Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Classical singers had been neglected in Bengali films.

Classical singers had been neglected in Bengali films.

Classical singers were always neglected in Bengali films, especially during the 50s, 60s and 70s. In the 50s Dhanonjoy Bhattacharya, who dominated the world of modern songs with landmark classical songs like “ruma jhuma jhum”, “matite jonmo nilam”, “shilpi moner bedona”, “kobir kheyale” etc., got rare opportunities to sing in Bengali films excepting films related to mythology. His notable songs in Bengali films include “jhir jhir jhir jhir jhir jhorona” composed by Salil Choudhury in the film Paser Bari, “gaya ganga probasadi” composed by Anil Bagchi in Rani Rashmoni, “bondhu re” composed by Robin Chatterji in Shilpi, “hori haraye nomo krishno” composed by Raichand Boral in Nilachole Mahaprobhu.

Eminent singer and composer Satinath Mukherjee, a legend of numerous songs like “bonopatho majhe”, “pasaner buke”, “jibone jodi deep”, etc., did not have any scope of composing music in films inspite of being a successful student of Bare Ghulam Ali Khan. Akhilbondhu Ghosh, a notable singer having classical records like “aji chandini rati go”, “keno prohoro na jete”, “o doyal bichar koro”, “bashoriya”, “emni dine maje amar” had been hardly used in Bengali films both as a singer or as a composer.

Manobendra Mukherjee due to his sheer brilliance could not be ignored in Bengali films and his composition in Bengali films like Mayamrigo, Bodhu, Joyjoyanti, Godhuli Belai had been considered landmarks in film music. He had the rare record of both dominating the world of modern songs with super hit discs like “ami eto je tomay bhalo besechi”, “emni kore porbe mone”, “seto naam dhore”, “rimjhim baje”, “bare bare ke jeno dake”, “nai chondon lekha”, “tomar pother prante moner”, etc., and Bengali film songs like “metidi americar kabyo”, “dole dodul dole jhulona”, “godhuli belay”, “rojoni pohale”, “jogonnath jogot bondhu”, etc.mostly in films of Uttam Kumar and Biswajeet.

Manna Dey was initially ignored in the 50s but stormed into the arena replacing Hemant Kumar as the dominating singer in the mid-60s with his stylish performance in the film Shonkhobela with songs like “ami agantuk” and “ke prothom kache esechi”, composed by Sudhin Dasgupta. He created history with legendary songs in the film Antony Firingi with songs like “ami je jolsaghare”, “ami jamini”, “chompa chameli”, etc. His songs in the film Stri like “jemon sapinike”, “hajar takar jhar batita”, “ose jotai kalo hok”, and Sonyasi Raja with songs like “shashikanto tumi dekhchi”, “bhalobasar agun jalao”, etc. brought the royal culture of Kolkata in the 18th century back in films. Besides he sang huge number of hit songs for Uttam Kumar including “ami kon pathe je choli”, “bachao ke acho” from the film Choddobeshi, “phool pakhi bondhu amar chilo”, “manush khun hole pore”, “lal nil sobujeri” from Chirodiner, to name a few.

The male playback arena in Bengali films were dominated by Hemant Kumar and Shyamal Mitra in the 50s and 60s and due to individual skills Manna Dey and Manobendra Mukherjee kept their mark in Bengali film music. Otherwise the trend was the voice which suited Uttam Kumar the most use to be considered the ideal voice to be used in all bollywood films. In fact in the 70s, Kishore Kumar got break in Bengali films like Amanush and Ananda Ashram only because he could adapt his style for the superstar Uttam Kumar. Bengal had a huge range of classical singers who could have made the world of film music more colourful had they got the scope of contributing in Bengali cinema in the 50s, 60s and 70s.


Unknown said...

As classical singers wore ignored in bengali cinema, film songs had the contribution of only Hemant Kumar and Shaymal Mitra. Whereas the world of modern bengali songs were glorified with remote style of singing of giants like Dhanonjoy Bhattacharya, Pannalal Bhattacharya, Akhil Bondhu Ghosh, Aparesh Lahiri, Nirmalendu Choudhury, etc. and also female singers like Alpona Banerjee, Gayetri Bose, Bani Ghoshal, Krishna Ganguly,Pratima Banerjee, Ila Bose, Shipra Bose, Nirmala Mishra, etc., in addition to Sandhya Mukherjee and Geeta Dutt.

Souvik-indrajalik said...

The bigger challenge in composing classical songs in bengali films and reaching them to the mass lied in the popularity of the classical singers. Manobendra Mukherjee was very popular and as such his songs "rojoni pohale sojoni kothay" in Shashibaur Sangsar composed by Anil Bagchi, "adhare" in Basant Bahar composed by Gyan Prakash Ghosh, "dole dodul dole" in Deya Neya, composed by Shyamal Mitra etc., became very popular. Manna Dey was extremely popular and his songs "baje go bina" in Morjina Abdulla composed by Salil Choudhury,"ami je jalsaghare", "ami jamini", in Antony Firingi, composed by Anil Bagchi became super hit. Krishna Ganguli's song "dakhina batashe" composed by Salil Choudhury, became big hit. The notable composers could not use the classical talents as Uttam Kumar's voice matched with Hemant Kumar and with other actors the composers had apprehension in mind with respect of the commercial value of the classical songs in bengali films.
Souvik Chatterji.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed sad that Dhananjay Bhattacharya failed to get his due recognition which he so richly deserved. One wonders if it was due to his refusal to move to Bombay despite requests from S D Barman,Salil Chowdhury and even R C Boral earlier. It is also a little known fact that he wrote lyrics for many a hit song, mainly devotional, under two different pen names as indeed he composed music for many well known songs. A lot of his achievements has come out in a recently published book, "Ananya Dhananjay" which his fans may like.
P T Mallik, Kolkata