(Song for Sunil )
Kabir Suman remembers the author in style
Sunil Ganguly has left Kolkata bereft, but life continues. Kabir Suman has captured the poet’s passing and the sense of loss in his new song, Oi rastar bankey. The song was written and put to tune on October 24, a day after the literary icon breathed his last at his Mandeville Gardens residence.
The song that speaks about two lovers bumping into each other at the turn of a road and then going on a journey, is not a tribute, says Suman. “It’s a shocking thought that the city remains what it is, but without Sunil. Though I’ve never been a die-hard Sunil fan, he has been part of my growing up and even ageing. He has always been somewhere in the backdrop. And like a true artiste, I felt that he had been looking for something â€” Neera, for example,” he says. Neera, for Suman, is a metaphor â€” not always a symbol of sexual love, but almost always of romance. “There have been erosions, but this is a mad, mad city of love and romance. The song came to me accidentally… it was like an encounter. And like two lovers who meet accidentally, not knowing the point till where they can travel together, my romance with this city continues,” says Suman.
The song that begins with Oi rastar bankei holo dekha/ hochot khelam dujone duibhabe, is replete with real-life references. “The first time I read Sunil’s Atmaprakash, I literally stumbled. What an arrival! His Neera too is a metaphor for what the city is. Sunil had taken on a life-long journey of touching her, feeling her, discovering her. And now, Neera is left looking for Sunil,” he explains. No wonder, the song ends with the line, “Neerao ekhon khunjchhe Sunilkei”. Love is eternal, even if lovers aren’t.