Tribute to Kamal Das Gupta-Immortality through music

God gives gifts to man but only a few of us do justice to it. Kamal Das Gupta was such a rare personality, who made the best use of his talents as a music composer, director and exponent.

And through his flamboyant career, he took Bangla music to a different height of popularity. An astonishing 8000 songs of different genres have immortalised his name and made him one of the most influential music maestros in the Indian subcontinent.

The country’s leading singers paid a tribute to Kamal Das Gupta at a commemorative meeting held on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary at the National Theatre Main Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Saturday evening.

Arranged by Kamal Das Gupta Foundation, the two-fold programme threw light on the life and works of the legendry musician and took the audience back to the eternal peace of yesteryear Bangla melodies as celebrated singers like Syed Abdul Hadi, Shakila Zafar, Fatema Tuz Zohra, Subir Nandi, Ferdous Ara and others rendered a few songs of Kamal Das Gupta.

Cultural personality Mohammad Asaf-ud-Daula, in his key-note speech, gave a glimpse of Kamal Das Gupta’s life and works. He said, “In today’s context it is difficult to discover a music maestro like Kamal Das Gupta. For his immense contributions to contemporary Bangla music and Nazrul Sangeet, the name of Kamal Das Gupta will never fall into oblivion from the hearts of music-aficionados.

A total of 8000 songs to his credit, of which 400 are Nazrul Sangeet, and the rest are based on various styles such as Geet and Meera Bhajan; Kabir Bhajan in Hindi; Urdu Naat; Thumri and Ghazals—Kamal Das’ repute is incomparable.”

Legendry Nazrul Sangeet singer Feroza Begum, also widow of Kamal Das Gupta said, “During 1930s to 50s it was like a proverb in the music arena which goes like this ‘no matter where and how much you try, in the end you will have to go to Kamal Das Gupta to find success’. My dream is to protect, promote and preach his works for the future generations. I think, programmes like today will certainly serve the purpose.”

The discussion was followed by a soulful soiree of Kamal Das Gupta’s musical majesty. Veteran contemporary singer Syed Abdul Hadi was the first to take the stage. Through his solo renditions like “Prithibi amare chay” and “Tumi ki ekhon dekhichho swapan”, Hadi created an ambiance of eternal melody.

Evergreen singer Shakila Zafar rendered two songs including “Ami bonophul go” and “Tufan megh” and earned thunderous applauses from the audience.

Youngest son of Kamal Das Gupta, Shafin Ahmed, also a very popular band singer rendered two of his father’s songs including “Eshechhilo modhu jamini” and “Konthe amar nishi din gaan”.

Renowned singers Ferdous Ara, Subir Nandi, Asaf-ud-Daula also performed on the occasion.

The programme came to end with two songs from renowned Nazrul Sangeet singer Firoza Begum who rendered “Shotek borosh pore” and “Ei ki go sesh daan”.

Born in Jessore, Kamal ventured into the world of music at a very early age under the guidance of his elder brother. In 1935, he joined the Gramophone Company of India as a music director. During his possession at HMV, he developed a close tie with poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and composed the music for almost 400 of his songs.

He composed the music for about 80 Bangla films including Pandit Moshai, Shesh Uttar, Sahadharmini, Jogajog, Bideshini, Nandita, Bhabikaal, Rangamati, Anuradha and Prarthana, among others. And, Hindi films include Jawab, Hospital, Rani, Arabian Nights, Bindiya, Krishan Leela, Phulwari and others.

Kamal Das Gupta, along with his family, shifted to Dhaka from Kolkata in 1967. In 1974, he breathed his last at the age of 62.