Vol. 5 Num 347 Fri. May 20, 2005  

In Conversation
Agun unplugged

I was never certain that I'd take singing seriously as a profession but music comes naturally to me, just like breathing," reflects Agun.

Agun is a frontrunner in our musical arena. He is known for his versatility. Especially when it comes to singing playback for movies, he tends to render film songs according to the mood and personality of the character he is singing for. Hence, his voice sounds poles apart in different songs. This is Agun's claim to fame and also his one particular trait that is often erroneously criticised.

Agun started his career as the vocalist of the band, Sudden in 1988. Among Sudden's songs, Baishakhi Mela, Uttal Shomudro and Bhalobashi were well received. He decided to retire from Sudden and went solo in 1992. Songs rendered by him, for the movie Keyamat Thekey Keyamat are his breakthrough performance, according to Agun. The songs from the movie established him as a commercially viable artiste and also proved his musical finesse. He was honoured with a Bachshash award in '97 for his rendition of the song, O Amar Jonmobhumi. Songs like January February from his latest album are huge hits.

So, how did Agun step in to the world of music?

"I don't recall a single day without music. I used to wake up in the morning to the tunes of my mother's rewaz," reminisces Agun.

He adds, "My mother, Nilufar Yasmeen led a routine life, which can be labeled as the epitome of a purely devout artistic life. She often used to ask me to join her in her alap. Regrettably, I never did any rewaz in my whole life. My mother was not too keen on the idea, and I'm not saying I'm proud of disregarding traditional rewaz but I believe music is in my blood. When you're the offspring of two artistes like Khan Ataur Rahman and Nilufar Yasmeen, who have their own legacies in the sphere of our music, you don't have to fret to attain musical skills. Musical skills possess you.

"My dad, however, never pushed me or my siblings to become musicians. But he always used to say, 'Famous or infamous, whatever you want to be, you have to one of the top three in your turf.' That's Khan Ataur Rahman for you.

" I'm perpetually restless, I can't abide by strict rules. This was the only difference between me and my mother. I was closer to my father. He could relate to me, being a bohemian himself," says Agun.

"I always knew that I could sing but I never took it seriously until I had to perform at the farewell programme at my school. After that I joined Sudden and gradually music became my sole profession. Although, I'm not ashamed to admit that I didn't take music seriously when I started my career, lately I have been trying to religiously work on my music and I'm taking a perfectionist's approach to it. I've realised that is the only way people would remember me even when I'm not around," he continues.

On the state of the current music scene, Agun remarks, "We're going through a troubled phase but this is how the milieu is before an intense Nor'wester. I believe, a cultural renaissance is upon us."

Agun hasn't only limited himself to the world of music. Following the tradition of his father, he had made a debut as an actor through the movie Akhono Onek Raat. After that he had acted in the TV drama Ojana Shoikotey and the immensely popular TV serial Rong-er Manush.

"I do intend to take acting seriously and perhaps some day, I'd like to try out film direction but for the time being, I want to continue acting in TV plays," asserts Agun.

He is working on his next project, an album that is based on the sub-continental vintage music. "So far, seven songs are done.

I have used acoustic instruments such as, violin, santoor, trumpet, saxophone, grand piano, tabla, flute and sitar in the songs. I trust my fans will enjoy the efforts," says an optimistic Agun.