The multi-faceted genius of Rabindra Sangeet doyen and composer Jyotirindra Nath Moitra, who scored music in Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara, is one aspect that has long been the subject of many addas in the Bengali community.
Fondly called Botukda, the late maestro still manages to evoke memories.
One of the Capital’s oldest social-cultural organisations, Karol Bagh Bangiya Samsad, celebrated the birth centenary of Jyotirindra where the Bengali community got an opportunity to relish his works.
Born in 1912, Jyotirindra came into prominence during the Bengal famine of 1942 when he came together with like-minded associates and composed songs in protest.
‘My father was trained by Sarla Devi, Indira Devi...They were related to Rabindranath Tagore’s family. Our grandfather had good ties with the Tagores. Tagore had himself used the houseboat of Moitras on many occasions,’ Jyotirindra’s daughter Susmita Roychodhury said.
Among the many movies in which Jyotirindra gave music direction include Meghe Dhaka Tara, Putul Nacher Itikatha, Kancher Swargo, Kumari Mon and Komol Gandhar.
Commenting on his father’s experiment with sounds, Siddhartha Moitra said: ‘It was perhaps a unique experiment he did with a simple object like whip in Megha Dhaka Tara. He used the ‘whipping’ sound as a score for the background music to bring an edge to the film’s scene.’
Nostalgia loomed large as Jyotirindra’s family members remembered him as a ‘Medusa’ haired character with a dedicated but unique approach to music.
He had many first to his credits, his son Siddhartha said. ‘He brought Rabindrasangeet to the masses. His inclination towards Western music was also remarkable. As a social activist, he was among the first members of the anti-Fascist movement in Bengal in 1942,’ Siddhartha said.
Asked about his father’s association with Satyajit Ray, Jyotirindra’s eldest son Santanu said: ‘Ray had mentioned that one of the characters of his film Kanchenjungha was based on my father.’