Vol. 5 Num 532 Fri. November 25, 2005  

Alam Khan
The mellifluous composer

The evergreen song Orey neel dorya is an all-time favourite of music lovers. The song from the soundtrack of the popular film Shareng Bou, made in the 70s, became a classic. Three decades later, it doesn’t seem to have lost its appeal. The credit for the melodious song goes to composer Alam Khan, a noted music director of the golden era of our cinema.

Alam has fond memories of those moments in time. As he says, "We recorded the song in Ipsha studio in Kakrail. There were about 20 instrumentalists playing for the song. Abdul Jabbar lent his vocals. It was a live recording, not track recording like we usually have today. The arrangement was extensive, considering that period. My emphasis was on rhythm and there were 12 artistes in that section. Each one played the music so skilfully that the recording was okayed in one take."

Veteran music composer Alam became acquainted with tunes while still a child. He reminisces, "When I was a kid, I had a neighbour named Robin who had an orchestra. I used to go to his house and loved to listen to them playing Hawaiian guitar, banjo, tabla and xylophone. I used to get carried away by the music. I think that is the genesis of my love for music." He continued to take tips on music from his neighbour, until he realised that learning music needed systematic training. Subsequently, to learn the basics of classical music, he began to take music lessons from Nani Chattyapadhyay. Later, he had another mentor named Karim Shahabuddin who gave him lessons in modern music.

His first popular song was rendered by Rowshan Ara Mustafiz in the late 60s. The song was a modern track titled O Madhobi go thako mor antorey. Soon in 1970 he received an offer to compose music for a film from Abdul Jabbar Khan, the director of the first Bangla feature film Mukh O Mukhosh. The film was Kanch Kata Hira, for which Alam composed the songs Jal taranga mon amar and Aj noy kal, kal noy porshu. And through these songs Alam soon became a sought after name in the music arena.

His other well-known tracks are Hayrey manush rangin fanush, Ki jadu korila, Dak diyachhen doyal amarey, Tablar dherey ketey tak, Ki shur poth, Hiramoti hiramoti and many more. He received the National Film Award five times in 1982, 1985, 1987, 1992 and 1999 for his brilliant compositions in films like Baro Bhalo Lok Chhilo, Tin Konya, Surrender and Dinkal. Among many other awards he has won the Bangladesh Cine Journalists Association Award three times over.

Alam continues to hold the attention of music fans with his lilting compositions.

Alam Khan