Manas Kumar Das has been a Nazrul Sangeet exponent on radio and television for over three decades. Born in a music-oriented family, Manas was initiated into music at a young age. The passionate Nazrul singer talked about the nuances of Nazrul Sangeet in a recent conversation with The Daily Star.
“The diversity of Nazrul's compositions is amazing and his lyrics are a wonder. He composed khayal, kirton, shyama sangeet and his compositions centre on ragas. Nazrul believed in making a break with tradition,” said Manas.
“I have been an admirer of Nazrul from my childhood. My father Ustad Suren Das was a disciple of Pandit Girija Shankar Chakrobarhty and my sister Aloka Das was a renowned classical singer. I chose Nazrul because of the depth of his lyrics and its distinct tunes. Though not modern songs, they can be rendered like modern songs,” he added.
Nazrul also used modern intonations in his songs. He wrote songs for only a short period, but created diverse songs and lyrics, pointed out Manas.
Manas also shed light on Nazrul and his contemporary singers, saying, “Atul Prasad, DL Roy, Rajanikanta Sen used to follow similar forms. They were tremendously influenced by Rabindranath. But Nazrul is distinct in his style; he did not belong to any particular school.”
Manas released his first album under Abid Hossain Khan's music direction. He also released an LP in 1985 along with nine other singers. Now another solo album is in the offing.
Asked how Bangla songs can be popularised, he said “Singers must be dedicated to their art. But nowadays many singers do not practice music with dedication; rather they work hastily to put an album together."