Poems written by Rabindranath Tagore and set to tune by the late legendary musician Pankaj Kumar Mullick have now been compiled into a CD for the first time. “He was the only film-music-director who had been allowed by Tagore personally to set tune to his lyrics. These songs were in the form of hand-written notations found in our family archives. Now we have restored it, digitised it and presented it in the form of songs,” Jhinuk Gupta, granddaughter-in-law of Pankaj Mullick told PTI.
An accomplished artist herself, she has given voice to the songs while her husband Rajib has recited excerpts from the original poems in Bengali and English. Brought out by Saregama, the CD titled ‘Ashruto Rabindranath’ (Tagore: Unheard) has eight songs. Mullick, a Dadasaheb Phalke awardee, is best known for composing and singing the unforgettable Hindi song ‘Piya Milan Ko Jaana’ from the 1939 film ‘Kapal Kundala’.
In Bengal he is still revered for composing ‘Mahishasuramardini’, a radio musical played every year at the dawn of the ‘Mahalaya’ day, which has an uninterrupted run since its beginning in 1931. It is said when Tagore heard Mullick crooning one of his songs ‘Diner Sheshey Ghumer Deshey’, he announced that he was free to set tune to those writings of his which he would not be able to accomplish during his lifetime.
The album has the song’s full version and not an abridged version, as was there in the film, ‘Mukti’. The family is now on a mission to bring out all unheard renditions of the legendary musician. Another song ‘Bhogoban Tumi’ was composed when Mullick was requested by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, founder father of Bangladesh, to set to tune a couple of Tagore’s poems that would inspire and instill pride in every Bengali for their mother tongue.
In 1972, the musician had performed the two songs in his presence in Dhaka, the family said. ‘Chitto Jetha Bhoyshunya’ came into being when Tagore’s son Rathindranath requested him to turn the famous poem ‘Prarthana’ into a song. During the making of a radio-play based on tales from the Arabian Nights, he had set to tune Tagore’s poem ‘Megh’ and the song ‘Adi Onto Hariye Phele’ was born. Other songs are ‘He More Durbhaga Desh’, ‘Aaji E Probhatey’, ‘Sannyasi Upagupta’ and ‘Rudra Tomar Darun Deepti’.
The accompanying music used in the album is global in its soundscape, incorporating elements of gospel music, philharmonic orchestra, Arabic music and Tagorean music. Having composed over 5,000 songs in his 50-year-old illustrious career, Mullick has given a number of other hits like ‘Chale Pawan Ki Chaal’, ‘Yeh Kaun Aaj Aaya’, ‘Kaun Desh Hai Jana’ and ‘Pran Chahe Naina Na Chahe’.