Not long ago…
I am into music since the age of six. At eight, my first album was released as a child star at Ekushe Boimela (book-fair). I t was called Pakihder Pathshala (Birds' School). I was a regular child singer at Bangladesh Television. At Bangladesh Institute of Broadcasting art (BIBA), I stood first in a five year course. Simultaneously, I took singing course at Shishu Acadmy, where too, I stood first. Later, I learned folk music from Chayanaut. I must say that music is my passion from childhood. Becoming a teenager, I began to move from classical music towards band music. I am also a self-taught guitar, flute and keyboard player. I played keyboard and flute for Nagar Baul, appeared as a guest flute player for Miles. Very soon, I began to play for all major bands. I also began to compose music for others. I composed music for a hugely popular duet album by James and Hasan, named Khelaram Khele Ja. Later, I was in USA for audio composition visual broadcast training. I was also at Singapore and London doing short musical courses.
Call of the tube
I went to ATN to play music. By then, with my band, Fortune, I performed five music videos. To be blunt, the videos were not of my taste. I went straight to the chairman to tell my dissatisfaction. He asked me, “Could you do it better”? My immediate answer was “YES”. That was the initiation of my venture into visual media. At one point Ringo Bhai, Zubayer Bhai and I were the only three were producing tasteful music videos. It was another turning point – I got myself involved into two new field of music: visual direction and music composition. Audio visual became my new interest yet music was never off my mind. Very soon, I realized that music video requires a lot of things; things that are expensive. And no one funds music sector. Large scale music is not possible in Bangladesh because it doesn't bring revenue as it does from news programmes or reality shows. Soon, I began to ponder of having my own TV channel.
Cash for a dream
I had to postpone music for a while. I delved into business for my dream to true. I should call myself lucky and be grateful to Allah that any business I did clicked; I was successful on what I did. During that period, I became Managing Director of ATN events. I was in charge of organizing rally, fireworks and musical shows in 90 locations simultaneously. It was for cricket work cup. I also organized Tri-nation Big Show; cultural with celebrities of the three host countries: Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Some praise me that the fireworks were better than the one held at main venue. My dedication brought me other opportunities too. I organized NCL for Bangladesh Cricket Board and Bankers' T20 cricket incorporating cultural events. Whatever I did, I tried to incorporate culture. All my business ventures were needed to fulfill my dream.
After all the work, I wanted freedom – wanted something of my taste and wanted to bring something new to music industry, giving it a glorious look. So, I quit ATN and moved towards establishing my own channel. My plan was to have it done in six months – which is not feasible, now I know. Rather than starting a channel from scratch, I wanted a channel with most of the paper works done. My search was relentless – fortunately, I stumbled into Gaanbangla, a channel with all bureaucratic hassles done with yet not able to proceed for various reasons. Gaanbangla was looking for partners. I snatched the opportunity; I made a deal with them on my first meeting.
Hiccups in dream
I didn't know that TV channel license can't be bought and sold. I ended up working more to acquire the license than starting a new channel. I needed NOC (Non Objection Certificate) from SB (Special Branch) permission, NSI permission, DGFI, Bangladesh Bank, NBR, Anti-corruption unit, Home Ministry, Information Ministry, Cultural Ministry, Prime Minister Office... As a young entrepreneur, I am tried to learn and honour the system. It took me fifteen months to get everything right, and not to leave any loophole. We all know what happens to TV channels when regime changes. Setting up the channel took time. We communicated technical suggestion with MTV, VH1, Channel V, MTunes, 9XM and acquired the best broadcasting equipment from USA. Inshallah! Gaanbangla will be on-air on the great day of independence, 16 December.
Radio star will be alive and well
Some suggested that MTV killed pure music. I wholeheartedly disagree! I think, technology is here to stay. Music video is part of that technology. What matters is that how I am presenting the music. Music video is symbolic way to represent song; it will only enrich the music industry.
Caught between too many choices
It seems that there are too many channels. I don't see it as a problem. I myself want to run at least seven channels. Growth is not harmful. The more than channels the better. It would be even better if there are more music channels.
Problem occurs if license goes to wrong hands. Banorer haate lathi (monkey with a stick) is wrong, Shikhkhoker er haate lathi (teacher with a stick) is good.
Dreams on clouds
This music channel is just a small part of the dream. I want to make a musical stadium, only for concerts. World renowned artistes will come to perform in that stadium. There is no proper venue for concerts in Bangladesh. Gaanbangla channel will be there to show the music. Now, we need a stadium for public performances. I have even a grandeur idea which I am not ready to reveal.
Photo & Interview: Zia Nazmul Islam
What to expect from GB
Quality and world-standard music videos.
Gaanbangla will be like a quality control screen.
No matter what the pay, all commercials will be scrutinized
Commercials will not be annoying; we are here to entertain.
“Non-stop Bangladeshi music blended with fashion” means original music with the best presentation. Songs remain the same but packaging and presentation will change to bring glamour.
First year, Gaanbangla will screen both outsourced and in-house programmes. Later, all programmes will be done in-house productions.
To increase TRP (Television Rating Point), we may also start reality show.
Gaanbangla will be platform for young talents who lack opportunity.
Gaanbangla will not be genre discriminatory.
We will find depth of music from any source and present it in a fashionable way.
For further information log on to www.jaagobd.com & www.gaanbangla.tv
Technically speaking, I am an entrepreneur. But music is in my heart.
I have watched more than 1,500 local music videos and found only 30/40 to be satisfactory.
With all the paper work, my music practice has been under the pillow for a while.
Right now, I want other artists sing their hearts out without any earthly hassle – I will take care of that.
I am happy that a music channel has come to a musician.
Excellent! Bangladesh music scene. We can be musical powerhouse of the world.
Media plays an important role. Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendra is a proof of that.
Songs of war of independence still give me Goosebumps.
We will present music in glamorous way. It means where the singer is standing, artiste's costume, set design and makeup. Music must be packaged with glamour.
Farzana Munny, my wife, is an internationally trained beautician and fashion designer. She is handling the fashion elements. I feel lucky to have a like-minded partner