Vol. 5 Num 351 Wed. May 25, 2005  

The role of media in invigorating mass interest in Nazrul's songs -- Fatema Tuz Zohra
Let me take this opportunity to say that I feel blessed to be a Nazrul singer. Nowadays we hear the complaint that the younger generation is not responsive to Nazrul songs or classical music. This is not quite true. I'm elated that many youngsters are taking an interest in Nazrul and quite a few of them are fairly talented.

Having said that, I strongly believe these emerging artistes need promotion and encouragement and this is where the media can play a pivotal role. In fact not just the upcoming ones, even the prominent artistes need media support.

In today's CD-audio cassette-music video culture, the audio-visual media plays a central role in making an artiste a household name. A song can be very evocative but expressed through a fitting music video, a song can hit the target and make an intense impact on an individual. He/she can relate to the song in a more profound way. We need visually engaging, creative music videos that can present Nazrul songs from a unique perspective.

It is really unfortunate that the audio-visual media has not shown ample interest in promoting Nazrul artistes, as there is this erroneous notion that Nazrul songs don't sell. Theme-wise, the diversity of Nazrul songs range from folk and classical numbers to traditional Arabian, Cuban and Turkish tunes. This distinctive trait of Nazrul songs should be utilised skillfully.

Besides the audio-visual media, live performances are also vital. Year around we notice these lavishly organised concerts by pop artistes and popular bands. Can we not have well organised concerts by Nazrul artistes on a grand scale?

In our neighbouring country, I have noticed that even the non-Bangla speaking artistes convey their reverence for Kobiguru Rabindranath Tagore by rendering his songs. Perhaps, their accent, modulation and skills are not fit for rendering that certain genre of songs, but the passion and admiration for the music cannot be ignored. Similarly, if our popular artistes rendered even a few lines of Nazrul songs as the opening act at the concerts, it would be a well-appreciated boost.

Lastly, the print media has to be true to the cause of Nazrul songs. Newspapers and magazines should give necessary exposure to both emerging and eminent Nazrul artistes.

Our National Poet should just not be visible in textbooks or reminded by a busy avenue named after him. He has to radiate in our souls, through our passion for his spirited songs and enlightening literature.

Fatema Tuz Zohra stepped into the world of music in 1963. She started taking lessons from Habibur Rahman Shathi and the tutelage continued till 1977. From then on she was trained by Mithun Dey. Fatema's rendition of the Nazrul Song "Ami Purob Desher Puro Naari" has wowed the audience for years. She fondly remembers how Legendary Nazrul artiste Feroza Begum taught her this song. Fatema intends to give it her all to the cause of making Nazrul songs appealing to this generation.