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Happy birthday Rupam Islam: 5 most popular film songs by the prolific singer

On his 45th birthday, we look at five of the most popular film songs of the singer — known for his unique voice texture and incredible energy —  that kept his career graph upwards despite the overall decline of the band culture in Bengal.

Roushni Sarkar

The pioneer of Bengali rock music, Rupam Islam is now one of the busiest playback singers in the Bengali film industry. The composer, lyricist, lead vocalist of iconic Bengali band Fossils, received his first National Award for Best Male Playback Singer for his song 'Ei To Ami' for Mahanagar @ Kolkata (2010).

Born to musician parents Nurul Islam and Chhandiita Islam, Rupam is a prolific artiste who has also made his contribution to modern Bengali literature. Like all his albums, his books Epitaph (2006) and Rupam On The Rocks (2009) were once the most sought-after books among the youth of Bengal.

Rupam made his debut as a playback singer with Hindi film Jannat: In Search of Heaven... (2008) and his rendition of 'Jannat Jahan' became immensely popular. He has lent his voice to various films, including Chalo Let's Go (2008), Madly Bangali (2009), Angshumaner Chhobi (2009), Shukno Lankaa (2008), Autograph (2010), Jiyo kaka (2011), Baishe Srabon (2011), Hemlock Society (2012) and Happy Pill (2018).

On his 45th birthday today (25 January), Cinestaan.com looks at five of the most popular film songs of the singer — known for his unique voice texture and incredible energy —  that kept his career graph upwards despite the overall decline of the band culture in Bengal.
1. 'Come Cross The line' from Chalo Let’s Go (2008)

Anjan Dutt’s film Chalo Let’s Go (2008) opens with this song composed by Neel Dutt and penned by Rupam Islam himself. The song is performed by Rudranil Ghosh, Parambrata Chatterjee and Ritwick Chakraborty in a pub and at the same time, the credits of the film roll.

Much like its bilingual title, the song is bilingual too. Rupam sings with his usual infectious energy as the song speaks of crossing various kinds of borders that represent restrictions and inhibitions. The song calls out to not fear darkness nor harbour any psychological restraints as there is freedom and the hope of a new morning on the other side of the line. The lyrics also insist on forgetting the manmade barriers of prejudices and take a brave step to cross the line in the most turbulent times to experience the ultimate liberation and truth.

2. 'Benche Thakar Gaan' from Autograph (2010)

The song from Srijit Mukherji’s debut film Autograph (2010) not only became an anthem for the college goers and gained huge popularity, but it also proved to be a milestone in the career of newcomer composer and lyricist Anupam Roy and Mukherji himself as it added to the popularity of the film as well.

The song, jointly written by Roy and music composer Debajyoti Mishra is an ode to life. It talks about all the precious yet non-materialistic possessions of life - the copy of favourite poems, some urbane conversations and the touch of the beloved. The song describes a passionate zeal for clinging to life amidst the quicksand of evils. However, the credit for making this relevant and contemporaneous composition popular goes to Rupam as he infuses passion and urbane energy that is typical of his singing style.

3. 'Ei To Ami' from Mahanagar @ Kolkata (2010)

Composed and written by Rupam himself, the National Award winning song from Mahanagar @ Kolkata (2010) reminds a lot of the original compositions by the band Fossils. Neither the song nor the lyrics are soothing to the ears. It talks about complex emotions in a music arrangement that is quite chaotic as well. The song explores the darker alleys of love. It talks about the grief in witnessing tears in the beloved’s eye, as well as the complacence in achieving physical pleasure that often doesn’t assure spiritual union. The singer conveys how love often becomes a laborious process of selling one’s soul in an attempt to discover the bliss of heaven in the mortal world and in that process of finding true love, one often only turns into a lifeless entity of flesh and bones.

4. 'Ei Srabon' from Baishe Srabon (2011)

'Ei Srabon' from Srijit Mukherjee’s Baishe Srabon (2011) is the result of another successful partnership between Rupam, Anupam Roy and the director himself. An unusual fusion composition for the singer, who was primarily trained at Indian classical music, 'Ei Srabon' is also written by Rupam.

In the song, there is an acceptance of the delusions and all the grey areas of life. The singer, here, calls out to Srabon, the month of rain, to cleanse the dust filled streets that are symbolic of a mundane life, the long shadows that represent distance and erase all the differences and rejuvenate the wishes and dreams that he secretly preserves in his heart. The song has a repetitive tune that draws the attention primarily to the rich lyrics of the song, well put by the singer.  

5. 'Phiriye Dewar Gaan' from Hemlock Society (2012)

The singer proves his excellence in this song from Hemlock Society (2012) on complex and confused emotions on separating from the beloved. The singer starts with a light-hearted approach and gradually infuses his usual intensity with the progression of the chords on the upper notes.

Composed and written by Anupam Roy, the song expresses the helplessness of not forgetting the beloved easily and delves into the thought whether it is important to free the beloved from the clutches of all the lures and illusions of love. The heart tries to ignore all the signals of union, yet secretly preserves the precious feeling of love at the same time. Rupam expresses a lot of vulnerability with passion that also goes well with the visuals of the song featuring Parambrata and Koel Mullick.