that's who I wanted to be," says Narayan, who grew up in Pennsylvania.
The pair arrived at "Aladdin" in very different ways. Maliakel is making his Broadway debut, but Narayan is a musical theater veteran, having made her Broadway debut in "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812" and touring with "Hamilton" as Eliza Hamilton.
She was in "Wicked" as Nessarose when the pandemic shut down Broadway in March 2020. Her agent called in April with the prospect of auditioning for Jasmine. She sang "A Whole New World" over Zoom on gallery mode, pretending to be on a magic carpet. "It was a very unique experience," she says, laughing.
Disney producers flew her to New York to meet face-to-face and go through the material again. Narayan was asked to read with different Aladdin potential actors. She got the gig: "I went from a wicked witch to a Disney princess. Can't complain."
Maliakel, a native of New Jersey, came from the world of opera, a baritone who studied at Johns Hopkins University and the 2014 winner at the National Musical Theatre Competition. He trained his voice to be flexible, waiting for the right window to open.
"I didn't really see a lot of people doing what I wanted to do in the world," he says. "There just wasn't a whole lot of representation. So it's really hard to imagine yourself in those scenarios when you have no one to look up to as a role model or an example of how it could be done."
He played Porter and understudied Raoul in a national tour of "The Phantom of the Opera," which ended its run in Toronto just before the pandemic hit.
"I always dreamed that Broadway might happen someday," he says, laughing. "I'm just kind of dipping my toes into the waters in one of the biggest male roles in the business right now, and it's kind of surreal."
'Aladdin' featured as a Broadway Musical with a cast of Indian origin playing the main roles Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Broadway's "Aladdin" is a musical adaptation of the 1992 movie starring Robin Williams. The musical's story by Chad Beguelin hews close to the film: A street urchin finds a genie in a lamp and hopes to woo a princess while staying true to his values and away from palace intrigue.
Key Alan Menken songs from the film — including "Friend Like Me," ″Prince Ali" and "A Whole New World" — are used. The lyricists are the late Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin.
The show — and it's two new leads — had a few performances to celebrate Broadway's return from the pandemic this fall before it was forced to close for several days when breakthrough COVID-19 cases were detected. The actors say the safety of the cast, crew and audience are paramount and closing was the smart move.
"This is how we keep theater going in the pandemic," Maliakel says. "The other option is to just not do it at all. And that's not an option. A week's worth of lost performances, when we look back on things in a year or so, I think will just be a little blip on the radar."
They both look back with heart-thumping appreciation at the early performances when they welcomed back theater-starved audiences, who gave the company 3-minute standing ovations just for singing "A Whole New World."
"It is every brown girl's dream to be singing that song on an actual flying carpet," says Narayan. "And the fact that I got to do it on Broadway in the full costume with the lights and the 32-piece orchestra beneath me — oh, my gosh, I really had to hold it together. It was emotional overload for me."
Maliakel recalls that he and his brothers wore out their VHS cassette version of "Aladdin." He remembers having lunchboxes, pajamas and bed sheets with the film's theme. Aladdin was "every little brown kid's prince." Now he is that prince.
"Now, finally, to get to get paid to do it on the world's largest stage — it's not lost on me how crazy that is," he says. "The responsibility of my position right now feels really great. This moment sort of feels bigger than me in some ways, and I don't take that lightly. I think it's a really exciting time." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Aladdin, Broadway, Musical, Indian Descendant cast,
Jack Daniel's is the world's most popular whiskey brand, but until recently, few people knew the liquor was created by Nathan "Nearest" Green, an enslaved Black man who mentored Daniel.
"We've always known," says Debbie Staples, a great-great-granddaughter of Green's who heard the story from her grandmother. … "He made the whiskey, and he taught Jack Daniel. And people didn't believe it … it's hurtful. I don't know if it was because he was a Black man."
But people believe it now — in large part because Brown-Forman Corporation, owner of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, has acknowledged the foundational role Green played in the brand's development.
"The truth of the matter is, Nearest Green was the first head distiller of Jack Daniels whiskey," says Matt Blevins, global brand director for Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. "We're very proud of this story and are very committed to amplifying it and acknowledging that. In the past, we did not amplify it the way that we could have in earlier eras, but we're about the future and moving forward."
America's first-known Black master distiller
The story begins in Lynchburg, Tennessee, current home of the Jack Daniel Distillery. In the mid-1800s, Green's slaveholders hired him out to a local preacher named Dan Call. Green, who had a reputation as a skilled distiller, made whiskey for Call, using a sugar maple charcoal filtering process that is believed to have originated in West Africa. Daniel, a boy who worked for Call, became Green's apprentice and learned the special technique that gave the Tennessee whiskey its smooth taste.
After emancipation in 1863, when all enslaved people were freed, Daniel purchased Call's distillery and hired Green as Jack Daniel Distillery's first master distiller.
"The best knowledge that we have is that they had a mentor-and-mentee sort of a relationship, and I would say, a friendship," says Blevins. "The stories that have been passed down [talk] about the care that Jack Daniel took to always acknowledge … the Green family."
