Top 3 Favourites
I feel his songs are the strongest ammunition that he might have given to his people and as a Bengali I feel honored that only we can understand the strength of his songs, which are much more than just “Ekla Chalo”, and “Jana Gana Mana”. He himself has classified his songs based on the theme. The devotional songs are classified under “Puja” or worship, love songs under “Prem”, nature-related songs under “Prakriti”, patriotic songs under “Swadesh”, and then there are many other ballads and other smaller sub categories. Most of the poems in Gitanjali are in the “Puja” section. Very interestingly most of Tagore’s devotional songs can be treated as intense love songs and vice versa. After all it’s always ‘LOVE’, be it for God or human. The simplicity of the words and the perfect music he has composed for the songs amaze me like nothing. It’s the perfect synchronization between the music and each word that makes them unique. Over the years I’ve generated this habit of reading the lyrics of his songs at leisure. The simple lyrics offer the magnificence and vastness that I seldom get from anything else. Even the music, without the words, can bring out the meaning of the song. Tagore might have been the first person to start a tradition of composing songs with a plethora of elements like folk, traditional, classical ranging from the puritan ‘dhrupad’ to lighter styles, western music etc. The modern day Indian movie songs also follow the same pattern and tradition. I don’t think anyone else in India has experimented with so many styles of music. His songs provide a synopsis of almost all popular forms of Indian music. I do accept that there have been many other music composers in India who have might have composed better music than Tagore. But I don’t think anyone else offered this much diversity. The over obsession of the Bengalis with Tagore might be due to the fact they never got anything more diverse.
One of the aspects of Tagore's compositions that attacts me most is the simplicity of the notes. His songs are quite easy compared to most other songs by any other composer in India. Still it touches the chords of my heart. The songs are so rich in melody that the technical components never come to mind. The way Tagore used to adapt the various forms of music into his songs is just marvellous. Some of his earlier compositions were highly influenced by Western Music, but still remained immortal in the hearts of the Bengalis as pure Bengali songs. His songs have been part of my growing up. I kept on re-discovering his songs from time to time as I grew up. It appears to me that his songs also grow up and mature with you. His songs are like diamonds which take the color of the light that falls on them. The same song evokes different feelings and passions at different stages of life depending on the perspective, outlook and maturity. The best example is perhaps one of the most popular songs - "Purano Sei Diner Kotha", inspired by both the lyrics and music of the 18th Century Scottish song "Auld Lang Syne". It's a nostalgic song about days gone by. The lyrics are very plain and simple about the yearnings for getting back the old days and the long lost friends. The underlying nostalgia is so intense and universal in the music that the song is sung by almost everyone at all occassions. Inherently all people are nostalgic at every point of time and we always live for ever to get back a past moment. At every stage of life the nostalgia has a different starture and significance.
Tagore's songs are always relevant at all stages.
My favourite Rabindranath's compositions used in movies
My favourite Salil Chowdhury's Bengali compositions
My favourite Salil Chowdhury's Hindi compositions
My favourite R D Burman's Bengali compositions
My favourite R D Burmans Hindi compositions