Lifetime Achievement In Music
Khandker Nurul Alam
A music director is the architect of a song. Khandker Nurul Alam, one of those architects, for decades has been dowsing music lovers of Bangladesh with his mesmerizing rhythm. A man of multiple talents, he is a music director with the ability to sing, and a 'listed lyricist' of Bangladesh Betar. He has been involved with Bangladesh Radio from its inception. He is a veteran for music in more than 26 films.
The second son of Nesar Uddin and Fatema Khatun, Khandker Nurul Alam was born 17th August, 1936. Born in Goalpara district, he grew up in Gosaigaon area, Assam. His home, surrounded by vast serene greenery made him a child of nature. Not far away was the village of a Shaotal tribe. Listening to their songs, flute, watching their festivals and bird hunting was his child childplay
The sound of Shaotali music and flute moved his young mind. Blessed with a cultural family, he loved watching his father acting in plays and his uncle playing Banjo while singing. He would sing along too. Watching movies and carefully listening to the songs was his favorite pass-time. He could memorize and sing the songs just by listening to them once or twice. The first prize he ever received was by delivering a Hamd at school.
Khandker Nurul Alam got his Matriculation Certificate with merit from Noakhali Zilla School in 1954. Then he came to Dhaka and passed his Intermidiate from Jagannath College. Again he was in the merit list. During this time his passion for music blossomed. In 1957, he became a student of philosophy at Dhaka University and gained honors and a masters degree. He was a regular singer at different university cultural programs. Jibon Nodir Joar Vata from Agniporikkha was his first movie song he gave voice to. His fascination of music direction started from here. His first direction was a song by Dr. Md.Nuruzzaman.
He remembers that it was forbidden to keep any musical instruments in hostel rooms. But his love for music made him hide his harmonium with blankets and bribe the hostel guard.
In 1959, he conducted a music program in a radio program about new artists called nobomonjury. Later, he was involved in several music programs for children, where Sabina Yasmin, Shahnaz Rahmatullah, Sadia Mahbub and many more famous singers used to sing as child artists. In 1960, he joined the famous Gramophone Company, “His Master’s Voice” as a music director. During this time many records were released by renowned singers under his direction.
He was a regular performer of Bangladesh Television from its inception in 1964. He was the producer of the famous 'Surbitan' show in which Dr. Md. Moniruzzaman was the lyricist. In 1968 he joined Bangladesh Betar as a part time music director.
It didn't take him long to appear in the film industry. Urdu movie 'Iss Dharti Parr' was his first music direction. Bangla films like 'Antaranga' and 'Je Agune Puri' became an instant hit because of its songs. 'Chokh Je Moner Kotha bole' is considered a golden classic from 'Je Agune Puri'. The song, still popular today, was the highest selling HMV album for three years in a row.
Like many Bangladeshis, the liberation war of 1971, came as a huge blow to him. He lost his beloved younger brother Captain Huda to the enemy. He stopped working for quite some time after the Independence. The movie, ‘Ora Egarojon’ was his first music direction after the Liberation. Later, he directed music for Songram, Jolchobi and Jobontrishna.
He got married to Kishwar Sultana of Chittagong in 1976. Daughter, Amani Khandker was born in 1978 and son Abir Khandker in 1983. He permanently joined Transcription service as a music directior in 1981. He also directed music for movies such as Devdas, Chandranath, Suvoda, Birajbou, Borohobetha, etc. His last work directing film for music was 'Shankhanil Karagere'. He gradually moved away from the industry because of instability.
He received the Ekushe award in 2008. He also received Jatya Cholochitra award for in 1984, 1986 and 1991. He also received Bangladesh Chalachitra Shangbadik Shamity award in 1982, 1984 and 1986 for the movies Devdas, Chondranath, Shuvoada respectively. In 1991, he received Chalachitra Projojok Samity award for Padma Meghna Jamuna. Shilpakola Academi awarded him the “Gunijon” in 2000.
Because of an artist like Khandker Nurul Alam, our music is so rich. His creations will move our artistic senses for decades to come.
Translated by Zia Nazmul Islam
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