Historic photo of Jack Daniel (in white hat) seated next to George Green, the son of Nathan "Nearest" Green Image source: VOA
There are no known pictures of Green, but there is one of Daniel with Green's son, George, sitting next to Daniel, rather than being relegated to the back.
"That photograph shows the respect that they had for one another and for their families," says Stefanie Benjamin, an assistant professor of tourism management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. "To be not only allowed in that photograph, but also positioned in the foreground and sitting right next to Jack Daniels himself."
Search for the truth
Green's role in the history of the brand was uncovered by a writer and entrepreneur named Fawn Weaver, who became fascinated by Green's unheralded contribution to the world's most popular whiskey. After extensive research, including interviews with Green's descendants, Weaver shared her documentation with the company.
"I was very pleasantly surprised when they embraced my research and updated their records to reflect that," Weaver told VOA via email. "I think it said a lot about the character of their company that they moved that quickly to course correct."
Jack Daniel's has incorporated Green's contributions into the official history of the brand, but Weaver has gone a step further. She invested $1 million of her own money to establish Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, which is now the fastest-growing independent American whiskey brand in U.S. history.
Fawn Weaver (center in red) with her leadership team at Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, including master distiller Victoria Eady Butler (far left), the great‐great‐granddaughter of Nearest Green. (Photo courtesy Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey) Image credit: VOA
The company's master distiller is Victoria Eady Butler, Green's great‐great‐granddaughter.
"Uncle Nearest is the most-awarded American whiskey or bourbon of 2019, 2020 and 2021, and the fact that it is the bloodline of Nearest Green blending and approving what goes into our bottles is something I marvel at regularly," Weaver says. "Victoria is an absolute natural when it comes to blending, and to watch her work is to see something pretty darn close to perfection."
Seven generations of Green's family have worked at the Jack Daniel Distillery, a tradition that continues today with Staples and two of her siblings. But the Green family did not benefit when the Daniel family sold the Jack Daniel distillery to Brown-Forman for $20 million in 1956.
"Although they [the Green family] were very well off in terms of finances [in the 1800s] in that time, they were not the owners or co-owners of the Jack Daniel distillery," Benjamin says. "And so, those millions of dollars have been passed down through generations of the Jack Daniel family, and not necessarily the Green family."
Maturing barrels of whiskey in a barrel house on the grounds of the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. (Photo courtesy Jack Daniel's) Image credit: VOA
Weaver's Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has joined forces with Jack Daniel's to launch a program that provides support, expertise and resources to African-American entrepreneurs entering the spirits industry.
Staples says her family is thrilled their great-great-grandfather is finally being recognized.
"It's kind of mind-boggling … and we are so proud," Staples says. "And to think that from here to Africa, that recipe goes all the way back. And to think that he played such an important role in establishing this company. It sometimes seems unreal. It really does."
Because of Weaver's tenacity, Green's story, although left untold for more than a century, will not be lost to history. But that's not the case with so many other stories of Black achievement and contributions to the nation.
"Part of telling his story and sharing his legacy is to give credit and to give attention to a person who, if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have the Jack Daniel whiskey as we know it today," Benjamin says. "It showcases yet another example of how formerly enslaved people, Black people, African American people who have really built this country, are left out of the dominant narrative that we tell." (VOA/RN)
(This article is originally written by Dora Mekouar)
Keywords: Jack Daniel's, Whiskey, Nathan Green, Slavery, Black achievement
Cricket fans can now book the ultimate experience with the official accommodation booking partner for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, Booking.com. The T20 Pavillion, a bespoke cricket-themed luxury stay that transforms the Presidential Suite at Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel and Residences into a classic cricket stadium.
The suite offers guests an all-inclusive once-in-a-lifetime experience during the India vs Pakistan ICC Men's T20 World Cup match on October 24, 2021, packed with quirks and luxuries that is sure to satisfy even the biggest cricket enthusiast. Additionally, as a part of the experience, guests will also have the exclusive opportunity to meet Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor at The T20 Pavilion.
The booking window that opens at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be booked on a 'first come, first serve' basis with check-in date on October 24, 2021 and check-out on October 25, 2021. | Photo by Alessandro Bogliari on Unsplash
For one night only, guests can soak in the energy of a roaring stadium to enjoy the epic match on a life-sized screen while seated on comfortable sofas -- just like the luxury box seats at the stadium. They can also head to the locker room (dining room) next to the field (living room) to have some energy drinks, just like a cricketer would do or head to the bedroom, transformed into a net practice area. It's got the field, the pitch, the locker room, pitching nets and cricket memorabilia infused in every element of the room.
The booking window opens at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be booked on a 'first come, first serve' basis with check-in date on October 24, 2021, and check-out on October 25, 2021. The T20 Pavilion is priced at Rs 6666 only in honour of all the great sixes smashed at the T20 World Cup. The T20 Pavilion can accommodate up to four guests. Cricket fans can visit the website or mobile app to book this cricket-inspired stay. (IANS/ MBI)