|Birth name||Sagar Sen|
15 May 1932|
|Died||4 January 1983
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
|Genres||Rabindrasangeet, Bengali Modern Songs and Playback|
|Labels||HMV, EMI, Columbia Records|
Sagar Sen made an entry into the world of Rabindrasangeet in the early 1960s. It was an era when stalwarts like Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Debabrata Biswas and Chinmoy Chattopadhyay were highly established and extremely popular. However, his unique attributes like his melodious baritone voice, attention to the minute details and the most appropriate emotional delivery and style required for the rendition of songs composed by Rabindranath Tagore appealed to the masses on a large scale.
Sagar Sen’s first recording with All India Radio was in the year 1958. Thereafter, he started performing as a Rabindrasangeet singer at Akashvani, Kolkata. He participated in the recordings of Tagore’s operas namely, Shap Mochan (1966) and Valmiki Pratibha (1967) under the direction of Santosh Sengupta. However, the big breakthrough came in 1968 with the recording of the song ‘Ami Jene Shune Bish Korechhi Paan’, a song from Tagore’s first opera ‘Mayar Khela’, which played a great role in establishing him as a very coveted artiste of Rabindrasangeet. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s he recorded numerous songs with the erstwhile Gramophone Company of India Ltd.
The year 1974 saw the release of his first stereophonic Long Play (LP) record, which comprised 14 songs of Tagore, 7 each from ‘Puja’(Devotional) and ‘Prem’ (Love) category.
He founded a musical institution in Kolkata named 'Rabi Rashmi' where students learned Rabindrasangeet under his tutelage. 'Rabi Rashmi' was extremely popular in its times and was also known for its regular performance of various concerts like ‘Shraban Sandhya(An Evening of Shravana)', ‘Shapmochan(Tagore’s Opera)’, ‘Rituranga(Season’s Varieties)', ‘Gaaner Jharnatalay(Under the Fountain of Songs)', ‘Swadeshi Neye Bideshi Kheya(Tagore's Songs from Western Tunes)', ‘Bishwajana Mohichhey(The World is Spellbound)' organised at prestigious venues in Kolkata like Rabindra Sadan, Sisir Mancha and Kala Mandir . Such concerts were organised by Sagar Sen and performed by his students as well as himself and other famous artistes like Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Chinmoy Chattopadhyay, Suchitra Mitra and Bani Thakur.
His style of rendition appealed to every dedicated listener of the genre through its simplicity which succeeded in the manifestation of sublime realization. His uniqueness lay in the fact that he gave extreme importance to the minute details of the notations. His songs exhibit the perfect blend of the emotional delivery(which is a unique attribute of Rabindrasangeet) and technical perfection.
Modern songs and playback
Sagar Sen performed as a playback artiste notably in the Bengali movies Je Jekhane Dnariye (1974), and Parichay (1979) and also in movies like Abirbhab and Mantramugdha. He received a BFJA Award in 1979 for the song ‘Aj Jyotsnaratey Sobai Gechhe Boney’ in the movie Parichay. He also sang a few modern Bengali songs like ‘Ei Jibon Emni Kore Ar To Soy Na’ and ‘Ki Holo Chand Keno Meghe Dheke Gelo’ in 1980 and a duet with Sabita Chowdhury ‘Trishito Nayane Eso’ all composed by the maestro composer, Salil Chowdhury.
Personal life and death
Sagar Sen was born in 1932 in Faridpur, Bangladesh. However, he was primarily based in Kolkata, throughout his musical career. In 1981, he was diagnosed with cancer. Despite this diagnosis, he continued recording and performing in concerts in high spirits, throughout the last one and a half years of his life. He died on 4 January 1983, at the age of 50. He was survived by his wife and three sons, Priyam Sen, Pritam Sen and Promit Sen. Promit Sen has established himself as a renowned Rabindrasangeet artiste and continues to sing today.