Sonu Nigam: Wajid Khan didn't get his due
Sonu Nigam remembers Khan, a talented music composer, friend and a die-hard foodie.
I have known Wajid for 29 years. When I first came to Mumbai, I would sit outside his studio while he would be inside working with his father. We bonded over our love for music and musical instruments. He used to joke, 'Sonu bhai ka haath harmonium pe dekh ke main hil gaya' because I am quick with the keys.
Our first collaboration was in 1996 when we worked on the remix of Yeh kahan aa gaye hum [Silsila, 1981]. A few years later, T-Series requested me to cut an album. Bhushan [Kumar] sent me some songs composed by Sajid-Wajid, and that is how Deewana was born. The album became a rage, and it has always been precious to the three of us.
I was undoubtedly their favourite singer as we collaborated on several songs. Last year, we worked on a romantic duet for a movie that was eventually postponed. After that, Wajid suddenly fell ill. He had diabetes, and had to undergo a kidney transplant. I would often visit him. One day, he expressed a desire to go out as he had been indoors for long. So, I took him on a drive. Next time, I took him home and we sat on the terrace, sipping chai. He kept on saying, 'Bhaijaan, kitna mazaa aa raha hai. I am stepping out after so long.'
We were like brothers. I would always visit their home during Ramzan. His mother would say, 'Sonu aa raha hai? Let me make haleem.' He was a foodie and would often send me home-cooked khichda. Not many know his [then to-be] wife and he had abruptly called off their wedding, days before the celebration. I played the mediator between them.
In the last few months, his condition worsened. I was in touch with him when he was in the hospital. It was heartbreaking to see that a person who loved music couldn't even speak as a tube was put down [his windpipe]. So, we used to chat over WhatsApp. I texted him on Eid, but he did not reply. Then his wife informed me that he had contracted COVID-19. In five days, he was gone...
He was immensely talented. Even when they made a mastiwala song like Hud hud dabangg, it was classy. They did legendary work in such a short time. I would say he didn't get his due. Wajid was a sensitive soul who will be missed. Of the songs we worked on, Tumko na bhool payenge was my favourite. I will always remember him by that song.
As told to Upala KBR
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