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It happened in 1982. Leading film actor Razzaque went to attend a cultural programme in Rajshahi. He was taken aback by a young a girl, singing at the event. He offered the girl an opportunity to do playback for his next movie, Talaaq. Overwhelmed, the girl agreed. And thus a successful career in playback was initiated and popular singer Rizia Parveen got her first break. So far the artiste has recorded over 800 songs, in films and music albums. Around 104 music albums featuring Parveen's songs are available in the market. The Daily Star recently talked to the artiste. Excerpts from the interview:

“My father late Md. Abdul Hasid had always wanted me to be a singer. My introduction to music happened at a very early age. Initially, I trained under my father. Eventually I took music lessons from Ustad Rabiul Hossain, Abdul Jabbar and Abdul Aziz Bachchu. I trained in classical music for about 12 years,” Parveen says.

Did she always feel passionately about music? “Not really. When I was a child, it used to irritate me when I had to do reyaaz while all my friends were playing outside. As I grew up, I came to understand the significance of reyaaz and now I'm thankful for it,” she says.

Is playback different from other styles of singing? “Definitely,” asserts the singer, “A playback singer must consider the character he/she is singing for and the background of that particular song, so that the emoting is apt. Sometimes there are some verbal expressions or laughter or wail in songs. One also has to take into account which actor/actress the song is featured on. I believe playback singing is more demanding and challenging.”

Which are her favourite songs? Parveen smilingly says, “I don't think I have recorded a song yet that has completely satisfied my artistic yearning. There are several songs that I admirer, like my first hit, Tumi amar chand from the film Chander Alo or another smash hit, Shobar jibone prem ashe from the film Bhangchur and many more. But I am still waiting for that song which I can call an 'achievement'.”

Is the current film music scenario inspiring for an artiste? “Recently it has developed, I think. The situation was utterly bleak at one point. There was a vacuum of quality songs; every other number was a substandard copy of some Hindi song. Unfortunately, I had to sing some of those songs, because playback is what I do, it's my profession. If I wasn't singing those songs, someone else would have. Fortunately, things have changed. There are quite a few talented music directors now and they are coming up with impressive, original compositions,” the singer says.

A recipient of BACHSAS Award, CJFP award and more, Parveen wants to continue singing as long as humanly possible. She fondly remembers a recent recording experience with the “numero uno” playback singer in Bangladeshi film industry, Sabina Yasmin. Parveen prays for Yasmin's recovery and hopes that the diva would be able to sing more. Rizia Parveen's forthcoming albums include Tumi Na Ami with acclaimed singer Subir Nandi, and another with promising young artiste Pratik Hasan, son of artiste Khalid Hasan Milu.

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