The morning after the world learnt about the passing of 42-year-old singer-composer Wajid Khan, several took to social media to express their heartfelt condolences. Wajid, who passed away due to a kidney complication caused by COVID-19, is best known for his popular songs in Salman Khan hits like Ek Tha Tiger, Dabangg and Wanted. Apart from his iconic chartbusters, his mentorship with his brother Sajid Khan in the reality singing show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, showed how he was also a congenial guide to the contestants at all time.
Playback singer Lakshya Bhatnagar, who was also closely associated with Wajid Khan from his Sa Re Ga Ma Pa days, expressed himself with a touching Facebook post and a clip of his performance.
Sakal Times spoke with Lakshya on some of his fondest memories with Wajid Khan, and here's what he has to say:
Could you tell us about your favourite memory with him?
A: I think the most important moment in any artist's life is when he/she is acknowledged in front of the entire world as an artist. My first reality television show was Sa Re Ga Ma Pa in 2016, it was during that time when I got this moment. When I came to the stage, he spoke a lot about me, and he compared me to Jasraj Joshi (winner from the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa previous season).
After my performance, he got up and came to the stage. He hugged me, and he asked me to sing another song. I was perhaps the only singer who sang two songs in the auditions! He was also the one who put a medal on me. The fact that we bonded right there, and throughout the show, was the fact that he was the closest person to me in the panel. And even off-camera, he was always brimming with energy. I have a lot of fond moments that we spent together. But my favourite memory will always be the time when he put the medal on me and believed in me as an artist.
Amongst all the lessons, which one is the one lesson that you will carry with you throughout your journey as a musician?
A: Wajid bhai would always advise against "taking any tension" while performing. Because as reality show contestants, we had our moments of insecurity. Performing in front of so many people who have already established themselves so much in the industry was unnerving. He always used to tell us, "Don't take them as people who are from the industry. Make sure that when you go on any stage in your life, always believe that you are the rockstar at that moment." He has always said this multiple times to numerous people. If there's one thing that we've all learnt from him, it is that don't undermine yourself. Because when you're on stage, there's a reason why you're on stage. When you have the opportunity to kill it, you should go ahead and kill it.
How do you think everyone should remember him?
A: He will best be remembered for his sense of humour. For a lot of people, when the camera switches off, it completely changes them as a person. But Wajid sir was someone who did not change at all. He did not have different colours on and off-camera. He used to joke on camera, and if you watch any reality show that he's been a part of, he was always the one who would initiate jokes to keep the mood light. He used to always be remembered as 'the humorous one'. He was endearing, and even when he has done so much work, he was very humble. Amongst all the other wonderful qualities he had, his humility and humour will probably be what he will always be best remembered for.
Is there an anecdote that he would say which you could share with us?
A: From the time I heard the news of his passing, I'm only having flashbacks of my audition day. That is the closest memory to me because even before I started, he said something like "Mujhe lagta hain ke yeh" (I think he will rock it). And that is exactly what happened. A lot of people can tell when an artist has potential, but not many can predict that they will be able to perform well on stage. He believed in me even before I could perform. That audition will always be the highlight of whatever little memory I have of him.