Interview - Singer Somlata On Her Bengali Movie Songs & Anjan Dutta's Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbo Na, Bappaditya's Elar Char Adhyay
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Washington, DC, July 20, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) In this audio interview broadcast, Arijit Chakraborty chats with Somlata, the primary female playback singer in Anjan Dutta's (interview) latest Bengali feature film "Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbo Na". Somlata talks about her background and career, and describes her fascinating experience in singing songs originally composed and performed by Anjan Dutta, that too in a film directed by Anjan-da!
Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury started taking singing lessons in early childhood, even before she was introduced to letters and numbers. Her career as a professional vocalist began with participation as a backing vocalist in music productions - Somlata describes "backing vocals" as the art of using her voice as an instrument to add special flavors to songs performed by lead vocalists. Subsequently she hosted a TV show "Take A Break" on Tara Muzik channel where she used to sing a song at the beginning and end of every episode. She won the "Discovery of Dada na Didi (Female Artiste)" award on "Dada Na Didi - Ganer Big Fight" show on ETV Bangla. She has also been associated with Radio Mirchi 98.3 and Amar FM 106.2 radio channels of Calcutta, as well as many advertisements and commercial ad jingles.
Somlata's debut as a playback singer in feature films was actually with the English number "Make Love To Me" in Marvel Gima's "The Perfect Woman" (2007). You can listen to a clip from this song online. She indicates special fondness for this song, as you will hear her say.
Entering the world of Tollywood Kolkata Bengali movies, Somlata then performed as a playback singer in a still-to-be-released Bengali film, followed by a Rabindrasangeet in Aniruddha Bhattacharya's 2009 film "Box No 1313" (DVD Release in USA) that featured a star cast of Parambrata Chatterjee (interview), Paoli Dam, Biswajit Chakraborty, June Malia, Sudeshna Roy (interview), Kanchan Mullick and more with music directed by Kolkata-based Bengali music group "Chandrabindu".
It was right after this that she started working with Neel Dutta, singer-composer-song writer and music director, and son of Anjan Dutta. Somlata performed the title track "Icchegulo" in the 2009 Bengali film "Cross Connection" (DVD Release) directed by the duo Abhijit Guha and Sudeshna Roy starring Ritwick Chakraborty, Abir Chatterjee (interview), Payal Sarkar, Rimjhim Mitra, Biswajit Chakraborty, Sasawata Chatterjee and others with Neel Dutt directing music.
Before Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbo Na, Somlata had worked with Anjan Dutta on a Hindi telefilm. She describes her wonderful experience of working with Anjan-da, particularly the way Anjan-da, in spite of being such a senior artiste, pretty much gave her complete freedom to sing the songs her way. Anjan-da desribed the situations in the film for the songs, and gave Somlata a lot of space - something that Somlata deeply appreciates.
There are a few films in the pipeline that will feature songs in Somlata's wonderful voice, including Bappaditya Bandopadhyay's (interview) political dramas "Elar Char Adhyay" that has just gone on floors.
Guest: Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury, Kolkata, India
Host: Arijit Chakraborty, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Recording, Editing, Article: Supratim Sanyal, Washington DC, USA