Jayanta Chatterjee: Classic Tagore film songs

Jayanta Chatterjee - Classic film songs artwork
Jayanta Chatterjee – Classic Tagore film songs album artwork

Many of the songs written by Rabindranath Tagore were not widely known beyond members of the Brahmo Samaj and the Bengali intellectual circles. That changed in 1937, when they were introduced in Bengali cinema.

The first film to use Tagore songs in this way was Mukti. a film produced by New Theatres with Raichand Borhal as its music director. It had, among others, four songs written by Tagore. Three of them had tunes by Tagore. The tune for the fourth one, Dinair Sheshe, was created and sung by Pankaj Mullick.

The sudden popularity of Tagore songs encouraged Raichand Borhal to introduce more Tagore songs in their films. One film, Porichoy, with the Punjabi singer/actor Kundanlal Saigal and Kanon Devi, had 12 Tagore songs. The tradition of including Tagore songs has continued in Bengali films and television series to this day.

In this album, Jayanta Chatterjee presents some of the Tagore songs from Bengali films of the earlier era. They were the songs many of his generation grew up listening to.

Jayanta Chatterjee was originally awarded a diploma in Tagore songs (Rabindra Sangeet) after training for four years at Dakshinee, Kolkata in the 1950s. He was subsequently trained extensively by maestros such as Subinoy Roy, Subha Guha Thakurta and Kanika Banerjee. Before leaving India, he gave numerous recitals in and around Kolkata, Silchar and Shillong. He also performed in a Dakshinee production of Tagore’s Phalguni at the New Empire Theatre in Kolkata, as well as representing Dakhsinee in All India Radio programmes.

After settling in the UK, he continued his singing performances and founded the Bengali cultural organisation Prantik in 1976. For a number of years, he was on the panel of judges of London’s annual Bengali Song Contest. He was one of the principal singers in the feature film version of Tagore’s Shyama.

This was Jayanta Chatterjee’s second solo album. His long-standing singing teacher and friend, Subinoy Roy, supervised the recording.

Track listing:

1 Aami thomaay jawtho shuooniaichilaim gaan
2 Aamar raath pohaalo
3 Thomar beenay gaan chhilo
4 Praan chaai chokhhoo naa chai
5 Thaar beethai byalaar maalaakhaani
6 Aaj khyalaa bhangar khyalaa
7 Amar hridoy
8 Aaj shawbar rawngai rawng mishathai hawbai
9 Atho din jai boshaichhilaim
10 Ki paaini
11 Chawrono dhorithai