Vol. 5 Num 630 Tue. March 07, 2006  

Sachin Dev Burman
A tribute to the maestro

"SOMETHING of an acquired taste, then an addiction..." That's how I remember a friend describe Sachin Dev Burman. Bespectacled, in white dhoti and panjabi, SD Burman was probably an "addiction" to millions through his unmatched renditions of romantic and classical songs.

Once you are past the playfulness in his voice, the dry sarcasm in the lyrics, it's almost impossible to miss the mastery with which he would sing the most difficult notes in an almost dismissive tone -- the hallmark style of one of the great maestros of Bangla music.

SD Burman was born to wealth with the world at his feet. But so over powering was his passion for music that he turned away from all the worldly riches, to follow his dream.

After graduating from Victoria College in Comilla, Burman set off for Kolkata in 1924 to continue his studies. There he resided at the Tripura Palace at Ballygunj road and earned a Master's degree from Kolkata University. His father at that point wanted Burman to go to England to study at the Bar. But after his father's death, Burman found it impossible to see himself in the legal profession when he knew his heart lay elsewhere.

Soon he began to mingle with the prestigious mehfils in Kolkata and train under eminent Ustads such as Badal Kha, Bhiswadev Chatterji, KC De, Alauddin Khan, Abdul Karim Khan and Fayaz Khan. He made the blend of Bangla folk songs his specialty, particularly bhatiali songs with the thumri--light classical music of North India.

He also started to perform at Kolkata radio and recorded songs for HMV and other renowned companies. His songs Alo Chhaya Doley in raga Bahar in drut ektal, Prem Jomunari Parey, in Bhairavi, Modhu Brindabone Doley Radha, in Gandhari Toree were a few of his earliest compositions. Later he created ripples in Bollywood as well.

The artistes of Surma, an organisation comprising students of the Dhaka University gathered together to pay rich tributes to the maestro, on his upcoming birth centennial to be celebrated in October 1 this year. The event titled Se Je Dakatia Bansi, was held at the Nat Mandol auditorium.

Eminent personalities AMA Muhith, chief patron of the organisation, Professor Mustafa Nurul Islam, noted singer Mustafa Zaman Abbasi, Neeraj Sinha, first secretary, Counselor of the Indian High Commission, and Professor Mridul Kanti Chakravarty, president of the organisation paid rich tributes before the musical soiree. Islam reminisced on how he had first heard the young Sachin Dev in a musical soiree at Mymen-singh, where he presented Kuhu Kuhu Koyelia and Tumi Je Giyacho. Eloquent speaker, singer Mustafa Zaman Abbasi shared memories of his meeting with Sachin Dev in Mumbai, shortly after our Independence War.

Sinha elaborated on the lyrical and varied compositions of the maestro.

The upcoming artistes of Surma, then presented 14 timeless songs such as Takdum Takdum Bajai Bangladesher Dhol, Chok Gelo Pakihirey a Nazrul composition popularised by Sachin Dev, Shono Go Dokhin Hawa, Padmar Dheu re, an immensely popular Nazrul song and Rongila Rongila Re.

No matter what songs Sachin Dev chose to sing, his style was unique. Like a painter, he would lazily put a brush stroke here and a maddeningly intense stroke there--- his songs an unmatched blend of emotions. What he left his audience with was a collection of masterpieces to cherish and, quoting my friend once more, an experience that needs to be lived and re-lived in a never ending cycle.

Artistes of Surma presenting timeless songs of SD Burman. PHOTO: STAR