I was born into a culturally rich, orthodox family but I am fortunate that despite my family being traditional, its progressive and forward-looking outlook has given me all the support to follow my mission and to become who I am today. My father is a multi-talented person who is a singer, a writer and a regular performer in Bangla drama. I grew up in a joint family with a cultural background of song, dance and recitation. I was trained initially in Classical Dance from Padatik under Guru Vijay Shankarji & Pandit Birju Maharaj ji. I am Visharad in Kathak but beside my dance training, I am particularly fond of Bengali Poems. Bengalees all over the globe have been united in an eternal bond through the rich heritage threads of Gaan & Kobita. In this love for bangla kobita, I have finally found solace in expressing myself easily.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
Recently, a CD titled ANUBHUTI, was released from Times Music. The recent generation has forgotten the romanticism of pen and paper, due to incredible development in technology. It’s my effort to bring back the memory of the old golden days with a selection of poetry by different writers and music. Alongside me, the English poems were recited by Mr Harshavardhan Neotia and sung by Mr Sasha Ghosal.
I also took part in the project, “ Nakshikanthar Math”, a masterpiece of Kobi Jasimuddin in song and poetry format. Along with Dipwanita and national award-winning singer Rupankar, I performed in the said event very recently. My first release was in 2011 of a montage of poems, “Ebong Ami”, and received good reviews. Then “Mugdyotar Kal” and “Nabo Arunodoyer Pothe” was also released and gained highest recognition from the market.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Life is full of challenges and I believe most of the time it nurtures us to grow as an individual. At times, we felt that our journey would come to an end or a standstill, but again some silver lining will keep the ball rolling.
I am working on The Bengalee Poem Recitation which is not in the mainstream of cultural forte and this unawareness is the biggest hurdle for me at present. Most of the program organizers are not ready to draw the difference between elocutionist and program comparer and I often get the request to host a program alongside my recitation. It pains me a lot, as recitation is still in the back seat of Bengalee peoples’ minds. There is a very limited opportunity of Bengalee poems in TV shows/live programs but Bengalees are always proud of poets who are considered famous for their cultural brilliance. So I want to spread away this bangle Kobita to each and every household of Bengalees.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
It’s too early for me to say that I truly achieved anything, but to tell you the truth the recognition and praise from a few listeners gives me the strength to fight and motivate myself. One of my listener from Assam said everyday she tuned in to listen my program and my recitation serves as a remedy for her ailing son. This appreciation, I feel is higher than any reward or recognition.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
That’s a nice question. Of course as a Bengalee I am proud of my rich heritage and cultural roots, so I may find myself working in a different creative industry such as classical dance or drama.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Rabindranath Tagore! I can’t say anything further. Anyone who is anyone in the Bengalee language can’t live without him, for sure.
What does the future hold for you?
I do not know what the future holds for me. But whatever it is, I pray that I can continue my performing art in the highest level of excellence. Before anything else, I want to be known as a good human being with a clear sense of balance and reasoning; performing all tasks with dedication, determination, hard work and ethically, sensitively and sincerely
About Sonali Bhattacharya
“ Kobita Amar Bahukaler Preyashi” .
After having formal training from Ms. Bratati Bandyopadhyay and Mr Kajal Sur, I took upon the task of exploring the nuances of becoming a narrator and recital artiste of Bangla kobita. My dream is to connect all Bengalees across the globe through my kobita recitation.
This article is accredited to Ashish Bhardwaj.