The Bengal Brigade Dominates the Bollywood Music Scene

The Bengal brigade dominates the Bollywood music scene

Sayanti Mitra13 Jan 2009

Music lover Sayanti Mitra goes gaga over the stronghold of Bengalis in Hindi film industry music department. There is no denying of the fact that the golden days of Kishore Kumar, Geeta Dutt, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Manna Dey are gone. But the legacy of Bengal's music and musicians has not ceased to influence the Bollywood. The rich inheritance of Bengal is nowadays being carried forward by composers like Pritam Chakraborty and Shantanu Moitra. Moreover, a good number of singers from Bengal are now the latest stars of Bolly Music – Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal, Abhijeet, Babul Supriyo to name a few.

Music lover Sayanti Mitra goes gaga over the stronghold of Bengalis in Hindi film industry music department

There is no denying of the fact that the golden days of Kishore Kumar, Geeta Dutt, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Manna Dey are gone. But the legacy of Bengals music and musicians has not ceased to influence the Bollywood. The rich inheritance of Bengal is nowadays being carried forward by composers like Pritam Chakraborty and Shantanu Moitra. Moreover, a good number of singers from Bengal are now the latest stars of Bolly Music - Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal, Abhijeet, Babul Supriyo to name a few.

The phenomenal success of Pritam as a composer reminds the days of Bappi Lahiri, who was quite famous in his time to belt out rocking chartbusters for most of his films. Pritam started his Bollywood career along with Jeet (Chandrajit Ganguly) by setting the score for “Tere Liye”. Next came the film “Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai” from Yash Raj Banner. But then he and Jeet parted ways and Jeet settled in Tollywood and scored the music for many hits like “I Love You” and “Premer Kahini”. In 2004 came the biggest turning point in Pritams life - “Dhoom”. The country rocked on the beat of “Dhoom Machale…” and Pritam had never looked back again and well-known directors approached with a numbers of good offers. In a quick succession came a bunch of films - Murder, Gangster, Woh Lamhe, Chocolate, Life In A Metro, Jab We Met, Jannat, Singh Is Kinng and Bhoolbhulaiya.

Another composer from Bengal, Shantanu Moitra has earned fame for the exquisite touch of melody in his numbers. His songs are life and soft but soul - stirring. He has set scores for many films -Parineeta, Yahaan, Laga Chunri Mein Daag, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Khoya Khoya Chand and has many more in the pipeline.

 Pritam, Madhushree, Shantanu Moitro and Rupam Matondkar Pritam, Madhushree, Shantanu Moitro and Rupam

Among the singers, first comes the name of Shaan or Shantanu Mukhopadhyay - belting out one hit after another. From “Hey Shona…” of “Ta Ra Rumpum” to “Jab Se Tere Naina…” of “Sawaariya”, from “Chand Sifarish…” of Fanaa to “Milo Na Milo” of “Love Story 2050”, he revs up every song with his signature style.

Shreya Ghoshal in one of the most important female has always kissed her feet. She came with her soulful renditions in Sayaa, Jism, Lage Raho MunnabhaiMain Hoon Na, Sawaariya, Jab We Met, Bhool Bhulaiyya, Omkara, Singh Is Kinng and Om Shanti Om.

There is veteran singer for Chalte Chalte, Gangster and other films. Babul Supriyo has created a niche for himself too with the title track of Hum Tum. Even Kishoredas son Amit Kumar who did playback for Tezaab and Tridev, has dared a comeback with “Dekha Tujhe To Yaar” of Apna Sapna Money Money and the title track of Bachna Ae Haseeno.

New faces from Bengal are also thronging the music floor of Bollywood. While Madhushree lent her voice for Kisna and Yuva songs, Monali Thakur struck a chord with “Zara Zara Touch Me of Race…” Rimita Mukherjee did playback for the film “Na Tum Jano Na Hum…”. Arnab Chakraborty did it for Khakee and Family, Raghav Chattopadhyay for Devdas, Tere Naam, Raincoat, Mr. Prime Minister. Soham Chakraborty for Metro. Miss Jojo for Khanna & Iyer, Love In Canada, Love Game and Singh Is Kinng.

The lead singers of Bengali Bands are also graduating from Rock Concerts to mainstream Bollywood. Bonnie Chakraborty, the one time lead singer of Bangla Band “Krosswindz” moves to Mumbai and almost immediately his song “Azeem O Shaan Shahenshah…”in Jodha Akbar became a scorching hit lucky while freelancing for the Tamil film industry when he got in touch with movie The Rising: Ballad Of Mangal Pandey. That is how the song “Rasiya…” happened. Bonnie has done previously done the background score for Bose: The Forgotten Hero. Bonnies career graph seems to have taken upward swing thereafter. He has sung a peppy song for Rakesh Omprakash Mehras Dilli 6, salted for audio release in late August. He will also be hitting high notes in Dev D, followed by more melodies in a UTV Production - Condition Apply.

Rupam Islam is another member of the Bangla Battalion making their voices heard in the Hindi Music Industry “Fossils” - frontman Rupam rendered the hit rack “Jannat Jahaan…” in Emraan Hashmi starrer Jannat. The song was such a phenomenal success that he was asked to turn out a Bengali version in double-quick time. He had earlier rejected offers to do Hindi playback twice for his commitment towards Fossils but now he is looking at Hindi music seriously. He is also singing for Bengali movies including Piyalir Password, Ichche and Sabdhan ! Pancha Asche.

Then there is Faruk Mahfuj Anam - popularly called James - who is Nagar Bauls man at mike and who has already made a name for himself with super hits like “Alvida…” In Life In A Metro, “Bheegi Bheegi…” in Gangster and “Chal Chaley…

There are other musical stars from Bengal too, waiting for their turn, like Siddhartha Ray - Sidhu, the lead singer of Cactus, and Lakshichharas lead Surojit Mukherjee.

Music director Pritam is in fact, the man behind the scenes responsible for taking the Bengali Band singer to Bollywood. He reckons that Rupam sounds like Steve Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, while James mixes rock with Bhatiali which gives him a different identity. Pritam has plans to work with Rupam and James stars are familiar faces of the Calcutta Music Circuit and have just begun their journey. They have miles to go yet.

But one thing is sure from the whole picture that star voices and composers of Bengal are all willing to join the Bollywood Bandwagon. And this young and fresh Bengal Brigade is governing the Bollywood music-scape.

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