Subir Sen

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Subir Sen
Subir Sen.jpg
সুবীর সেন
Background information
Born(1934-07-24)24 July 1934
Died29 December 2015(2015-12-29) (aged 81)
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
GenresWorld music, Pop
InstrumentsVocal, singing
Years active1950–2015

Subir Sen (Bengali: সুবীর সেন) (24 July 1934[1] – 29 December 2015[2] was an Indian playback singer, who sang modern songs in Bengali, and Hindi languages. He was also one of the known artists of Rabindra Sangeet.

Personal life[edit]

Subir Sen was born in Dibrugarh, Assam. His parents were Sailesh Sen and Lily Sen. His father was a doctor. They also had a pharmacy in Guwahati. His siblings were Prithwish Sen, Gauri Sen and Sunil Sen. He passed Matric Examination from Guwahati University and came to Kolkata in persuasion of music[3]. He was married to Roma Sen.

Career in Music[edit]

Subir Sen in Hindi movie Anubhav
Subir Sen in Bengali movie Momer Alo
Subir Sen in Momer Alo

Subir Sen was inclined to music from his childhood days. In 1951 he came to Kolkata and got admission in Ashutosh College[4]. While in Kolkata he started taking music lessons from Pandit Chinmoy Lahiri, who sent Sen to Shri Usha Ranjan Mukherjee to learn thumri[3].

While he was studying in Ashutosh College he took part in the KEREJU Music Competition conducted by HMV, and he was selected by Pandit Ratan Jankar as first among around fourteen hundred competitors. [5][6] Subir Sen described this event in his own words in "আমি তো গেয়েছি সেই গান", where he sang a song composed by his mentor Sri Anupam Ghatak: সারা রাত জ্বলে সন্ধ্যাপ্রদীপ[7].

Sen's first record was released by Columbia records in February 1954 containing two Bengali modern songs whose music was composed by Sri Chitto Roy and lyrics written by Sri Shyamal Gupta: 'জীবন-বাতি নিভিয়ে যেদিন' and 'আর কত জানাব তোমায়'[8]. Subir Sen was invited to Mumbai by Guru Dutt. Sudhin Sengupta too was invited by Guru Dutt to work for his production house. For some time Subir Sen and Sudhin Dasgupta stayed together in Tardeo Sonawala building in Mumbay when Sudhin composed a song "এত সুর আর এত গান" (Eto sur aar eto gaan), which was later recorded by Subir Sen[3]. It was this song, in the second record of Subir Sen, that made him famous[8].

এত সুর আর এত গান যদি কোনদিন থেমে যায়
সেইদিন তুমিও তো ওগো জানি ভুলে যাবে যে আমায়।

কতদিন আর এ জীবন কত আর এ মধু লগন...
তবুও তো পেয়েছি তোমায় জানি ভুলে যাবে যে আমায়।

আমি তো গেয়েছি সেই গান যে গানে দিয়েছিলে প্রাণ...।
ক্ষতি নেই আজ কিছু আর ভুলেছি যত কিছু তার...
এ জীবনে সবই যে হারায় জানি ভুলে যাবে যে আমায়।[8].

While in Mumbai, Subir Sen was scouted by Shankar-Jaikishan, the famous music composers duo and was inducted to Mumbai film industry. In Om Prakash's first production "Aas Ki Panchhi" (1956) starred by Rajendra Kumar, the title song was sung by Subir Sen in the lip of the hero riding on a bicycle leading a team of NCC cadets: "Dil mera ek aas ka panchhi, udta hai oonche gagan par". Subir Sen also lent his voice in various Hindi movies such as Chhoti Bahen (1959), Boy Friend (1961) and Passport (1961)[9]. He was associated with Salil Chowdhury, Sudhin Dasgupta, Abhijit Bandopadhyay, Anal Chatterjee, Amiyo Dasgupta[10] and many other noted music composers of Calcutta (Kolkata) and Bombay (Mumbai) that time.

