When the news of the demise of singer Subir Sen broke out on Tuesday morning, many echoed that it was the end of an era, an era where an Indian musician mastered an international tonal quality and impressed not just with his singing and compositional skill but also his large-hearted nature.
Sen was 82 when he succumbed to cancer on Tuesday at a private nursing home in the city . He is survived by his daughter.
Known for his work in Chhoti Bahen’ and ‘Katputli’ in Bollywood, Sen is popular for his songs like `Dheere chalao zara’ with Lata Mangeshkar and `Humein un rahon par’, besides his hits in Bengali like `Oi ujjawalo dwip’ and Eto sur aar eto gaan’.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee condoled his death.In her tweet, she wrote: “Saddened at the passing away of legendary singer Subir Sen. He is our Banga Bibhushan. He will always be in our hearts.”
Music director Abhijit Banerjee, who had composed Monalisa tumi ki bolona’ for Sen, described the singer as a king with a big heart and a wide perspective’. While the initial stage of his career saw him singing Hemant Kumar’s songs, Sen had soon graduated to carve a niche for himself. “From Jim Reeves, he picked up the tonal quality .From Nat King Cole, it was the drama that appealed to him.He punched the two style to create an international tone.He even learnt ghazal during his stint in Mumbai,” Banerjee said. Going back in time, he recalled how Sen had made him listen to Jim Reeves’ `I hear the sound of distant drums’ and `Snow Flakes’.”The first song inspired me to compose `Saradin tomae bhebe’. The first line of `Snow Flakes’ song inspired me to compose `E jeno shei chokh’. Nat King Cole’s `Mona Lisa’ helped us to create our own `Monalisa’ in a different form,” he recalled.
Few know that Sen was a good composer too. Sen had composed for an international film called `Midnight’ that had Geeta Dutta, Mohammad Rafi and himself singing in the soundtrack. It was an endearing relationship that Nirmala Mishra shared with him.”One day , I was speaking to him in a certain tone and he told me: `You are talking like a pishima!’ That’s how I got my name `pishima’. In return, I said that I should have the liberty of calling him `pishemoshai’,” Mishra said.
Sabita Chowdhury , wife of music director Salil Chowdhury , said, “Subir-da was very close to our family . My husband used to like his style of singing. He specially composed `Dhoronir pothe pothe’ and `Pagol hawa’ for him.” On being asked the similarity between Sen and Hemant Kumar, Chowdhury said, “His voice has a softness to it and a texture that was different from that of Hemanta-da.”
Singer Banasree Sengupta was impressed with Sen’s acting skills too. “I remember going to watch him film `Momer Putul’ where he had acted opposite Sabitri Chatterjee,” she pointed out, adding, “Composer Sudhin Dasgupta and he were friends. I was a favourite student of Sudhin Dasgupta.When Subir Sen came over to discuss Puja songs with my guru. I would also tag along to be a part of those musical sessions. I regret my luck that I could never sing a duet with him,” she said.
While in Bollywood, Shankar Jaikishan seemed to have kar Jaikishan seemed to have a special liking for Sen. The composer duo account for Sen most well-known songs. “Who can forget his `Manzil wohi hai’ from `Kathputli’?” Sengupta wondered aloud. No one is sure why Sen returned to Kolkata despite a successful stint in Mumbai. Mishra claimed that it was because of “internal politics that prevented his rise in Mumbai”.
But Sen never cribbed publicly and was happy to be singing in Bengali. “He deserved much more recognition than what he got. While remakes are common at reality shows these days, nobody dares to sing his songs,” Sengupta said. The reason, Banerjee pointed out, is his “international sound”. In unison, music industry believe that there will never be another Subir Sen who has so much of `sur’ and `gaan’ in him.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / Priyanka Dasgupta, TNN / December 30th, 2015