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Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar

Hemant Kumar... (Page 5)

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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 11:24pm | IP Logged

 

Just after the sad news of the passing away on September 26, 1989 of Hemanta Mukhopadhyay or Hemant Kumar -- as he was best known to the non-Bengalis -- spread all around, an extremely pal of gloom and utmost grief dawned upon the music connoisseurs of the whole of India, specifically West Bengal - the repository of many reputed musicians the Indian Subcontinent has produced - along with the rest of India and quite significantly Bangladesh where he returned from less than a month ago.

How - a singer can have a great impact on the mind of music lovers especially the Bengalis - and how - a singer may have gained a perpetual place in the realm of Bengali, Hindi songs and let alone Tagore songs - can best be understood by the legend into which Hemanta was turned into in his most illustrious music career spanning more than 56 years.

By mesmerizing the innumerable listeners days after days, months after months, years after years, decades after decades, he indisputably immortalized himself as a legendary singer in the arena of Indian Music ever since he started singing. Probably centuries after centuries he would supposedly continue to churn the mind of the musically inclined Bengalis as long as Bengali language exits. From the middle of 40's till the middle of 80's, he endeared himself to the music lovers of the sub continent by his God-gifted lilting and mellifluous voice and bound the music listeners with the knot of an inseparable ties.

As soon as his untimely death news reached the length and breadth of Calcutta, people from all walks of life - bringing the busy public life of Kolkata to a standstill - tried to throng Rabindra Sadan, the glorious seat of learning of Indian Culture with some of the nostalgic and avid admirers, listeners of his songs, weeping inconsolably and even following the funeral procession to march towards for the funeral rites of Hemanta as if they had been the relatives and kin of him to mourn his death and to bid him the last adieu. Truly speaking without any sort of exaggeration and with due respects to other reputed singers; not many singers appear to have reached the extreme corner of the diehard music connoisseurs as Hemanta Mukherjee did.

Akash Bani Kolkata paid rich tribute to him by getting the listeners to listen to ( Hemanta Sangeet ), Rabindra sangeet by which he was conspicuous almost throughout his music career. Incognizant of Hemanta's passing away, many listeners who tuned in Akash Bani on September 26, 1989 [on Tuesday] to listen to Nazrul Sangeet [specifically allocated from 1:30 PM to 2:00 PM for that day] kept wondering why Rabindra Sangeet by Hemanta - not scheduled for that day was being played back one after another. Nostalgic Rabindra Sangeets such as "Amar Rat Pohalo Sharodo Prate Amar Rat Pohalo", "Jakhon Bhaglo Ei Milono Mela", "Amar Jabar Belay Pichu Dake", continued to be played in that 30-minute program as if Akash Bani was paying the greatest tribute to Hemanta. Wasn't it that Akash Bani which was glorified by Hemanta's songs ? Wasn't it that Akash Bani which kept him waiting hours after hours for the audition test in the early 40's when Pankaj Mallik, Jaganmoy Mitra were recording songs one after another ?

The music lovers and his diehard fans in Bangladesh where he visited for the last time just 3 weeks before his passing away became completely flabbergasted to know that Hemanta would never come back to Bangladesh, reminiscing one of his favorite Bengali songs "Amar Ganer Swarolipi Lekha Robe", Ami Jodi ar nai ashi hetha phire, Agami Prithibi kan pete shono." What grieved the Bangladeshi music lovers more than what they could think about is the passing away of Dr. Abu Hena Mustafa - a poet in his own right, and a music connoisseur who interviewed Hemanta in the TV program. Just two weeks after Dr. Mustafa died, then came in the news of Hemanta's eternal departure. What a coincidence it was that two great personalities of two countries grieved the populace by their passing away as if both of them were bound by the rope of music that couldn't separate them



Edited by Qwest - 19 March 2006 at 11:27pm

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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 11:51pm | IP Logged
Thanks Qwest ji – I am buried under work here – so the contribution is minimal Confused

One more important information is influence and involvement of Hemanta and Salil in Gana Natya Sangha of Mumbai.
Can't find anything on that – any one….
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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 11:52pm | IP Logged

Salil Chowdhury's obituary

to

Hemanta Mukherjee

I came to know of Hemanta Mukherjee in the mid 40's. We did have a few casual encounters, but I had never had the oppurtunity to know him closely. I had met Hemanta Mukherjee for the first time at George-da(Debabrata Biswas)'s house. We exchanged common courtesies and that was just about it. Then came 1948. The Communist Party of India(CPI) was declared illegal. I should mention here, that I had actively involved myself with the workings of CPI from 1946. Most of my days were spent underground. In Calcutta, 'Jashoda Bhavan', located near Golpark, was our frequented hideout and a hub for political meetings. In one such meeting, Krishno Bandyopadhyay, a pupil of Bhismadev Chattopadhyay, and a member of our discussion group, suggested to get Hemanta Mukherjee to sing my songs.

