Post 2010, the Bangla band culture hasn’t been prolific especially after the radio gave up their slots to air film songs. You also don’t find a Bangla band doing a mega launch of its album or a single like the mid-2000s. In such a scenario, it’s a welcome change to see Kolkata singers Ujjaini Mukherjee, Manomay Bhattacharyya and Rupankar Bagchi forming their own ‘band’ — UMR — which promises to offer original Hindi music. They had also released their first Hindi original, ‘Jab Barse Sona’ in Gallery Gold in Kolkata recently.
‘Jab Barse Sona’ is a soulful track composed by National Award-winning singer Rupankar. Penned by Ujjaini, the song has been shot beautifully and goes well with the mood of the track by the trio.
For Ujjaini, band means coming together of five like-minded people and making music. “The idea of UMR came to Rupankar da during lockdown. What more do you need when you have such talented musicians in your team,” says the singer. So, has she already written the other Hindi songs, we ask? “I have some and I am also writing a few more. It’s not that I will always write the lyrics and Rupankar da will compose. We might even collaborate with other musicians,” she says.
In fact, ‘collaboration’ is what attracted the veteran Usha Uthup to launch the first song of UMR. Uthup believes the brilliant ‘collaboration’ of Manomay, Rupankar and Ujjaini will work wonders for the band. “I have been singing in bands since 1969. UMR will work. We are at a stage now where we are looking out for collaborations, and I think collaborations are just fantastic,” she says. Rupankar echoes similar sentiments. “We are doing nothing revolutionary. We will try to create original Hindi numbers. If it doesn’t work, it won’t,” he says nonchalantly.
Uthup also joins the Hindi language debate and says she is glad that “UMR has chosen Hindi” as its language. “We keep saying language doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter like I sang Srivalli in Bengali. So, it’s not just the language but it is the language also. I am glad that UMR has selected Hindi because people around the world can listen to something in Hindi. It is not necessary to say which region we come from,” says the legendary singer, whose first memoir ‘The Queen of Indian Pop’ was recently released.
Manomay has been singing Bengali songs for 25 years, so venturing into Hindi is a new challenge for him. “We wouldn’t sing any Bengali tracks in the band. We might come up with remake songs and compose originals,” he says.