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Homegrown label vs giant

At a time when the British music company, HMV, held sway over the local music industry, Megaphone, a music company started by a Bengali entrepreneur, struck out on its own and within a short period recorded some of the biggest artistes of those times.

Kamal Ghosh, who took over Megaphone from his uncle, died after prolonged illness last Sunday at age 82. Megaphone was started by Jitendra Nath Ghosh, Kamal’s uncle. When the demand for discs increased it began its recording venture in 1932. Some of the greatest musicians of the country began their careers here. Ustad Enayet Khan (sitar and surbahar) and his son, Vilayat Khan and Ustad Alauddin Khan were on their list of artistes. Both Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Begum Akhtar did their first recordings here.

Begum Akhtar used to put up in the Megaphone office on Mahatma Gandhi Road near Tamar Lane. Kanan Debi till 1958, when Jitendra Nath died,and Bhishmadeb Chattopadhyay did all their recordings here. Gyanendra Prasad Goswami and Tarapada Chakrabarty were regulars.

Megaphone had recorded a wealth of paalasKarnarjun with Kanan Debi and Durgadas Bandopadhyay, Ramer Sumati with Jahar Ganguli, plays starring Sarajubala, and the soundtrack of Rajlakshmi Srikanta with Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen.

Nazrul would train singers at Megaphone and Ghosh had his handwritten notation book. Kamalbabu had produced the film Kinu Goalar Gali starring Sumitra Debi, Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore.

Kamalbabu had digitally remastered and successfully marketed some of the valuable recordings in Megaphone’s collection. It has an archive of several lakh recordings.

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