Kolkata: Arunendu Das, widely considered a pioneer in alternative Bengali songwriting, breathed his last in the city yesterday. He was 81.
An alumni of the Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur, Arunendu started writing songs while in college. However, he never performed on stage, preferring to pursue songwriting only as a hobby. Arunendu moved to England in the late sixties for a career in architecture and had since lived there. He joined the Bicester folk club in Oxfordshire where he picked up several guitar techniques that helped him in composing his songs.
Mohiner Ghoraguli cofounder Gautam Chattopadhyay, widely credited to have ushered in the alternative songwriting movement in Bengal, paid Arunendu a visit at his Moore Avenue residence in south Kolkata in 1987 and collected many of his songs that were later included in the albums Aabaar Bochhor Kuri Pore, Jhora Samoyer Gaan, Maya, and Khyapar Gaan. All four albums were compiled by Mohiner Ghoraguli. Aabaar Bochhor Kuri Pore, released in 1995, is widely acknowledged to have singlehandedly popularised the band culture in West Bengal.
Ghare Ferar Gaan, written and composed by Arunendu and sung by Chandrani Banerjee, was one of the biggest hits in the late nineties.
Arunendu had a huge influence on the later generation of songwriters and composers. He performed live only once in 2013 in Kolkata.