Meanwhile Hemanta Mukherjee and Suchitra Mitra had started singing for the IPTA. Under Binay Roy's leadership and Georga-da's influence they had involved themselves with the people's movement.

So one day, some time around 1948-49, I visited Hemanta Mukherjee's residence at Indra Roy Raod in South Calcutta. I met him, got acquainted with him and soon he became my Hemanta-da. By that time a few of my songs written for the IPTA had become popular. I sang some of them to Hemanta-da and he greatly appreciated them. But he was apprehensive, "These songs cannot be recorded in these times. If you have any other songs I might sing them." I did not have any other songs ready at that moment. So we decided to meet some other time, think about new themes for songs, etc. As I came halfway down the stairs, I suddenly remembered a new song that I had just begun composing. I mentioned it to him and he instantly called me back. He heard half the song and was ecstatic. "This is the appropriate song to be recorded, complete it and I will record it." And thus was born 'Kono ek gayer bodhu'. I returned home, wrote the second part of the song and set the tune. Within a couple of days I returned to Hemanta-da with the complete song and he picked it up immediately. That very night 'Yashoda Bhavan' was raided and I had to flee to Sandeshkhali. Once again I had to go underground.

That year, August 1949 I believe, I heard that Hemanta-da had recorded 'Gayer bodhu' as a Puja number. And surprisingly, he himself had arranged the orchestration. The song became a smash hit as soon as it was released. What we call super-duper hit nowadays - maybe more than that.

How old was I then? Hardly twenty or twenty-one. My short build made me look younger. Nobody believed that I had written and composed the music for Hemanta-da's super-hit song. I remember an amusing incident from that time. Hemanta-da, Suchitra Mitra and myself were touring Gauhati with the IPTA troupe. At one function, the principal of Cotton College refused to believe that I was Salil Chowdhury - the composer of Hemanta Mukherjee's path-breaking song. Hemanta-da had come forward that day and saved me from an embarassing situation.

Hemanta-da had also arranged the orchestration for 'Runner'. When I had sang the song to Hemanta-da, I had just given him a few hints about the orchestration. The rest was all his creation. It was the same story again - I was underground, the song got recorded and released in my absence, and once again we had a super hit. Hemanta-da recorded two more songs composed by me that year(1950), 'Abak Prithibi' and 'Bidraha aaj'. Earlier George-da and Priti Sarkar used to sing these songs. George-da sung them to Hemanta-da one day and said "Hemanta, why don't you record these songs? They (Gramophone Co.) won't allow me to sing them." Hemanta-da picked up the songs that very day.

Between 1950 and 1952 my contact with Hemanta-da got strained. He had left for Bombay. I was working on Satyendranath Dutta's 'Palkir gaan' at that time. It took more than three months to compose. Right at that time, my father expired. On hearing about my loss, Hemanta-da not only paid his condolences, he even offered me a job as his assisstant music director in Bombay. But by then I had got busy with music direction in Bengali films and had to decline his offer.

My film music was gaining popularity in Bengal. Amidst his busy schedule, Hemanta-da flew to Calcutta one day and sought me out. 'Palkir gaan' was ready by then. Hemanta-da was very happy when he heard the song. Here I should mention a quality of Hemanta-da which set him apart from the rest - to accept and recognize new trends. Few people possess this ability. I mean, he had the courage to accept a novel endeavour as a challenge. He was overjoyed to hear 'Palkir gaan' - a new experiment, a risk only he could dare to partake. Palkir gaan was recorded in 1952. It opened a new vista in Bengali modern songs.

The following year I set off for Bombay in response to Bimal Roy's request for making a film, based on my story "Do Bigha Zameen". I was also the MD for the movie. The songs for this film were sung by Manna De, Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. These songs did not exactly suit Hemanta-da's voice, which he also understood and there were no hard feelings. In my very next movie, Bimal Roy's 'Biraj Bahu', Hemanta-da sang all the four songs for the hero.

