She burst onto the music scene in 2015 and bagged the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer in less than two years. There has been no looking back since. In a candid chat with RBN, Iman Chakraborty lets her heart loose.
You are juggling various genres of music these days
True. Rabindranath is of course my most favourite domain (laughs). Nothing gives me more pleasure than Tagore songs. That aside, I am singing a lot of folk songs these days and of course my original compositions. So it’s a mixed platter you see (laughs).
Are the album days over in Bengali music?
I really don’t think so. I don’t have much confidence in singers releasing singles these days. A complete album with seven-eight songs is more meaningful, like it has been all these years. Yes, we have to ride the trend. But this is unlikely to last. I am not hopeful of it.
But how do you popularise basic songs? Film music is the only thing we get to hear these days
Somewhere down the line you need to have a movement to restore the popularity of solo artistes and basic songs. If singers don’t sing basic songs, the entire realm of Bengali music will be under threat. Stalwarts like Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and Manna De used to release private albums regularly vis-à-vis their film commitments. Even our immediate seniors like Nachida (Nachiketa Chakraborty) and Lopadi (Lopamudra Mitra) made their name through basic songs. However, in our case, the situation is very dicey. But it’s our responsibility to reach basic songs more to the audience.
But how does a singer get to reach his/her songs to the masses? These days, people listen to music, but they don’t buy them. If the revenue doesn’t come in, how do artistes get the impetus to carry on with their work?
Those who ushered in the alternative trend in Bengali music in the early 1990s, have largely shifted to film music. Alternative music has become more mainstream. Today, the sounds of the two forms are almost similar, and that also includes songwriting. Now, those who hold the baton of Bengali music these days, should come forward and show the way of survival for solo artistes. Leading singers and composers have their own fan base. So when one of them releases an album, at least some of their fans will buy it. In that way, the revenue will keep rolling. We have to feed the audience with our own original compositions.
And the promotions?
FM channels have a big role to play in this regard. Most channels hardly play two or three Bengali songs in the whole day. Hindi songs rule the airtime. This is not correct. In the past, several singers, like Subhamitadi (Subhamita Banerjee) and Monomoyda (Monomoy Bhattacharya), came up from FM channels. We, from the present generation of singers, are less fortunate and are not getting that platform to promote our works.
Your upcoming projects?
There are a number of projects that I am working in. You will get to hear me in Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s film Sonar Pahar. Neel Dutt is in charge of composing the music. Then there’s Rajarshi Dey’s Shubho Noboborsho. I have also worked in a few projects with Anupamda (Roy). It’s always a pleasure to work with him. A few more projects with SVF are also lined up.
Any plans to work outside Bengal?
In the last two years, after my song in Praktan became a hit, I never got the time to plan my work. I just went on with the flow of things, doing innumerable stage shows. I need to squeeze out time to reorganise myself and definitely have plans to work beyond Bengal.