Vol. 5 Num 849 Sat. October 14, 2006  

Sheikh Sadi Khan
Profile of a music composer

Prominent film music composer Sheikh Sadi Khan's musical works have numerous fans. Among his evergreen compositions are Amar duti chokh, Prithibitey prem boley kichhu nei, Dakey pakhi kholo ankhi, Kal shararat chhilo swaponero raat and many more.

Born to a family with rich musical heritage, Sheikh Sadi Khan began his career under the tutelage of his father Ustad Ayat Ali Khan. Later he gained expertise as a violinist from his elder brother Ustad Bahadur Hossain Khan. Then he joined the then Pakistan Radio in 1965. "I had expertise in classical violin. After joining the radio, I learnt to apply my knowledge in classical music to commercial tunes," said Sheikh Sadi Khan.

Three years later, he resigned from the radio and joined television. Sheikh Sadi Khan said that working with music exponents such as Raja Hossain Khan, Ustad Abed Hossain Khan, Mobarak Hossain Khan, Ustad Khadem Hossain Khan, Swapan Kumar Saha, Robin Ghosh, Hemayetuddin and Monsur Ali on TV enhanced his experience in the field and enriched his musical sensibility, especially in case of fusing classical music with the contemporary trends.

When the Liberation War of Bangladesh broke out in 1971, like many artistes, he left the motherland, migrated to Kolkata and worked for Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the radio station that made enormous contributions during the Liberation War. After Independence, Sheikh Sadi Khan joined Bangladesh Betar.

In the early '70s the composer worked as an assistant to the renowned film music composer, Khondokar Nurul Alam. At the same time he continued playing the violin in films as well as composing music for Bangladesh Betar. According to him, "In 1977 I got nationwide recognition as a music composer. And, I received an offer to compose music for the film Ekhoni Samay (1980) directed by Abdullah Al Mamun."

All three songs of the film - Jibon maney jontrona rendered by Sabina Yasmin, Ekta dolna jodi kachhe petam rendered by Abida Sultana and Ami razzak hoilam na sung by Pranob Ghosh became popular. Since then he has composed music for hundreds of movies.

Many local and Indian singers including Asha Bhosle, Kumar Shanu, Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin and others have rendered songs composed by Sheikh Sadi Khan. Moreover, many renowned singers of the country won recognition through singing songs composed by him.

But, in the early 1990s he gave up composing music for the cinema. He said, "In the 1990s the film industry deteriorated to such a level that it became difficult for me and my peers to work. Anyone, blindly imitating music of the Indian film industry, could become a music director. Even the producers and directors of the movies motivated the music directors to plagiarise Hindi movie songs, which was unacceptable to me. That's why I gave up composing music for films. But, the situation is better now; that's why I've made a come back."

He has worked in all of the mediums -- cinema, music albums, radio and TV. Of all these mediums, he enjoys composing music for the radio the most. To quote Sheikh Sadi, "On the radio, I get maximum freedom. Moreover, as there are many quality instrument players who work as staff artistes here I can experiment more by involving them."

Currently, Sheikh Sadi Khan is the chief music producer of Bangladesh Betar. As a professional of radio he is not satisfied. He said, "Staff artistes of Bangladesh Betar don't get any pension, as they are not absorbed by the revenue budget. However, artistes with the same status on BTV get this facility. Although on several occasions we've appealed to the Ministry of Information, so far no positive initiative has been taken."

Sheikh Sadi Khan is a three-time winner of BACHSAS Best Music Composer Award.

Sheikh Sadi Khan