In 1967 Subir Sen debuted as a Music Director in composing music for Bengali film মিস প্রিয়ম্বদা (Miss Priyambada). In 1972, he was music director for the Hindi film "Midnight"[11]. The film, directed by Raju, was released in England in 1972. Play back songs were: Koi mera ho gaya (Subir Sen), London ke mele mein & Zindagi Ka Hai Yeh Fasana (Md. Rafi), Tumsa meet mila (Geeta Dutt and Talat Mahmood) and Tere yad mein sajan (Geeta Dutt)[12].

Subir Sen acted in several movies in Bengali and Hindi. He was an actor-singer in Bengali movies Momer Alo (1964) (with Uttam Kumar) and Anubhav (with Sanjeev Kumar). He was offered to act in the hindi movie Abhiman by Hrishikesh Mukherjee in the lead role, and when Subir Sen declined it was given to Amitav Bachhan in later year[13].

Subir Sen's literary contributions are rare and difficult to be retrieved, but the spontaneity of his writings may be observed in a chapter of a book titled "Shyamal Mitra - a compilation of essays" contributed as a memoir on Shyamal Mitra[4].


  • 2007 - Harmonica Sangeet Samman - Life time achievement award.
  • 2012 - Sangeet Maha Samman by Government of West Bengal
  • 2013 - "Banga Bibhushan" by the Government of West Bengal[14][15].


Survived by his daughter (Supriya Sen, presently a Professor in Occupational Therapy in Virginia Commonwealth University), he died on December 29, 2015 at 8 AM of lung cancer in Kolkata, West Bengal, India[16][14][17]. Subir Sen had a deep, dreamy, romantic and appealing voice[18]. His renditions of Rabindra Sangeet, Hindi film songs and Bangla modern songs (আধুনিক গান) were popular, and represented a genre of its own kind. Sen was fond of western music, particularly of Jim Reeves and Nat King Cole and, and according to Abhijit Bandopadhyay, he created an international style of his own[19]. He left behind a legacy of deep voiced romantic songs in Bengali.


Film and Non-film songs of Subir Sen
Rabindra Sangeet by Subir Sen


  1. ^ "এত সুর আর এত কষ্ট". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  2. ^ "Singer Subir Sen dead". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  3. ^ a b c "Subir Sen Interview: Part 1: KOLKATA GAAN". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  4. ^ a b Sen, Subir (2010). "বুকের মধ্যে ধরে রেখেছি". In Chattopadhyay, Alok. Shyamal Mitra - a compilation of essays. Kolkata: Aajkal Publishrs' Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-81-7990-115-1.
  5. ^ "Weekend Classics Radio Show - Subir Sen Special". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  6. ^ "শিল্পী". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  7. ^ Sen, Subir (2009). "আমি তো গেয়েছি সেই গান". Sudhin Dasgupta - Collection of Musical Essays. Kolkata: Aajkal Publishrs' Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-81-7990-083-3.
  8. ^ a b c "সম্পাদক সমীপেষু: প্রথম রেকর্ড অন্য". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  9. ^ "Subir Sen Biography". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  10. ^ "Subir Sen Interview: Part 2: KOLKATA GAAN". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  11. ^ "Midnight". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  12. ^ "Zindagi Ka Hai Yeh Fasana - Mohd. Rafi (Midnight - 1972)". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  13. ^ "Subir Sen Interview: Part 3: KOLKATA GAAN". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  14. ^ a b "Veteran singer Subir Sen passes away". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  15. ^ "Soumitra refuses Banga Bibhushan Award". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  16. ^ "Veteran singer Subir Sen passes away in Kolkata". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  17. ^ "Subir Sen passes away". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  18. ^ "এত সুর আর এত গান তুলে রেখে সুরলোকে সুবীর সেন". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  19. ^ "Abhijit Banerjee: Subir Sen punched the styles of Jim Reeves". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  20. ^ Gupta, Samir Kumar (2011). সলিল চৌধুরী - প্রথম জীবন ও গণসংগীত. Milemishe, Kolkata.
  21. ^ "Anarbala 1961". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  22. ^ a b c d "Radio Ceylon - 29-12-2017 - FS (Tribute to Subir Sen)". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  23. ^ "শতবর্ষ কি তারও বেশী কিছু আগে". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  24. ^ "Asa Jaoar Pother Dhare". Retrieved 2018-11-23.