The Golden Boy of Bengali Music - Pintu Bhattacharya passes away today!!!

I believe no one can love with all his heart ( at least from the arena of Bengali Adhunik Singers) things like: Urdu Literature, Ghazals and typical Calcutta's Snack cuisine like Kabiraji Cutlet, Moglai Parotha, Kasha Mangsho, Lushi and Chholar Dal with such ferocity together...!!!

I have lived with this legend of a singer, I have listened to a hundred albums, have performed with him, and have eaten hundreds of delectable dishes in many his small music room and in Dhaba's along side many highways of Bihar and Bengal, especially the one in Kolaghat!

Pintu Bhattacharya looked upon me as his son, had great affection for me, he a father figure to me and also a very good friend has left for his heavenly abode today at Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital at about 5 in the morning and I'm missing him immensely as I write this article.

He was 71, and was suffering from Cancer for quite some time now!

I don't know, what else this miserable year 2011, has in store - for all of us?

Rama da's (Rama Prasad Banik) sudden death induced grief had tightened my chest just before 2011 rolled in and then on the 3rd January, the legend Suchitra Mitra passed away, and now today the 17th of January; two more very close people of mine, actress Gita De and Singer Pintu Bhattacharya leaves us!!!

I sincerely hope that their soul Rests in Peace in the heavens above.

Pintu Bhattacharya, as I have seen him in the last 38 years of my life, (I had come face to face with him in 1973, when I was a 10 year old boy) is an immensely talented singer with a natural and inimitable timbre along with great knowledge of music, especially Indian Classical and Urdu Ghazals. There are many things which are coming to my mind now as as I'm trying to re-collect all that he has given me and shared with me over the years that I've known him! Once while coming back from Bangladesh he showed me wonderful raw silk kurta and asked me whether I like it or not? I nodded in appreciation and he just gave it to me! I refused to accept it as it was  gift from his fans in Bangladesh! He smiled and said - "Just look at the size Nilanjan, this can only fit you" !!

In my numerable performances, in the late 90's there was a period when I without a scale changing harmonium and needed it nevertheless in my every performance, and it was then, Pintu Kaka used to give me his most beloved harmonium for my every show!

I believe he came into the limelight with compositions of Salil Choudhury and Sudhin Dasgupta, and his inforgettable songs like "Cholona Dighar Soikot Chhere"/"Ek Tajmohol Goro"/"Shesh dekha sei Raatey"/Sona Roder Gaan"/ "Tumi nirjon upoluley nayikar moto"etc. His playback in several films captured the imagination of the music enthusiasts the world over, especially his wonderful rendition in Tapan Sinha's HARMONIUM.

Still I would say Pintu Bhattacharya was underrated in many ways than one! Only because he was a little shy, basically an introvert person who seldom said anything about himself, but talked about the world and praised the world - from Ustad Amir Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali to Kailash Kher and Sunidhi Chauhan. Though he was literally out of the musical scene for quite some time now, due to his illness and also due to the irresponsibility and neglect of quite a few key figures from the world of music, Pintu Bhattacharya regularly updated himself on News related to the world of Music here and Bollywood!

Pintu Kaka, a very close associate of my dad, the legendary guitarist Batuk Nandy, more like a brother had broken down after my dad passed away in 2001 23rd September , and told me to visit him regularly, twice a week if possible. He used to talk about that golden period of music when Calcutta's Jalsa and Recordings were ruled by the liked of Hemanta Mukherjee, Shyamal Mitra, Manabendra Mukherjee, Ila Bose, Madhuri Chatterjee, Arati Mukherjee, Ashima Mukherjee, my dad Late Batuk Nandy, Nirmalendu Chowdhury, Sudhin Dasgupta, Sali Chowdhury, Manna De, Nachiketa Ghosh, Tarun Banerjee, Meena Mukherjee and other legends. I used to love when he spoke about them in his most inimitable manner -bringing back those golden days of melodious music and great singers right before my eyes. I am quite fortunate to have lived that period and remember each of them so vividly, as my house used to be frequented by most of them in the good old 70's dyay in day out! My mother, popularly being called by all - "Nila-di or Nila Boudi" being a wonderful cook, prepared delicious meals for them and my father used to have music jam sessions with them and 'adda' stretching upto midnight! Those were the days...!!!  In 1975, my dad and Pintu Kaku were travelling together to Cuttack by Puri Express for Howrah Station, and our reservation was in a first class compartment. I still remember the journey, together sharing laughter, food and music all along the way to Cuttack, I had slept at about 2 in the morning that day!

Only a couple of years ago, when I was strolling the beaches of Digha with the headphones of my I-Pod stuck in my ears listening to Pintu Kaka's "Cholona Dighar Soikot Chhere Jhau boner chhayay chhayay..."I had called up him and we had a long chat!

Now whenever and if again I visit Digha, I shall have to delete that song from my playlist before I hit the beach! Or even better still, if I cancel Digha from itinerary once and for all!!!