In Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary, Amitabh Bachchan has sung a Rabindra Sangeet for Sujoy Ghosh’s forthcoming Vidya Balan starrer, Kahaani. Jodi tor daak shune keu na aashe tobe ekla chalo re (If no one responds to your call, then go your own way alone) is the iconic Bengali patriotic song, written by the Nobel laureate and published in the September issue of the Bengali magazine Bhandar in 1905.
It was incorporated in the Swadesh (homeland) section of Gurudev’s lyrical anthology Gitabitan and often used in the context of bringing in social and political changes. It was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs.
“I often hang around the studio with composers Vishal (Dadlani) and Shekhar (Ravjiani) and that day, Sujoy suddenly told me that he had a song in his movie that he wanted me to sing. I was a little wary because not being a professional singer, any kind of singing is difficult and this was a Rabindra Sangeet in a language I was not conversant with,” reminisces the superstar.
However, despite his initial reluctance, Bachchan was coaxed by Sujoy to attempt his first Bengali song. He admits that being a Tagore composition made ‘Ekla chalo re…’ doubly difficult to render. On his blog, the actor-singer has written the beauty of the language, the lyricism in the tune and the ‘dhun’ (music), describing it as an “outstanding” composition.
Talking on the subject, he expounds, "A Rabindra Sangeet has a structure that is not like that of a normal Hindi song in a movie. It has a unique flow, with words and tunes flowing into one another in a way that’s difficult to explain."
Bachchan has recorded the song to Sujoy’s satisfaction but insists that he himself is not happy with it. He says, "I plan to re-record it, again and again, till I get it right. Otherwise not just by Bengalis that considers me as jamai babu (son-in-law), my head will be chopped off in my own house."