Articles and Interviews

Salil was a brilliant writer, a lyricist and a poet. Read the article Salil Chowdhury: The Writer and the Poet to find out more about this.
His poems are unique. A book of his poems was published just after his death and it's a collector's item. Few years back a record was also available with his poems recited by none other than Salil himself with subtle background music composed by him. I intend to publish his poems on this website in near future.

Over the the years I have collected several articles about Salil in Bengali and English written by various people. They include journalists, Film actors, singers, music-directors and his admirers. There are also some interviews of Salil. My plan is to start including them here. This will obviously take some time. I am not a great translator. So, if anybody out there can help me to translate a few Bengali articles into English please let me know.

- Orchestration in Indian Music - This is an English transcription of a masterly presentation originally given in Bengali. It is about a subject which I guess only Salil could have done. It is a long article and it deserves studying by all music lovers who are keen to expand their knowledge and understand Salil's philosphy of composition.

- Tagore is originator of music language of free India - Salil's love and respect for Rabindranath Tagore is well known. All his life he adored Tagore and in many of Salil's Bengali song lyrics one finds shades of Tagore. Although he loved and respected Tagore Salil never tried to copy his music. He created and developed his own melodic and lyrical style.
In this article Salil discusses the importance of Rabindra Sangeet in Indian music. This article was published in Screen Magazine in 1961.

- Role of Background music in Indian films - We all know that Salil must have been the only composer who besides composing all the songs in films in 10 languages, composed the title music and the background music for all his films, TV serials and documentaries since the '50s. In fact he was so good at it that other composers asked him to compose the background music for their films. Some of the noted film directors used his background music without any acknowledgement even.
In this article Salil tries to explain the challenges and the complexities in composing background music.

- Sachin Shankar and Salil - Salil composed music for several ballet created and choreographed by Sachin Shankar. Sachin Shankar was a cousin of Ravi Shankar and was a renowned dancer. He was also involved with the communist party and IPTA.

- Few Moments with Salil Chowdhury - An extensive interview taken by Kalpana Biswas in 1978. The original interview was published in Bengali in the magazine "Kaalpurush" in 1978. Its a long and candid interview and Salil talks at length about his early days in the Peasant Movement (Krishak Andolan) before he joined IPTA, his days with IPTA, his comrades, his mentors, his colleagues, his plays and above all his songs. Probably the most important interview to date. I urge all Salil admirers to read this interview. Its a long interview but I can assure you that you will be rewarded. You will get to know him more than ever before and you will also learn a lot about that golden period of pre-independence. This article was translated by my friend and Salil admirer Arindam Banerjee of Boston.

- Article on the 'Uttaran' LP cover -Suman Chattyopadhaay, the well-known Bengalee singer who pioneerd the 'Jibon Mukhi Gaan' wrote this article at the back of the album 'Uttaran' released in the US in 1982. I believe Suman lived in Washington D.C. at that time and was a great admirer of Salil.

- 'Salil Chowdhury: A Phenomenon in Modern Bengali Music' - Before Suman Chattopadhaay became famous as a composer/singer in Bengal in the 90s, he was a well-known journalist and wrote extensively in Bengali and English. He also spent several years abroad as a Radio journalist and studied music. On his return to India he became a full time composer and a singer. He also wrote under the pseudonym of Manab Mitra and wrote an excellent and very extensive article on Salil. This article was published in the Sangeet Natak Academy Magazine from Bombay.

- 'Evolution in Modern Indian Music' - This article was written by Salil for a Bengali magazine 'Sangeetika' back in 1959.

- 'Remembering Hemanta-Da' - by Salil Chowdhury - After Hemanta Mukherjee's death Salil wrote this article in 1989.

- 'The Runner will return no more' - by Sandhya Sen (Published in "Nabakallol" magazine, 36th year, Issue 9, 1995, pages 161-164).

- 'Regarding Salil Chowdhury' - by Suchitra Mitra, the legendary Rabindra Sangeet singer.

- 'Remembering Salil Chowdhury' - by Lata Mangeskar.

Salil's name in South India is more well-known than many would imagine. Besides composing music for over 25 Malayalam films, Salil also composed music for Tamil,Telugu and Kannada films. One of the Tamil films is Karumbu which was to be directed by Salil's old friend and colleague from Chemmeen days - Ramu Kariat. Sadly this films was not released. Recently I received a request for the song Thingal Malai from Karumbu and it turned out that the lyrics of this song is from the Tamil epic Cilappathikaaram. Venkat from Canada sent me a wonderful article "A Melody Regained" which explains the origin of this song and the epic.