Article Bengali

Happy birthday Shreya Ghoshal: 10 most popular Bengali film songs

On the playback singer's 35th birthday, we revisit 10 of her most popular Bengali film songs that won hearts, and earned accolades from critics as well.

Roushni Sarkar

Leading Indian singer Shreya Ghoshal lent her voice to various Bengali albums before she made her debut as a playback singer with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas in 2002. After winning the 75th children’s episode of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, she recorded her first studio album Bendhechhi Beena, which was released in 1998. Her cover renditions of various eternal numbers by Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Parvin Sultana and Sabita Chowdhury for the album earned her instant popularity.

Later she recorded more albums, including O Tota Pakhi Re, Ekti Kotha (1999), Mukto Porag (2000), Rupase Raate (2002), Bonomali Re (2002), before she made her debut in Bengali cinema with Swapan Saha’s Guru in 2003. Ghoshal has sung in films in 10 languages other than Hindi and has won four National Film Awards, six Filmfare Awards and various other prestigious ones.

On Ghoshal’s 35th birthday, we revisit 10 of her most popular Bengali film songs that won hearts, and earned accolades from critics as well.

1. 'Pagla Hawar Badal Dine' — The Bong Connection (2007)

Originally composed and written by Rabindranath Tagore, 'Pagal Hawar Badal Dine' created quite a stir as Ghoshal lent her voice to its urbanised version by Neet Dutt. She created a perfect blend with a smart rendition of the prelude and the interludes incorporated by the composer while retaining the core essence of the song in its different stanzas. The incorporation of Dutt magnified the wild approach of the song and Ghoshal did perfect justice to it. The song was equally well accepted by the new generation and was scorned off by traditionalists as well.

2. 'Jao Pakhi' — Antaheen (2009)

One of Shreya Ghoshal’s most acclaimed Bengali songs, 'Jao Pakhi', was composed by Shantanu Moitra. Apart from its unconventional music arrangement, the song had special appeal for its lyrics written by Anindya Chatterjee and Chandril Bhattacharya, comprising imageries of magic realism. Ghoshal lends her coyness and the bliss of a blooming romance in the song, infused with raag Miyanki Malhar. Also, Ghoshal’s vocal syncs with Radhika Apte’s onscreen personality that adds to the song’s effect manifold.

3. 'Pherari Mon' — Antaheen (2009)

Shreya Ghoshal won the National Film Award for Best Playback Singer (Female) for her rendition of 'Pherari Mon' - a duet with Babul Supriyo. Lyricists Anindya Chatterjee and Chandril Bhattacharya too received the National Award for best lyrics for the same. The blend of jazz with a melodious tune touched the hearts of the audience as both singers let their voices glide through the song. Ghoshal’s soft rendition brings out the melody inherent in the song to a great deal and so does her harmony at certain sections. The song can be considered to be the theme song of the film as it speaks about the eternal desires and hopes of life that don’t remain secret no matter hard one tries.

4. 'Ari Ari' — Jackpot (2009)

The fast and peppy number by Jeet Gannguli expresses secret complains for a friend, who is not ready to spend much time or give company. Shreya Ghoshal injests melody along with a subtle naughtiness as the song, dedicated to the friend, describes the various pros and cons along with the little joys and conflicts in a friendship. The song also carries innocence, dramatized by Ghoshal, who brings out the lively and refreshing approach of the tune.

5. 'Chol Rastaye' — Autograph (2010)

Composed by Debajyoti Mishra, the song expresses the pathos of an unrequited love with urbane lyrics, written by Srijato Bandopadhyay. The westernised composition has a lot of experiment with chords and a beautiful utilisation of harmonica. The experiment goes well with the play of English and Bengali words that are taken from daily conversations. Shreya Ghoshal’s rendition makes all the underlying experiments flawless and also brings relief when the tune hits the major scales.

6. 'Megher Palok' — Natobar Notout (2010)

Debajyoti Mishra’s composition Megher Palok, written by filmmaker Kamaleswar Mukherjee, expresses the vulnerable emotions of a budding romance with fairytale-like imageries. Mishra made this song interesting by incorporating lines from Tagore’s song 'Momo Chitte Niti Nritye' that go perfectly well with the sentiments of ecstatic bliss. Ghoshal’s serene voice gels well with the words. as well as the mood of the song, in which melody plays an important role.

7. 'Bishe Bishe Nil' — Iti Mrinalini: An Unfinished Letter... (2011)

Inspired by old classic cabaret songs, this composition by Debajyoti Mishra brings out the seductive shades of the versatile singer. Written by Srijit Mukherji, the song talks about the intoxications of life — the calls for living life without inhibitions. Mishra has infused flamenco style of rhythm and guitar along with a touch of salsa that brings out the essence of uninhibited celebration in the song. Shreya Ghoshal's owns this unique composition with her command over three octaves and experimental rhythm patterns, making it sound seamless and youthful.

8. 'Gobhire Jao' — Baishe Srabon (2011)

One of Anupam Roy’s memorable compositions, 'Gobhire Jao' was rendered by Shreya Ghoshal and Rupankar Bagchi. The song is a fusion of semi classical tunes, as well as alternative rock style. Ghoshal changes her modulation and approach and does justice to both the aspects of the song that is rich in philosophy. The song urges to go beyond superficial and material attachments of life and look deep. The song suggests that there is no end to the quest for finding the truth.

9. 'Je Kawta Din' — Baishe Srabon (2011)

The typical Anupam Roy composition is a romantic number that yearns for a lost love. Roy has blended both sensuality and sweetness with nostalgia in the soft number, rendered well by himself and Shreya Ghoshal. The tune of the song is relatively simple, yet both Roy and Ghoshal could reach the hearts of the present generation with this song that is quite basic in terms of its emotions and approach.

10. 'Tui Chunli Jakhan' — Samantaral (2017)

One of Indraadip Dasgupta’s memorable compositions 'Tui Chhunli Jakhan' was rendered by Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal. A beautiful, innocent composition on the submission in love, the song features Riddhi Sen and Surangana Bandopadhyay. Their amorous frolics are beautifully aided by the two leading singers’ vocals in a melodious composition that glides effortlessly on both low and high notes, bereft of complexities.