Monday, September 24, 2007

Remember Mohiner Ghoraguli

Mohiner Ghoraguli was not a wasn't any random was a revolution. That's why when the reformed line-up performed in Bangalore, it was labelled "Remembering Mohiner Ghoraguli : The First Indian Rock Band".
And no one can deny that. At a time when both Hindi and Bengali music survived on old-fashioned melodies and film songs, these men from Bengal dared to do something radically different. They went on record saying they wanted to create a fusion of Baul and Jazz, and in the spice of what they were doing, they unwittingly became pioneers of any form of Indian Rock, singing in their mother tongue of Bengali.
Although I personally have no great liking for my mother tongue, Mohiner Ghoraguli's songs made an impact on me from the very first time I heard their songs. Singing about ordinary life and problems, they struck a chord with my highly individualistic and rebellious sensibilities. I should be ashamed to say this, but the only connection I share with Bengali is with the music of Mohiner Ghoraguli. Gautam Chattopadhyay (the founder of Mohiner Ghoraguli) was a visionary, no doubt, but even he couldn't have anticipated that even in this ultra-modern generation, their songs would have such an impact on the young mind.
They didn't gain much popularity in their own times, though. To the people of the time, their music was a outrage for the sensiblities of the cultural Bengali "bhadralok" of that period. But somehow, they survived...the band might have broken up for the members to go their own individual paths, but their music survived. And the rebellious late 90s and the dawn of the new millenium was the perfect launchpad for ultra modern music composed 20 - 30 years ago! Mohiner Ghoraguli were at their peak, 2 decades after the original band broke up.
Gautam Chattopadhyay took advantage of this popularity to release 3 new albums, with a mixture of songs both old and new, "Abar Bochor Kuri Pore" (After some 20 odd years), "Maya" (Illusion) and "Jhora Shomoyer Gaan" (Songs of the Autumn). Mr. Abraham Mazumdar, one of the original members, went on to become the music teacher of LMB, and I had an up-close experience of the great man, a musical genius in his own right.
They were a smashing success, and Gautam-da was planning more before he left this mortal abode. However, his only contribution to the music of the period wasn't reforming Mohiner Ghoraguli, but he also encouraged many young, new musicians to give it a go.
In this year 2007, the remnants of the original band and those who had joined the reformed band came together in a series of concerts remembering this revolution, and paying homage to it's founder. I'm proud to say that my best friend, Bhaskar Dutta, formed a part of this reunited line-up, initially with Mr. Mazumdar's chamber orchestra, and tentatively on the guitar now. they'll be performing right here in Kolkata sometime in December being the planned date. I'm sure on that day, their songs are going to rock their hometown in a way that the city is sure to remember for a long time.


Blogger Prasun said...

yes they did today . The whole city sang with them - Prithibita naki choto hote hote - and after we came back , we went through the entire concert again - this time on television - the recorder version.

I will remember it throughout my life.

3:59 AM  

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