The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Coining words for a song

He’s only 45, but has nearly 70 albums to his credit. Not surprising, considering the fact that lyricist Deba Prasad Chakraborty started writing at age 10, with much encouragement from his mother. Although an employee of Punjab National Bank, this professional’s hobby is putting words to music. And he has made a career of it.

“It is a passion with me,” he smiles. “I do it in my spare time, but this is my first love in life.” It was 23 years ago that Chakraborty penned songs for his first album. Since then, he has written a variety of songs in Bengali for a host of singers in Calcutta and Mumbai.

Ranging from devotional lyrics for Anuradha Paudwal, the first collection being Laxmir Panchali, to pop tunes for names like Abhijit, Udit Narayan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Usha Uthup, Indranil Sen, Srikanta Acharya and even Ajoy Chakraborty, his repertoire includes collaborations with musicians like V. Balsara. His credit list includes films such as Sesh Thikana by director Provat Roy, released in 2000, and Jagari, and television serials like Ekaki Arannye, and telefilms, for a number of private Bengali channels.

His latest work, he says, has taken him “back to my childhood”. Ikir Mikir is a collection of original nursery rhymes in Bengali “in the Abol Tabol style”, he explains. “It was quite difficult at first to go back to thinking like a child. As such, writing regular songs comes naturally to me, because it’s what I do all the time. Words and phrases just pop out of my head. But in this case, I actually had to bring myself to assume the mindset of a child of about eight or 10 years old. It was quite a task,” he laughs.

Never one to back off from a challenge, Chakraborty took existing sounds and words, and coined entirely new rhymes from them. Some of the songs are just phonetic, with a lot of “nonsense words”, but others have a moral. “I wanted to make sure that children would not just like them, but also remember and sing them,” he adds.

Over 250 children from four schools in Calcutta were recruited as the voices for Ikir Mikir, with the tunes composed by song-writer and musician Rajib Chakraborty, whose wife Radhika was the lead singer. “Although I wasn’t there for all the recordings, I know the kids enjoyed singing my songs. That is the greatest satisfaction for me, after all the work,” Chakraborty says.

Following the “most enjoyable experience of writing for and working with children”, from Classes I to V, Chakraborty is keen to pursue more projects along those lines. “I always write songs for adults, but this was different — my first time, and definitely not the last,” he concludes.

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