Durbadal Chatterjee: A name carved in gold

Nashid Kamal: Durbadal Chatterjee, a child prodigy starting his first performance at the age of seven, learning violin from his father, a famous violin player Moni Chatterjee. Originally Monindronath Chatterjee hailed from Bikrampur in East Bengal but he migrated to Kolkata in 1946. Durbadal played regularly with legends such as Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar and a host of similar luminaries in the musical world. He added the accordion playing to his repertoire and enjoyed stopping by at elderly artist Angurbala’s house, enjoying her love offered through the sweet called munger laddu. When he didn’t visit her for his business in playing films like Thogini he found two three laddus waiting for him at Angurbala’s place, each accounting for the day missed!

However, his life took another turn when he joined the All India Radio in 1973 and continued there until 1990. During this time, he carried on working in films, composing music for records and CDs from 1980.

During this time he met Bangladeshi artist Selina Malek, and through her, the Bangladeshi door opened. Later, through the assignments of Bengal Foundation, all artists of Bangladesh, from Nazrul, Tagore, folk, ghazal genre, the songs have been put together with outstanding music by Durbadal Chatterjee. These CDs have filled the music industry in Bangladesh, and all reigning queens Rezwana Chowdhury Banna, Adity Mohsin, Khairul Anam Shakil have recorded under his direction, supervision and these products are now available worldwide via the net. Every home is now lighted with at least one CD with Durbadal’s composition since the 80s.What phenomenal contribution. Almost every rising Bangladeshi artist aspires to have a CD with the music composed by Durbadal Chatterjee.

Why is there so much magic in his composition? It’s because of his musical talent, keen observations in gaining experience over the years when he worked in the film industry of Mumbai and last but not least, he mixes his own imagination with everyone. His humble nature, methodical style, sharp eye and ear for details render him invaluable to the music industry in Bangladesh. Durbadal says, “If not in West Bengal, Bangladesh will surely keep me alive”.

Nashid Kamal is an academic, Nazrul exponent and writer

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