Salil Chowdhury (1922-1995)
|Birth name||Salil Chowdhury|
|Also known as||Salil da|
|Born||19 November 1922|
|Origin||Chingripotha, 24 Parganas
Bengal, British India
|Died||5 September 1995(aged 72)|
|Occupations||Music Director, Composer, Poet, Lyricist & Story-writer|
Salil Chowdhury (Bengali: সলিল চৌধুরী, Hindi: सलिल चौधरी, Malayalam: സലില് ചൗധരി) was an Indian music composer, who mainly composed for Bengali, Hindi, and Malayalam films. He was also a poet and a playwright. He is affectionately called Salilda by his admirers.
His musical ability was widely recognized and acknowledged in the Indian film industry. He was an accomplished arranger and was proficient in several musical instruments, including flute, the piano, and the esraj. He was also widely acclaimed and admired for his inspirational and original poetry.
Salil Chowdhury was born on November 19, 1922 in a village called Gajipur in West Bengal. Salil's childhood was spent in the tea gardens of Assam. From an early age he listened to the Western Classical collection of his father. His father was reputed to stage plays with coolies and other low-paid workers of the tea-gardens. He graduated from Bangabasi College, affiliated to the University of Calcutta in Kolkata, and during this period his political ideas were formulated along with a considerable maturity in his musical ideas.
In 1944, a young Salil came to Calcutta for his graduate studies. He joined the IPTA (Indian Peoples Theater Association) the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India. He started writing songs and setting tunes for them. The IPTA theatrical outfit travelled through the villages and the cities bringing these songs to the common man. Songs like Bicharpati, Runner and Abak prithibi became extremely popular with the general population at the time.
Songs like Gaayer bodhu, which he composed at the age of 20, brought about a new wave of Bengali music. Almost every notable singer at the time from West Bengal had sung at least one of his songs. A few examples are Debabrata Biswas, Hemanta Mukherjee, Shyamal Mitra, Manabendra Mukherjee and Pratima Banerjee.
His first Bengali film "Paribortan" ("Transformation") was released in 1949.The singer of his debut song was Debabrata Biswas. "Mahabharati" released in 1994 was the last of his 41 Bengali films.
Salil da's debut in the Hindi Film Industry came in 1953 as the Music Director for Do Bigha Zamin by Bimal Roy. The film was the cinematic version of Salil Chowdhury's short story named "Ricksawala". (This is incorrect; the story is based on Tagore's poem/narrative by the same name!") It also took his career to new heights when it became the first film to win the Filmfare Best Movie Award and won the international Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Salil Chowdhury was married to Jyoti Chowdhury [who lives at Bandra in Mumbai] and later to Sabita Chowdhury also, with whom he has two daughters and two sons. Salilda's wife was a very good singer and their daughter, Antara Chowdhury, is currently a performing artist. She recently sang[when?] for Sudhir Mishra's hit Khoya Khoya Chand in a duet with Sonu Nigam. Hindi and Bengali singles from the album have been released on the iTunes Music Store worldwide. These include in Hindi, "kyon beheke hain / stranger" and "chale ayona / so far away" with lyrics by Yogesh and music by Sanjoy and in Bengali, "esho boshona / sit beside me" and "dur ojanate / far away" with lyrics by Salil Chowdhury and Tarun respectively and music by Sanjoy.
Salil's music was a blending of Eastern and the Western music traditions. He had once said: "I want to create a style which shall transcend borders - a genre which is emphatic and polished, but never predictable".[this quote needs a citation] He dabbled in a lot of things and it was his ambition to achieve greatness in everything he did. But at times, his confusion was fairly evident: "I do not know what to opt for: poetry, story writing, orchestration or composing for films. I just try to be creative with what fits the moment and my temperament", he once told a journalist.[this quote needs a citation]
Salil's love for Western classical music started when he was a young boy growing up in an Assam tea garden where his father worked as a doctor. His father inherited a large number of western classical records and a gramophone from a departing Irish doctor. While Salil listened to Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and others everyday, his daily life was surrounded by the sound of the forest, chirping of the birds, sound of the flute and the local folk-music of Assam. This left a lasting impression in young Salil. He became an self-taught flute player and his favourite composer was Mozart. His compositions often used folk melodies or melodies based on Indian classical ragas but the orchestration was very much western in its construction. He developed a style which was immediately identifiable.According to his daughter Antara,(Ref.: Ek Fankar @ Vividbharati Radio Programme at 10.00 pm on 19th Nov. 2013)Salil da thought himself as Mozart, reborn.
|1953||Do Bigha Zamin||Hindi||Debut as a composer|
|1957||Ek Gaon Ki Kahani||Hindi|
|1957||Gotoma the Buddha||Hindi||A documentary film|
|1958||Bari Theke Paliye||Bengali|
|1958||Madhumati||Hindi||Won - Filmfare Award for Best Music Director|
|1960||Usne Kaha Tha||Hindi|
|1965||Chand Aur Suraj||Hindi|
|1965||Poonam Ki Raat||Hindi|
|1966||Pinjre Ke Panchhi||Hindi|
|1968||Anokhi Raat||Hindi||Background music|
|1971||Uyir||Tamil||Background score only|
|1972||Sabse Bada Sukh||Hindi|
|1975||Chhoti Si Baat||Hindi|
|1975||Onde Roopa Eradu Guna||Kannada|
|1977||Chinna Ninna Muddaduve||Kannada|
|1978||Ee Ganam Marakkumo||Malayalam|
|1978||Etho Oru Swapnam||Malayalam|
|1980||Doorathu Idhi Muzhakkam||Tamil|
|1981||In Search of Famine||Bengali|
|1981||Plot No. 5||Hindi|
|1984||Kanoon Kya Karega||Hindi|
|1989||Kamla Ki Maut||Hindi|
|1990||Nehru: The Jewel of India||Hindi|
|1994||Swami Vivekananda (film)||Hindi|
|1995||Agar Aisa Ho Toh||Hindi||Television series|
Awards and recognitions
- 1958 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award for Madhumati
- 1988 - Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
- 2013 - A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by India Post to honour him on 3 May 2013.