Then both of us got busy in our own spheres of work. But whenever we met, Hemanta-da would hasten "Salil, compose a song for the Pujas". A couple of years after that Hemanta-da once again recorded two of my songs - "Pathe ebar naamo sathi" and "Dhitang Dhitang bole". Our combination for Bengali Puja numbers continued unparalled for a number of years.

But our alchemy instigated a group of people to cause a rift between us. And they were successful. They went to Hemanta-da and complained "Salil Chowdhury is saying - 'Hemanta Mukherjee would not have been popular if he had not sung my songs'". And the very same people came to me saying "Hemanta-da says - 'If I had not sung Salil's songs who would have know him today?'

This created a misunderstanding between us. Hemanta-da refrained from singing my songs for a few years. Lata recorded some of my Bengali songs and they gained popularity. Hemanta-da became very touchy on this. So one day I directly spoke to him "Hemanta-da, I heard that you commented 'Who is Salil Chowdhury without me?'. Hemanta-da was furious. "What are you saying? On the contrary, I heard that it was you who said 'Who is Hemanta...'" Immediately the truth dawned on us. Misunderstandings and prejudices sorted, Hemanta-da recorded two new songs 'Amay proshno kare' and 'Shono kono ek din'. After the recording session Hemanta-da remarked, "Salil, you have given words to expressions of my heart." Hemanta-da continued recording with me after that.

Back in Bombay, following the success of 'Madhumati' I had become overly busy. I could not devote enough time to Bengali music. Around that time I also got involved with the 'Bombay Youth Choir'. Although Hemanta-da and I remained close, our musical connection almost got severed.

Then, about eight years back Hemanta-da re-recorded ten of our old hits on LP. I was busy in Bombay and Samir Seal did the orchesration for some of the songs. I was not upset, but I felt bad about it. The entire project had been executed in my absence. Anyway, when I came across Hemanta-da he reasoned "Salil, you must have heard I have re-recorded your songs. Do you know something? All along I had been singing your songs without understanding their meaning. Now with age I find a new meaning in them. But my voice may betray me, so I decided to record them at the first oppurtunity. I am sure you will not mind.". I might mention here that the re-recorded songs were a bit less lustrous than the original versions. The orchestrations had also been altered in some cases.

A few years before this incident Hemanta-da had recorded 'Thikana' in Bombay. The year was 1970. Soon after that Hemanta-da settled in Calcutta. I remained in Bombay. In the meantime we had worked together in the Bengali movie "Rai Bahadur" (1960)- his songs were superb.

Time passed, we did not work together for a long time. Then in 1980 we again got together on an LP 'Anek gaaner pakhi', featuring six of my compostions. Personally I feel that this was an outstanding album. Unfortunately, Hemanta-da fell ill right before the recording. Consequently, the songs weren't very popular.

But just three months back, we again teamed up for a song for the Bengali movie "Haraner nat-jamai". The song goes "O aay re, o aay re". In fact this is my old compostion - 'Dhan katar gaan'. Hemanta-da was sick, his voice was failing. But we still went ahead with the recording - dubbing on the track-recording. The song took six recording sessions to complete. This song is one of my treasured possessions now.

Today I feel very happy to say that there was not a single interview where Hemanta-da had not praised me exuberantly. This was a great source of encouragement for me. Recently Hemanta-da used to tell my friends,"What's Salil upto nowadays? Recording studios are not meant for him. (Hemanta Mukherjee was referring to the recording studio started by Salil Chowdhury). Business does not suit him. Tell him to concentrate on his real work." These were Hemanta-da's last words for me - not only an advice from an elder brother but a divine blessing.

[This article was written by Salil Chowdhury in 1989. Translated from Bengali by Prithviraj Dasgupta]




Edited by Qwest - 19 March 2006 at 11:53pm
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Tagar Adhikary


 

    One of the based-musical instruments to make the Bhawaiya song more melodious is "Dotora". And proficient Dotora player- to enlighten as well as entertain, to inspire as well as impress-, able to make the Bhawaiya song a hope for a disappointed mind, a solace for a disconsolate heart. A man who could produce any sorts of sound in the string of the Dotora, agitate a calm-mind, create a storm of emotion in the mind of people—was none but Tagar Adhikary.

