It was an august gathering of Bangladeshi music legends -- Abdul Jabbar, Syed Abdul Hadi, Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin, Subir Nandi, Samina Chowdhury and Rumana Islam. HSBC, Bangladesh, brought these greats on the same stage at Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel on May 9.
The presence of late music legends, including Khan Ataur Rahman, Bashir Ahmed and Satya Saha, seemed to hover above us. Music connoisseurs and culture enthusiasts packed the hall to revisit the evergreen film songs of yesteryears by the living legends.The event was titled as “Din Jaye Kotha Thakey: Bangla Chalachchitrer Harano Din-er Sonali Sur”. Delivering a warm welcome was Corporate Banking Head of HSBC Mahbub-ur-Rahman. “The melodies of Bengali film songs make us nostalgic. We pay homage to the creators and singers of the songs. The programme aims to revisit those melodies,” he said.
The emcee duo was Afzal Hossain and Shampa Reza. Following the national anthem, the title of the event and the featured artistes flashed on the screen. Prior to that, a visual presentation on the life and works of the recently deceased singer Bashir Ahmed was screened. A minute's silence was observed in his memory.
Subir Nandi first came on stage and performed the title song of the film “Din Jaye Katha Thakey”. Legendary musician and actor Khan Ataur Rahman's creation took us back to yesteryears. Around 20 renowned instrumentalists accompanied the several hour long musical voyage. The performance of the song “Hajar Moner Kachhey Proshno Rekhe” followed. The audience well received Subir Nandi's improvisational presentation of the song “Bondhu Hotey Cheye Tomar,” penned and composed by Md. Rafiquzzaman and Satya Saha respectively. Subir Nandi also shared his memories of Khan Ata and quoted him as saying, “If you want to sing, you have to portray picture with melody.”
Khan Ataur Rahman's daughter Rumana Islam next offered a musical homage to her father. The artiste passionately presented two songs, “Mayer Moto Apon Keho Nai” and “Hairey Amar Mon Matano Desh”, penned by her father.
Syed Abdul Hadi rendered two songs, “Chokher Nojor Emni Koira” and “Achhen Amar Moktar”, both songs penned and composed by Gazi Mazharul Anwar and Alauddin Ali respectively. “Alauddin Ali mingled folk tunes with adhunik melody in composing several of his unique pieces that gave a new direction to Bengali film songs,” said Hadi. The singer's voice remains powerful enough to convince listeners of how great a presence he has been in the world of Bengali music. People yet recall, among his many well-known numbers, the spiritual song, “Doyal Tor Bhoroshae Amar Buuk Baindha Ei Majh Doriyar Pantho Paane Nao Bhashai.”
Samina Chowdhury performed her first recorded film song “Ekbar Jadi Keu Bhalobashto” (Jonmo Theke Jolchhi) and later performed a Shahnaz Rahmatullah classic “Parina Bhule Jetey”. It was rather surprising, though, that despite the expectations of the audience she did not sing any of the famous numbers from her late illustrious father Mahmudunnabi.
Sabina Yasmin diffused her sweet melody in performing the song “Ami Rajani Gandha Phuler Moto.” The diva's repertoire included “Ashru Diye Lekha,” “Ei Mon Tomake Dilam,” “Shudhu Gaan Geye Porichoy”, “Eki Sonar Aloy” and “Isharaye Shish Diye” from the hit films “Ashru Diye Lekha,” “Manoshi,” “Obujh Mon,” “Moner Moto Bou” and “Bondini.” Sabina Yasmin's impeccable diction and masterful vocals captivated the audience.
Legendary singer Abdul Jabbar, who sparked the spirit of Freedom Fighters in 1971 through his timeless songs “Salam Salam Hajar Salam” and “Sharhe Shaat Koti Manusher Aaj Ekti Naam Mujibor Mujibor Mujibor”, took the stage and thanked the organisers for the initiative. His sonorous voice beginning the fabulous song “Orey Neel Doria” of the film “Sareng Bou” triggered a loud applause. His next offering was a romantic song “Mon Rekhechhi Ami” from the film “Epar Opar”. Abdul Jabbar also shared that he was sentenced to a 14 -year jail term as he satirically rendered the song “Tumi Ki Dekhechho Kobhu Ayub-er Porajoy.”
And last but not the least, diva Runa Laila came on stage and performed her first recorded Bengali film song “Gaan-er-i Khatar Swaralipi Likhey.” She performed ten songs from the films -- “The Rain,” “Manoshi”, “Jadur Banshi,” “Love in Shimla,” “Shilpi,” “Apon Bhai” and “Norom Gorom.”
Initially, the audience seemed to savour the sweetness of her melody, but later; the vocal queen danced to her own presentations and swayed the audience as well. Her repertoire included “Eka Eka Keno Bhalo Lagena,” “Shilpi Ami Tomader-i Gaan Shonabo”, “Barir Manush Koy”, “Ei Brishti Bheja Raat-e” and “Bondhu Tindin”. At the end, Runa Laila welcomed noted composer Alauddin Ali on stage to share his reactions. It was an evocative musical flight where both the artistes and the audience shared pure entertainment and visited nostalgia.