Though it is usually the Bengali film industry which churns out song after song, being the bigger figure in terms of quantity, the first half of February seems to be dominated by independent Bengali releases.
Nishshongota – Arko Mukhaerjee
Loneliness – a concept much courted and felt these days by humans immersed in leading virtual lives – is the centrepiece of the song ‘Nishshongota’ by urban folk artiste Arko Mukhaerjee. A near tear jerker, the beautiful song is nuanced by the magical twinklings of an acoustic guitar over a ukulele, though the soundscape is distinctly un-Indian. The pace is slow, much like a never ending night of intoxication burdened with the longings of a past that we cannot go back to. The song reminisces of the gifts of former lovers and the heart wrenching spaces they now occupy, shedding light on the emptiness in our lives.
Bajaar – Neil Mukherjee
Twenty four years after he dabbled with Bengali compositions, Neil Mukherjee, the virtuoso guitarist and the backbone of the stellar lineup of Bengali band Krosswindz, is back with a set of fresh singles. Bajaar is his latest release – a fun track marrying the worlds of Latin rhythms and Bengali songwriting. While reflecting on the dualities of human nature and the challenges faced by us in day-to-day existence, the song fades out riding on the back of lip smacking guitar solo which instantly reminds one of Santana. It is so good that you never want it to end.
Udhaao – Durnibaar
Following in the tradition of tried-and-tested Bengali songwriting of heavy lyrical concepts driven by piano chords and dense soundscapes at the bridge, this moving song about escaping from our current struggles is a class act. Udhaao by Durnibar is full of feeling and emotion, especially in the vocal inflections and variations that he brings about near the end of the song. The surprising element, which undoubtedly lights up the track, is the arrangement furnished with sly guitar bends and a horn solo, making the track a modern Bengali song with a rhythm-and-blues makeover.
Shei Chena Rasta – Arko
Another Arko, though a composer turned singer, courts the theme of nostalgia and old love with the song ‘Shei Chena Rasta’, where one can choose to be lost or find oneself simultaneously. The sound is very professional, a typical product of composers working in the film industry. It is a complete package from start to finish where everything in its right place, but somewhere along the way the perfection has caused the song to lose the rawness of emotion which eats away at the essence – resulting in a sense of incompleteness.
Nosto Somoy – Shlilatahanir Pore
A hard hitting rock number, ‘Nosto Somoy’ sung by Shilajit Majumdar for the film Shilatahanir Pore is a vengeful spit at the evils plaguing our society now. From talking about revolution on social media instead of on the streets, indifference towards our fellow human being, religious differences, pollution, apathy and letting the despicable state of things run its natural course rather than trying to change it are only some of the things that this song shouts about. The emotion of rage is perfectly portrayed in Shilajit’s voice as well as the soundscape.
Aay Dekhe Jaa – Love Aaj Kal Porshu
The vocal magician Arijit Singh brings his unique flair to the song ‘Aay Dekhe Jaa’ for the movie Love Aaj Kal Porshu. In terms of sound, it can be called a modern rock ballad with healthy doses of electronica. The tempo is fast, keeping in step with the charged up pace of events unfolding in the video where a couple are seen fleeing – they are rescued by fishermen from a river, then transported to a forest in the back of a truck, all the while hidden away. But love blossoms even in dark times, and the song brings that out perfectly, bringing a message of hope too.