Kumar Bishwajit on DS Café | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 08, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 08, 2010

Kumar Bishwajit on DS Café


Kumar Bishwajit was the celebrity guest at last week's DS Café. The popular artiste just had time to take his seat in the nick of time before the calls started to come in from his fans. Excerpts:
Mahbubur Rahman Khan, B. Baria: How are you? Is “Torey Putuler Moto Korey Shajiye” your debut song? Any new songs in the offing? Why do you avoid Fobana?
Kumar Bishwajit:
I am quite well. Thanks for calling. That song was not my debut track but rather my 'debut hit'. My first track was a chorus. “Torey Putuler Moto Korey Shajiye” was recorded in 1981. I plan to remake my previous songs for the new generation. Singing is my only profession. I avoid Fobana as it has not lived up to its expectation.
The Daily Star (TDS): How did you step into the world of music?
Kumar Bishwajit:
That is an interesting story. My mother would sing, while a music teacher was assigned for my sister. I couldn't go in for music classes as I was just five or six years then. So while the teacher trained my sister, I closely observed them from a distance.
After the teacher had left, I would play the song on the harmonium. When my brother learnt about it, I began to receive formal lessons. Besides, I was reared in a cultural atmosphere at Sitakundo, Chittagong where Vaisnavas (religious devotees), still sing for alms and wake the inhabitants. I woke up with their rendition. Kirtan, a hymn, is still rendered in our temple.
Aside from my sisters and uncles, my mother would play me the songs of Anuradha, Manna Dey, Hemanto Mukhopadhyay, Shyamal Mitra, Pintu Bhattacharya. This is how, I developed a fascination for music.
Ayesha Khan, Dhan-mondi: How did you enter the media world?
Kumar Bishwajit:
As a student of class seven, I participated in an inter-district school competition on music. Mr. Taher, the then RD of Chittagong Radio, introduced me on a radio programme for young artistes. Finding my vocals mature, they included me in another programme, Nabokallol.
Ayub Bachchu, Miki Mannan, Pilu Khan and I formed a band in 1977 and we would practice regularly. Later, we decided to go to Dhaka with compositions by Nakib Khan. We stayed at Lucky Akhand's residence.
In the meantime, the studio Sheulimala was inaugurated where I recorded the song “Torey Putuler Moto Korey Shajiye.” I didn't look back after the song went on air on TV.
Fayez, Mohammadpur, Dhaka: You were initially associated with the band Souls. Can you tell me about this phase?
Kumar Bishwajit:
I was not involved with Souls for very long. We had a band of our own named Feelings. I was a founding member of the band, which I had named. Later, James and others used the name. I was not seriously involved with Souls. I would fill in for Tapan Chowdhury and Nakib Khan if they were temporarily unavailable.
Raina Islam, Eskaton Garden: What according to you are the five important qualities of a singer?
Kumar Bishwajit:
There is a difference between stage and TV performers. As an accomplished artiste, I would mention god gifted vocals, practice and diligence, humility, listening to lots of music, along with meeting the demands of time and presentation where expression, emotion and trendy dress-up is basic.
TDS: Tell us about the merits and demerits of the talent hunts?
Kumar Bishwajit:
Once I told my friend Asif Iqbal that foreign channels are destroying us. If corporate houses can do anything for music, it would be good. Anyway, our first and foremost mission was to know our roots, to awaken the conscience of patriotism, and to create a new generation in the arena of music.
Now, it appears that products of the sponsor and TRP of the channels are getting augmented through talent hunts. This is why I have kept myself aloof from them.
Shah Alam, Dhaka: You have sung with artistes of four generations. Your latest co-artiste is Nancy. How do you evaluate that?
Kumar Bishwajit:
Three generations indeed. Sabina Yasmin and Runa Laila were in the first generation while Samina Chowdhury and Kanak Chanpa belong to the second. I don't know whether Abida Sultana's time is a generation or not. Kona and Nancy epitomise the third generation. Not only that, I worked with Subal Das and his son, Satya Saha and his son Emon Saha; Alauddin Ali, Taher bhai and more. I also worked with Shawkat Ali Emon. It is truly a great achievement that I have worked with so many artistes from different eras.
Osman Jahan, Mirpur, Dhaka : Where did you spend your childhood? Who was your mentor?
Kumar Bishwajit:
My childhood was spent at Sitakunda, Chittagong where you find hills on one side and the sea on the other. Then I was admitted to Fouzdarhat Cadet College and studied for five months. According to the rules of Cadet College , I had to join army. As I am the only son of my parents, the idea did not appeal to them.
For me, learning music is not enough. Nor can you master the art only under a Guru. Primarily you need a gifted voice to qualify as an artiste.
Sagor Chowdhury, Sylhet: How important is learning classical music for people who are into music now? Would you care to listen to one of my compositions?
Kumar Bishwajit:
If a driver of a vehicle knows the path to his destination, he can reach there easily, whereas a person who does not know this will definitely face hurdles to reach there. As for your song, you sing well no doubt. Keep it up!
Waheed, Bailey Road, Dhaka: You have sung duets with several artistes. Who is your favourite co-artiste?
Kumar Bishwajit:
It would be better if I spoke to you in private. Otherwise, others may be livid. Co-artistes should match well. However, all are equally good to me. Yet I love to render duets with Samina Chowdhury. I do not intend to hurt anyone, it is just my personal not professional view.

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