Remembering the Dream Maker
I had met Imran Ahmed Chowdhury, popularly known to all musicians as Mobin, during the Ampfest concerts that had taken place in Bangladesh in 2005. The alternative rock band Black was playing an unplugged at the Hotel Sonargaon along with the Pakistani band, Strings. Incidentally, Mobin was the Sound Engineer that night, supervising sound requirements for Black. I was mostly silent around him, keeping a respectful distance from a senior, established sound engineer and musician, looked up to by many in the music fraternity both in Bangladesh and Kolkata. I had heard and seen so much of his skills and all-worldly knowledge of music and sound equipment, that I figured it would be better to silently watch him at work rather than get involved in some kind of a conversation.
That's when he comes up to me and asks if I am old enough for his non-vegetarian jokes, which he would gladly share with me via SMS. "Don't look so stunned," he exclaims at my open-mouthed expression. "Everyone else is enjoying them. I wondered if you were interested." Truly enough, at the Green Room, the men as usual were laughing their guts out at something they were reading out on their cell phones, shared by their Mobin bhai. Mobin bhai's quip worked as an icebreaker for me and very soon I became a part of the gang guffawing over his silly jokes. That was the first and the very last day that I ever spoke to him. On April 20, 2005, a microbus, with Black, fellow musician Tanim and 36-year-old Mobin, headed home from a Djuice concert in Chittagong met with a fatal accident at 4:30 AM, where members of the band were critically injured and Mobin lost his life.
Mobin's musical and engineering talents became known to all in the late 80s. He worked with musicians from all the different streams, namely Miles, Feedback, Aurthothin, Cryptic Fate, LRB, James and many more. Mobin joined Sound Garden, a recoding studio in 1994 and eventually created a new dimension in the area of understanding sound and engineering in the country. He mixed albums like Charpotro, an album that introduced rock music and the existing rock bands as such in Bangladesh, namely Artcell and Black. He has been described by his fellow colleagues as extremely fun-loving, a dedicated sound engineer and an addabaj with a quirky sense of humour.
To date, many still remember Mobin, not only as an asset to the music industry in Bangladesh, but also a great friend. "Mobin brings back a flood of memories not all of it encouraging," says Maqsoodul Huq, whose albums Nishiddho, Ogo Bhalobasha (dHAKA), Bauliana, Deho Ghori of the then Feedback and the song Khuji Tomakey Khuji were mixed by Mobin. "I thought of writing something this year, but (I) think it would be a betrayal of the great faith he had on me first as a musician and secondly as an elder brother, who reasoned with him at all times. Some things I now reckon with, ought not to be spoken or written. Suffice to say he died an embittered man, thanks to all the band music politics. I may say only this -- you really can't keep a good man down -- but it is sad that he had to go back to the Maker this soon!"
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