To celebrate the shared legacy of Bangla Music, a three-day (January 4-6) Bangla Utshab, opened yesterday at Nazrul Mancha, Rabindra Sarobar in Kolkata, India. Eminent educationalist and National Professor Anisuzzaman inaugurated the festival as chief guest. Bangladeshi and Kolkata-based renowned and promising singers together with popular bands are performing at the festival, themed, Dui Bangla: Seemana Bhule, Ek Sur-e.
Bengal Foundation, Bandhan Bank, The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and Nothing Beyond Cinema are the organisers of the event.
Eminent singers Sabina Yasmin (Bangladesh) and Arati Mukherjee (India) were honoured at the event with the Jibon Kriti Samman (Lifetime Achievement Awards) for their tremendous contribution to Bangla music.
Sabina Yasmin is a household name in Bangladesh. Renowned for her patriotic songs as well as her playbacks for Bangladeshi films, her appeal as an iconic singer extends far and beyond borders.
Sabina Yasmin's recording of Amar Shonar Bangla in the film Jibon Theke Neya, went on to become Bangladesh's National Anthem. Even before that, the song was on everybody's lips and reached iconic status prior to our independence in 1971.
A living legend who gave a new dimension to the music of the Bangladeshi film industry, Sabina Yasmin received the National Film Award 13 times alongside many other national and international awards. The artiste has so far recorded more than 10,000 songs and collaborated with noted Indian singers R D Burman and Kishore Kumar.
She also received the Shadhinota Padak, Ekushey Padak, and Best Playback Singer Award by Bengal Film Journalist' Association, India, as deserved recognition for her illustrious career.
On the other hand, Arati Mukherjee is a famous Indian playback singer, who has won numerous awards and achievements throughout her career. She was initiated into music at an early age by her mother. Her melodious voice and abundant musical talent were honed under the tutelage of Susheel Banerjee, Ustaad Mohammed Sagiruddin Khan, Pandit Chinmoy Lahiri, Pandit Laxman Prasad Jaipurwale and Pandit Ramesh Nadkarni, who helped her develop a wide repertoire of light as well as classical music.
Arati has mesmerised audiences with numerous recorded songs as well as versatile live performances on television and stage. She has recorded film songs in Bengali, Oriya, Manipuri, Assamese, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and other languages. She was first awarded the prestigious Bengal Film Journalists Association Award in 1965 for Best Female Singer and went on to receive it several times over the following years. Among other reputed awards and titles, she received the Miyan Tansen award of Sur Singar Samsad for her songs in the film, Geet Gata Chal and the Gujarat State Government Awards for three consecutive years for her Gujarati film songs. She bagged a Filmfare Award for her song in the film, Masoom. She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Orissa Government in 2015 and from Times of India Group in 2016.