Jagjit Singh, Cough Syrup and Heartache

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A cough syrup ad featuring the ghazal singer airs after his death; his wife alleges he wasn’t paid in full
More than two years after the death of ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, a dispute has arisen between his wife, Chitra Singh, and Torque Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd, whose cough syrup, Torex, Jagjit Singh endorsed. Singh passed away on 10 October 2011. But the commercial for Torex continued to air on television till much later.

As of Wednesday, the advertisements also appeared on the Torque Pharma website. Chitra Singh also alleges that Torque Pharma did not pay her husband in full.

“Our records show that my husband received Rs 10 lakh-plus in three cheques from Torque Pharmaceuticals,” Chitra Singh says. “But the agreement was for more. Unfortunately, I have no document to prove this. My husband was a lenient man who could not say ‘no’ and agreed to things without always putting them on paper. It is also inappropriate that the ads are still running.”

Chitra Singh has tried to claim the amount she believes Torque Pharma owes her for the deal. Friends and lawyers known to the Singhs have met with PS Chhatwal, Torque Pharma’s Managing Director. “He wanted to know how much money we expected,” Chitra Singh says. “We told him it was about Rs 60 lakh (since the advertisement had been used for many years). He was defiant, saying, ‘Let them go to court’. He also said he was under no obligation to show us any documents or contracts he may have signed with my husband.”

When Open contacted Chhatwal, he said, “I do not want to make any comment on the matter. You can do whatever you want.”

The commercial shows an in-concert Singh being interrupted by a coughing fit, much to the concern of the audience. Singh motions them to not worry, gulps Torex and resumes singing. ‘Gaao Miya Malhar ya Bhimpalasi, Torex cough syrup hai, toh alvida khasi,’ is the punchline. (Sing Raga Miya Malhar or Bhimpalasi, if there’s Torex around, it’s bye bye cough.) In the wrangle with Torque Pharma, it is money that the Singhs seem to have kissed goodbye.