the ghazal

The other ghazal couple who lost out to Jagjit-Chitra Singh

Rajendra and Nina Mehta excelled in singing romantic ghazal duets.

The story of Rajendra and Nina Mehta is the stuff of Valentine’s Day lore. In 1963, Rajendra met Nina at the All India Radio office in Mumbai. Her guru, Hafiz Ahmad Khan, had asked him to record a song. When Rajendra saw Nina at the studio, their fluttering hearts began to sing a duet.

Rajendra was then working at a restaurant, while Nina belonged to a rich Gujarati family that did not approve of inter-caste marriage. Mehta left his work at the restaurant, joined an electrical company and began performing at ghazal concerts. His increasing popularity brought him work in television programmes and film music. The families warmed up to each other. The ghazal played matchmaker, and they were married in 1967.

In the 1970s, when the ghazal was a rage, the couple sang duets, keeping their choice of poetry simple. Nina Mehta did not follow Urdu, although her husband showed a passion for the language. They decided to focus on their on-stage performances, putting their melodies and harmonium to good use.

This synchronisation can be heard in their rendition of the Prem Warbatoni nazm “Taj Mahal Mein Aa Jaana” from the album Humsafar (1980). It begins with the duo singing together, foiling their “his and hers” voice beautifully. He had a deep texture to her reedy, sweet cadence.


The familiar tropes used in ghazal, such as couplets about partaking wine and spending voluble time in the tavern, were relinquished by the Mehtas. In “Humne Sharab Le Ke Hawa Mein Ucchal Di” from the album Rubaru (1986), they sing about tossing wine into the air, which suggests a preference for poetry that does not dwell on vice and melancholy.


In “Ek Pyara Sa Gaon,” the pair sings about happier times, taking listeners on a memory trail. It is one of their most popular songs, a signature tune of the couple’s shared philosophy.


The Mehtas were not considered ghazal superstars like their contemporaries Jagjit and Chitra Singh. They kept a low-profile, appealing to local listeners. A new generation of duet singers followed in their collective wake, such as Bhupinder-Mitali Singh, Roop Kumar-Sonali Rathod and the brothers, Ahmed and Mohammed Hussain in the eighties.

The monument of love, the Taj Mahal in Agra, became a recurring motif in their songs, such as in “Ban Sakta Hai Taj Mahal Phir,” written by Surinder Malik. The track is from the album Manzar Manzar (1989), which was released at a time when the ghazal was slowly losing out to the return of melody to Hindi film music. The Mehtas are paying tribute to both the monument as well as the ghazal, declaring it as an inviolable sanctuary.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Get ready for an 80-hour shopping marathon

Here are some tips that’ll help you take the lead.

Starting 16th July at 4:00pm, Flipkart will be hosting its Big Shopping Days sale over 3 days (till 19th July). This mega online shopping event is just what a sale should be, promising not just the best discounts but also buying options such as no cost EMIs, buyback guarantee and product exchanges. A shopping festival this big, packed with deals that you can’t get yourself to refuse, can get overwhelming. So don’t worry, we’re here to tell you why Big Shopping Days is the only sale you need, with these helpful hints and highlights.

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt (64 GB)

A host of entertainment options, latest security features and a 13 MP rear camera that has mastered light come packed in sleek metal unibody. The sale offers an almost 40% discount on the price. Moreover, there is a buyback guarantee which is part of the deal.

Original price: Rs. 17,900

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Samsung 32 inches HD Ready LED TV

Another blockbuster deal in the sale catalogue is this audio and visual delight. Apart from a discount of 41%, the deal promises no-cost EMIs up to 12 months.

Original price: Rs. 28,890

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Intel Core I3 equipped laptops

These laptops will make a thoughtful college send-off gift or any gift for that matter. Since the festive season is around the corner, you might want to make use of this sale to bring your A-game to family festivities.

Original price: Rs. 25,590

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 21,900


If you’ve been planning a mid-year wardrobe refresh, Flipkart’s got you covered. The Big Shopping Days offer 50% to 80% discount on men’s clothing. You can pick from a host of top brands including Adidas and Wrangler.

With more sale hours, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale ensures we can spend more time perusing and purchasing these deals. Apart from the above-mentioned products, you can expect up to 80% discount across categories including mobiles, appliances, electronics, fashion, beauty, home and furniture.

Features like blockbuster deals that are refreshed every 8 hours along with a price crash, rush hour deals from 4-6 PM on the starting day and first-time product discounts makes this a shopping experience that will have you exclaiming “Sale ho to aisi! (warna na ho)”

Set your reminders and mark your calendar, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days starts 16th July, 4 PM and end on 19th July. To participate in 80 hours of shopping madness, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.