Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In Shyamasangeet Pannalal Bhattacharya and Dhananjoy Bhattacharya were the best ever.

Pannalal Bhattacharya and Dhananjay Bhattacharya sang the best Shyamasangeet. Shyamasangeet is one form of devotional song devoted to Goddess Kali, the Goddess of empowerment. It is called Bhaktigeeti in Bengali. Pannalal Bhattacharya and Dhananjay Bhattacharya were probably the best singers of Shyamasangeet. Dhananjay Bhattacharya was the medjda, the middle brother of Bhattacharya family. He used to be called Samrat, meaning the king of music. He was very handsome and got chance in Bengali films like Pasher Bari, Ladies Seat, Nababidhan to name a few. His basic discs created havoc in 1950s like “shilpi moner”, “jhanana jhanana baje”, “kobir kheyale premomoy tumi samrat shajahan”, etc. Even his songs “e maya proponchomoy” made the viewers spellbound. In recent interview given by his son Dipankar Bhattacharya in Anandabazar Patrika it was said that Lataji requested Dhananjay Bhattacharya to come to Mumbai for hindi songs, which he refused. Composer Salil Choudhury told Dhananjoy that his voice was at par with Rafisahab and Talat Sahab. But beyond modern songs his inclination was towards devotional songs, especially that of Goddess Kali. Pannalal Bhattacharya learned music from Dhananjay Bhattacharya. He also had classical control and sang very well. When he came to that his friends Manabendra Mukherjee, Shyamal Mitra and Sanat Singha acted in the film Sare Chuattor, he wanted to act in the film also. But Dhananjay Bhattacharya stopped him. Sare Chuattor was the first superhit film of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen released in 1953. But Dhananajay Bhattacharya understood that Pannalal had excellent control in Shyamsangeet. So he allowed his brother to concentrate in those songs. Some of her brilliant songs included “amar sadhna mitilo ashana phurilo”, “chai na mago raja hote”, “opar sangsar nahi parabar, ma o ma, ma”. His other hit songs included “de ma pagol kore bhramamaye”, “amar mayer payer jobe hoye”, to name a few. All were devoted to Goddess Kali. Both Dhananjoy Bhattacharya and Pannalal Bhattacharya had the hobby of catching fishes. Whoever had ponds in West Bengal, used to call both the brothers, first for fishing and then in the evening ask them to sing songs. Dhananjoy Bhattacharya’s son Dipankar Bhattacharya had said in Anandabazar Patrika that once Pannalal was travelling in train with friends Manabendra Mukherjee, Nirmala Mishra, Tarun Banerjee. He visualized that in Dakshineshwar Kalibari, the idol of Kali was dressed in Tunte sari. All his friends were shocked. He took them to Dhakineshwar. Everyone saw the truth that yes, Idol of Kali was dressed in tunte saree. Once Pannalal was recording in HMV the song “chai na ami raja hote”. Manobendra Mukherjee waited outside the room. He allowed Pannalal to finish his song and then said he was going to sing the song “ami eto je tomae bhalobesechi” in 1958. Pannalal gave Manabendra Jaba flower which he brought from Kali Temple in Dhakineshwar. He gave the flower to Manabendra saying it was going to give him good luck. Manobendra sang the song and it became a bumper hit. In the later years, Pannalal lost interest in life and only sang devotional songs for Goddess Kali. He committed suicide at the age of 36 years. Music experts feel that Pannalal Bhattacharya and Dhananjay Bhattacharya sang the best shyamasangeet ever in Bengal’s history.

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