Salil Choudhury, noted scholar, poet, composer and literary giant was remembered on his death anniversary on 5th September, 2018. He was also remembered on his birthday on 19th November, 2014. As he was a versatile scholar, his scholarly attributes were reflected in his creations. He was both the lyricist and the composer and numerous songs sung by legendary singers over 50 years.
His creation “ami parini bujhite parini” and “tumi jaante” for Manobendra Mukherjee were created with two different andaz, one having classical orientation while the other having westernized treatment. His creation “jhanana jhanana baje” and “antabihin oi andharater shesh” for Dhanonjoy Bhattacharya showed his class in handling classical singers.
On the other hand his strength in folk songs were evident in his song “sunayoni sunayoni” sung by Nirmalendu Choudhury and Sabita Choudhury. Nirmalendu became famous all across the world with his folk numbers. Salil Choudhury hugely experimented with Shymal Mitra in songs like “jadi kichu amare shudhao”, “aha oi ankabanka poth jai shudure”, “dur nai beshi dur oi”, “ja jare ja ja pakhi”, to name a few. In “jadi kichu amare shudhao”, Salil Choudhury’s orchestration was unique, half of the song was blank verse while the other half had musical treatment. Salil Choudhury used the different playback singers in Bengal and explored their talents to the brim. Some of the great compositions include “eso kache boso” sung by Tarun Banerjee, “pallabini go sancharini” sung by Dwijen Mukherjee, “Jodi jante go tumi jante” sung by Manobendra Mukherjee, “jai jai din” sung by Biswajeet Chatterjee, to name a few. The list can go on.
Salil Choudhury created a gem with the song “nil nil pakhi” for Sandhya Mukherjee. Besides, bengal’s literary community were astonished with Salil Choudhury conversion of famous poetry “ujjal ek jhak paira” sung by Sandhya Mukherjee into song. The poet’s feelings were translated into musical tune by sheer brilliance of Salil Choudhury. Other examples of converting legendary poems into songs include “runner” written by Shukanto Bhattacharya and “palki chole” written by Satyendranath Dutta which were sung by Hemanta Mukherjee which both became history. In “runner” the march of the postman on foot from remote corners of village was given adequate expression by Salil Choudhury.
Salil Choudhury’s national fame allowed him to do numerous experiments with bollywood singers like Mukesh and Lata. Articles after articles can be devoted to Lata Salil Choudhury creations in Bengali. Mukesh also sung hit song “jhum jhum pakshi nachona” composed by Salil Choudhury.
Salil Choudury created his masterpieces in Bengali films as well like Shyamal Mitra’s song “onek ghuriya sheshe” in Hrithik Ghatak’s film Bari Theke Paliye, Nirmalendu Choudhury’s song “sojoni o sojoni” and Manna Dey’s “uthali pathali amar buuk” in Rajen Tarafdar’s film Ganga. Besides his song “he bhai re bhai” and “baje go beena” sung by Manna Dey in the film Marjina Abdulla made the listeners speechless. Even Lata’s song “bujhbe na keu bujhbena” was equally popular.
Bimal Roy’s film Do Bigha Zameen was based on Salil Choudhury’s literature. His music in the films Do Bigha Zameen, Madhumati, Musafir, Parakh, Jagte Raho, Anand, Maya, Rajnigandha, etc., stand out as landmarks in Indian film history. He received filmfare award for brilliant performance in the film Madhumati. All the songs in the film including Lata’s “aja re”, “ghari ghari”, Rafi’s “tute hue khwabonme”, “jangal me mor nacha”, Mukesh’s “dil tarap tarap ke”, “suhana safar aur mausam hasin” touched the souls of numerous Indians in the late 50s.
Other notable songs of Salil Choudhury in bollywood films include “tasveer teri dil me” from Maya, “zindagi kaisi hai paheli hai”, “kahin dur jab din dhal jaye” from Anand, “rajnigandha” from Rajnigandha, “jago mohan pyare” from Jagte Raho, “dil tadpe tadpaye” from Poonam Ki Raat, to name a few.
Bengal and India was as a whole was indebted to a maestro like Salil Choudhury and several researches can be undertaken for finding out the history behind his creations. One article is not enough to reiterate the immortal works of the giant creator. The creations should be preserved and restored.