Somerita Mallik began training in music at the tender age of two and a half years. She trained under various eminent personalities like Aparajita Ghosh and Subhankar Bhaskar. She is now busy with the Ghazals of Kazi Nazrul Islam. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent Priyanka Dutta engages the talented singer in a candid conversation.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana–Tell us something about your background & how did you become interested in music?
Somerita Mallik– I grew up in a musical environment where my mother, Smt.Surupa Mallik used to sing Nazrulgeeti and my father, Sri Samar Kumar Mallik played the Tabla and Esraj. From my early childhood I was interested in music. My mother used to sing ‘ghum parani gan’(Bengali Lori songs) at bedtime. One day she was trying to make me sing the same Lori song and I could copy a little bit of it. I was only two-and-half years then. That’s how my training in music started.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Your mother was the first guru that you had. How has she helped in your musical training?
Somerita Mallik– She is my all time inspiration and my musical training began under her guidance. One thing I want to share that other than my parents I am also very much thankful to my younger sister, Somedutta for her all time support.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana–You are also receiving training under various eminent music personalities. How is that helping in shaping your music career?
Somerita Mallik-I started learning Nazrulgeeti and Indian classical music from Krishnendu Bhattacharya at the age of 11 years. I’m still taking my talims(lessons) from Smt. Aparajita Ghosh and Sri Subhankar Bhaskar.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– When did you become interested in Kazi Nazrul Islam’s Ghazals?
Somerita Mallik– Kazi Nazrul Islam was a versatile composer. He wrote songs on myriad of subjects. His Ghazals are one of various types of Nazrulgeeti. He was also the first one who successfully composed Ghazals in Bengali. But prior to that, he translated ‘Rubaiyat’ by Hafiz in Bengali. During this time, his son Bulbul died. After completing his translations, he dedicated his book ‘Rubaiyat-E-Hafiz’ to his beloved son Bulbul. In his writings, we can find the name ‘Bulbul’ several times.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana–Tell us something about Bulbul Kande Ghazal Gaane.
Somerita Mallik– Bulbul Kande Ghazal Gaane is a video album which is going to be released from ‘Questz World’ on the occasion of Kazi Nazrul Islam’s birthday. This is an effort to remember ‘Bulbul’ and the profound love and affection of Nazrul for his dead son. The Video-DVD is decorated with the detailed information on the songs along with 12 Ghazals of different types created by Kazi Nazrul Islam.The script is narrated by the legendary actor Sri Soumitra Chatterjee and the Nazrulgeetis are sung by me. This DVD also features a small documentary (crafted and created by Swagato Gangopadhyay) which includes clippings of various places of Churulia, where Nazrul was born and lived for many years. It was also enriched by introductions of those places by Kazi Rezaul Karim, son of Nazrul’s brother. In this film, the well-known singer of yesteryears Banasree Sengupta, classical musician Mallar Ghosh (son of Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh), Japanese nun Chika Tsurumaru and others expressed their views about Nazrul and this venture. This project, released from ‘Questz World’ is one of the first projects where numerous associates and partners of both India and Bangladesh, as well as from various other countries tied up together to be the part of it by promoting and distributing the same.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana–Do you think the DVD that will be coming out on the poet’s Ghazals will have some archival value?
Somerita Mallik– The album will surely have some archival value because I think, most probably it is the first one to consist of Kazi Nazrul Islam’s Ghazals and detailed information related to it and also this project is probably first of such performances by Soumitra Chatterjee on Kazi Nazrul Islam’s creations.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana–You already have three album releases. What is the next album that you are working on?
Somerita Mallik– My next album is on Kazi Nazrul Islam’s folk songs.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana–Do you have any plans to record songs for films?
Somerita Mallik-I have yet not thought about it. If I get an offer of this I will surely do so.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Have you ever thought of opening a school to propagate the knowledge that you have been gathering?
Somerita Mallik-I still consider myself as a student of music. I, therefore, have not thought about such things.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Are there any other poets or singers in consideration for similar projects like Bulbul Kande Ghazal Gaane?
Somerita Mallik– Last year I was working on a project on Abanindranath Tagore’s writings with Smt.Urmimala Bose, a renowned talk theatre artist. It was also a great experience for me. I have also an album with her. This is ‘Thamma, tomar songe. . .’,an album of Rabindra Sangeet with a talk theatre ,written by my younger sister Somedutta.
Interviewer: Priyanka Dutta
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.