Kumar Sanu with Raju Saha (on right in first picture) and the album cover of Prem. Telegraph pictures
Raju Saha has at last found a voice — in Kumar Sanu.
The 40-year-old Siliguri bar owner says he wrote poetry from a young age but only when Kumar Sanu sang the lines written by him, did fame come calling.
Last Durga Puja, Sanu cut an album — Abar Priyotomar Sporsho — after a 12-year break. The lyrics and music were by debutant Raju.
When the owner of Tinkers bar was unsung, one of the bar singers, Deep, sang his lines.
Raju quite likes his songs, which are mostly romantic. “Sometimes, when I am stressed out after work, I sit with some of my close friends in the bar and listen to my songs,” he says.
He gives credit to Deep for his success. He “is one of the key driving forces that steered me into the world of music. He sings my songs one after another. The ambience brings cheer and calms my mind,” he says.
After the recording with Sanu, Raju also worked with Assam-born singer Zubin Garg. This second album was released last November.
Sitting in his bar on Sevoke Road, Raju says music became a part of his life when he was a child. His elder sister used to learn singing. “My didi would often sing at home, which the family would thoroughly enjoy. When I grew up and became a businessman, I spent nights writing poetry. Most of these were romantic, which is natural in youth,” Raju says.
Raju, who grew up on ITI Road in the city and studied in the Siliguri College of Commerce, says the urge to compose music came naturally after he penned the lyrics.
He would compose using the tabla and a harmonium at his home. He took the help of some musicians based in Siliguri.
“Among the singers in my bar, I have Deep who has an excellent voice. After I wrote the lyrics and composed the tunes, I approached him to sing. He sang in my bar when the patrons were gone,” Raju says.
Listening to Deep singing his songs, gave Raju “great satisfaction”, but Deep pushed him to approach somebody big.
“Deep insisted that I should speak to some prominent singers and release an album. Kumar Sanu’s name came in my mind then.”
Raju eventually visited a recording studio on Park Street in Calcutta.
“My tracks were recorded and Sanuda was called. He came in, listened to the tracks and was told that the lyrics and the music were by me. He was overwhelmed and agreed to do the album. It was a great achievement,” Raju gushes.
“My dream was turning into reality.”
The album’s name — Abar Priyotomar Sporsho — is also Raju’s contribution.
O Priyotoma is the first of the eight songs in the album, some others are Tume Esechile, Ami Tomake Bhalobesechi and Surya Jotodin.
The album was released last year, two days before Mahalaya.
“Sanuda came out with the album ahead of Durga Puja after 12 years. He had earned accolades with his earlier album Priyotoma Mone Rekho. As we were bringing him to the Bengali audience again, I named the album Abar Priyotomar Sporsho (Another touch of the beloved), so people can relate to the earlier album.”
“I was a bit apprehensive (about the album’s fate) but Sanuda’s soulful voice made it a hit,” Raju says.
“After this album, my confidence rose. This time, a recording company in Guwahati showed interest. To my surprise, I found that none other than Zubin Garg would sing the songs,” he says.
The album was Prem and had seven songs. It was released in November last year.
Raju says his songs in Prem have become popular in Bengal and Assam.
He gives credit to his family for their consistent support. But music has not stopped Raju from expanding his business. He is into real estate now. “I want to move ahead to carve a niche as a Bengali lyricist-composer,” he says. “Right now, I am working on some lyrics that range from love and suffering to contemporary issues. My wish is to release an album of modern songs with Sriradha Bandopadhyay, and make an album of love songs with Shreya Ghosal,” he says.