 

Tagar Adhikary, was born in 1914 at Kherbari, a small village under Agomani Development Block in the district of Dhubri (Assam) in a dedicated Baishnavi family. Popularly known as "Kana Tagar" (blind tagar) as he was blind not by birth but by an accident he lost his eye-sight just after one week of his birth. His conjugal life was not happy as two years after the marriage his wife, Padmeshwari expired without leaving any children. Tagar Adhikary lived in the atmosphere of music as the village he belonged was considered as a centre of folk-music and culture.

 

 He stared his musical journey under the guidance of famous "Gidal" (singer) Chamru Charkia from whom he learned to play Dotora as well as "Bina" and "Sharinda". Another "Guru" (teacher) was Priyanath Roy known as "Priyanath Ostad". Under his guidance Tagar Adhikary knew to play "Tabla", Harmonium", "Khol", "Dhol", "Behela", "Sharinda". Along with this "Ostad", he performed in North Bengal, Bangladesh, and various places of undivided Goalpara district and was highly acclaimed by the people. He had an opportunity to meet Guru Shuren Roy Bashuria in1932 who was the Guru of Abbas Uddin, renowned Bhawaiya singer. Under his guidance Tagar Adhikary learnt classical music along with Bhawaiya. Later on with number of famous artists he exercised to sing Rabindra Sangeet & Najrul Geet to spread his talency. In the year 1937, HMV recorded two songs (N9994>MC 7492 and N9994>OMC 7493) of Shuren Roy Bashuria where Tagar assisted playing the Dotora and there he meet Kazi Najrul Islam. After the releasing of the audio cassette, which was the first Bhawaiya song recorded, a joyous atmosphere was created among the people of the North Bengal, Rangpur (Bangladesh) and lower part of Assam. With the help of few comrades of communist party, he was sent to Bombay to participate in a competition of "Nikhil Bharat Jantra Aur Katha Sangeet", where he awarded the best artist in the instrumental category. When he was in Bombey, he halted in the residence of Sachin Dev Barman and he also came into contact with Ravi Shankar. Ravi Shankar appreciated Tagar's outstanding playing the Dotora. On the patronage of communist party in the year of 1947, he attended in a cultural programme organized by the "Gana Natya Sangha, Calcutta". In April,1952 he attended in "All India Cultural Conference And Festival For Peace" held at Park Circus Maidan, Calcutta where he was entitled as "Manab Daradi Shilpi". On the second day of this programme "Chera Taar" was performed in Rangpuria language directed by Tulshi Lahiri and music was composed by Shalil Choudhary. The plot of which was awful abyss of human massacre and misery of the Second World War. The artist of the drama was Manoranjan Bhattyacharaya, Tripti  Mitra, Shambu Mitra and of course, Tulshi Lahiri. In the drama the raag "Behag" played by Tagar amazed the audience and the delegates came from various part of India. Tagar Adhiakary had succeeded the appreciation and attention number of folk-music lover having democratic awareness like Mahakabi Vallathol (Kerela) the father of Kathakali Nritya, Dr. Muluk Raj Anand, and Hindi Literate Kishan Chandar, Shardar Khalim Jafri, Oriya Litarate Ananta Patnayak, Assamese Poet Raghunath Choudhary, historian Bhagat Sharma Upadhaya, actor Prithi Raj Kapoor, Anna Bhaw Shatte and Amar Shatte famous singer of Maharastra, Manik Banerjee of Bengal and S. Schewkave the famous folk-singer of Kirghis province of Russia may more present in the programme.

 

 

Tagr Adhiakary, a versatile genius whose song includes all categories like emotive, contemplative, philosophic and religious, may be compared with Ostad Alauddin Khan. His song brings out revolutionary spirit, pensive mood and optimistic out-look; resurrection of struggling and oppressed humanity. His greatness reposes on no single features. His favourite raag was "Joyjayanti", "Dharbarikanara", "Tori" "Behag" etc. When he played the raag "Gourmalar", "Miamalar" or "Joyjayanti" the audience feels the second stage of rainy night even at the day time.

 

Since then 'tis centuries; but each

                                                           Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the house's heads

                                                          Were towards eternity.

