When lyrics and books intertwined
Sajjad Hussain, Latiful Islam Shibli and the late Sanjeeb Chowdhury were three lyricists who left a mark as lyricists cum writers
Remember LRB's "Hashte Dekho Gaite Dekho", or Sanjeeb Choudhury's "Ami Tomakei Bole Debo"? The lyrics of these songs are deeply immersed and embedded inside our hearts.
The popular lyricists of such songs gave us some of the greatest Bangla songs of all time. They not only entertained us with their lyrics, but also gave us another reason to rejoice their words through the pages of books, which have remained a favourite among their fans till date.
Latiful Islam Shibli
Latiful Islam Shibli is a famous lyricist who wrote hundreds of songs and has worked with popular bands such as LRB, Miles and Nagar Baul. Some of his famous songs are "Ami Koshto Pete Bhalobashi" and "Hashte Dekho Gaite Dekho"by LRB, and "Jail Theke Bolchi" by Nagar Baul. These songs made him a household name.
"Bangladesh Band Sangeet Andolon" is the first ever book to be written about the revolution of band music in the early 90s. The book records the birth of music and history about prominent bands until 1998.
During the early 90s, many cultural elitists deemed band music as "counterculture". Shibly proposed writing a book about the Bangladeshi band culture, which shocked Bangla Academy.
Fortunately, Shibli was able to convince the Bangla Academy authorities by talking to them about the impactful works of musicians during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh" raised awareness and funds for the liberation war while Azam Khan invoked the spirit of passion through his works as a freedom fighter and singer during Bangladesh's fight for independence.
The famous lyricist has written four books. His novels "Darbish: The Saint", "Dokhol: The Seize", "Asman" and "Rakhal", which tell real life stories with fictional characters.
"Darbish: The Saint" talks about the effects of Cold War while "Dokhol: The Seize" talks about the underground conflict and politics of Dhaka.
"Asman" tells the story of an ex-musician who became a part of the Taliban movement while "Rakhal" talks about the tragedies of Sati practice.
The prominent lyricist cum writer's next project will be writing a war story which will outline the effects of war, love and loneliness that grapples society.
Late musician Sanjeeb Chowdhury is prominently known for his band Dalchhut, but he was also a writer cum journalist.
"Rushprint" is the title of his only book, which was first published in 1990. It was out of print for a long time and in 2011, the book was republished.
Sanjeeb worked as a journalist in a number of newspapers. His poetry, plays and prose published in newspapers date back to the 1980s and continued to the 1990s. "Rushprint" is a compilation of all of his works.
If anybody wants to explore Sanjeeb's life beyond musicianship, this book is the best place to start. Sanjeeb was a deeply soulful person and his writing reflected his angst against the military regime of the 1980s. His poems spoke for the oppressed and he did not shy away from mocking the oppressors.
It would not be an overstatement to call "Rushprint" a political satire. It is also an elegy for the general public whose voices often go unheard.
Sajjad Hussain worked with the legendary singer Ayub Bachchu for 14 years. He has written lyrics for their album "Sporsho", from which "Sabitri Roy" has become a cult favourite among the fans of LRB. According to Sajjad, many series have been loosely based on this song for e.g. Anisul Haque's 'Dainik Tolpar.'
Before becoming a lyricist, Sajjad Hussain used to write poems for children. In 2018, he started his publication house "ChhapaKhanar Bhoot", through which he published the biography of Anjan Dutt titled "Anjanjatra".
Sajjad Hussain spent three days with Anjan Dutt in Darjeeling to discuss his life and how 10 years in the beautiful city shaped it.
"Anjanjatra" explores Anjan's important life experiences amidst the wonders of Darjeeling. The book entails details about the interesting bits in Anjan's life about the first relationship and his first time getting into a fight.
In 2019, Sajjad wrote another book on the theater life of Anjan Dutt. This time, the writer brought Anjan Dutt to perform two shows in Dhaka titled "Salesman'er Sangsar". The book was published as the play was being screened.
His latest book "Kobira" is based on the life of Indian songwriter Kabir Sumon. The book was scheduled to be published in March but was halted due to the pandemic, "Kobira" was finally published in June.
According to Sajjad, the book has already sold almost 100 copies in Bangladesh and Kolkata within a month.
Sajjad's upcoming projects include writing an anthology about the greatest artists of Bangladesh and Kolkata along with a biography of Moheener Ghoraguli - the popular folk rock band from Kolkata.