                                                                                                        (Emily Dickinson)

 

                                  

Men are born for the death. On the month of June,1972 Tagar Adhikary breath his last at his own residence in the village of Kherbari. Number of singers, who have touched the elemental chord of heart, passed away keeping their memories in the mind of the people who thirst for Bhawaiya songs. Tagar Adhikary is one of them. His technical excellency in the Dotora, an inspiration for the new generation, will never fade away in the least



Edited by Qwest - 19 March 2006 at 11:59pm
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Originally posted by soulsoup

Thanks Qwest ji – I am buried under work here – so the contribution is minimal Confused

One more important information is influence and involvement of Hemanta and Salil in Gana Natya Sangha of Mumbai.
Can't find anything on that – any one….
soulsoupji, read the last Post.
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Posted: 20 March 2006 at 12:04am | IP Logged
wow....i luv hemant kumar songs.....and its my one of the favourite
Aaj dujonar duti poth ogo..duti dikay gechhe beke
Tomar o pothh...aaloye bhorano jani...
Amar e poth..adharey aachhe je dheke... (its a bengali song)

thanx for those wonderful articles
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Posted: 20 March 2006 at 12:07am | IP Logged

Originally posted by angel_wings

wow....i luv hemant kumar songs.....and its my one of the favourite
Aaj dujonar duti poth ogo..duti dikay gechhe beke
Tomar o pothh...aaloye bhorano jani...
Amar e poth..adharey aachhe je dheke... (its a bengali song)

thanKs for those wonderful articles
It is a beautiful song I have the link there too.

thanks angel_wings

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Posted: 20 March 2006 at 12:16am | IP Logged
From Hemanta to Hemant Kumar
the Bombay experience
It was 1948. A man by the name of Hemanta Mukherjee sang in a film called Zameen Aasmaan. Back then, little did people know that the young dhoti-clad man would go on to become one of the all time greats of Indian film music. That number from Zameen Aasmaan, however, had not made any significant contribution to Hemanta's career, and Hemanta had come back to Calcutta. But three years later, he returned to Bombay. It was Hiren Gupta who was instrumental in taking him to Bollywood this time for the film Anandamath. Unfortunately, this film also did not bring him the success or fame he deserved. He was yet to have a firm footing in Bombay. Then, in 1952, Hemanta produced his first Hindi hit, Yeh raat yeh chandni (from the film Jaal), sung under the stewardship of another maestro, Sachin Dev Burman. With this number, Hemanta launched his flight to fame in Bollywood. Hemanta Mukherjee settled down in Bombay and became Hemant Kumar. He brought his family over the Bombay and bought a new house which he named 'Geetanjali'. In 1954 Nagin was released. The songs became an instant hit with the entire nation. Man doley mera tan doley in particular. Even today, snake-charmers play the tune of this song. Another interesting fact concerning Nagin is that the assistant to Hemanta in this film was Kalyanji, who later teamed up with Anandji to form one of the best music directio n teams of India.
Hemanta & Lata - 19k
Lata Mangeshkar and Hemanta Mukherjee on his completion of 50 years of singing.
Nagin brought Hemanta a lot of fame and money. Offers started pouring in and he started churning out one hit after another. The famous number from the film Pyaasa, Jaane woh kaise log they, deserves special mention. It was probably one of the best songs Hemanta had ever sung. Hai apna dil to awaara was another superhit. Hemanta, however was never happy in Bombay, in spite of his success there. He missed Calcutta and went on working for Bengali films even while in Bombay. In 1960, Hemanta produced his first Hindi film, Bees Saal Baad, which sent cash registers at the box-office tinkling. Producing this film, he had taken the biggest risk of his career. "I would have been in big trouble had Bees Saal Baad flopped," he commented. But Hemanta's gamble paid off and the film 'clicked'. Hemanta declared a huge profit and consequently had to pay taxes amounting to Rs. 4,00,000. During this period, Hemanta produced a number of superhit tunes - Yeh nayan dare dare (based on the tune of the Bengali superhit Aei raat tomar aamar), Tum pukar lo and many others.

Following Bees Saal Baad, his film production took a turn for the worse. None of the films he produced since then was successful. He went on losing money. A time came when his loans went up to an astronomical Rs. 14 lakh. This brought Hemanta back to Calcutta, where he went on to become 'the man with the golden voice'.




Edited by Qwest - 20 March 2006 at 12:17am

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