To kickstart this series, we would like to take you as far back as 1975, where the birth of probably the first Independent Band in India took place and it was in the land of West Bengal.
MOHINEER GHORAGULI, a Bengali Independent music outfit was formed by Gautam Chattopadhyay along with Pradip Chatterjee, Tapan Das, Ranjan Ghosh, Tapash Bandhopadhyay and a few others in Kolkata. The scenario wasn’t any different back then because their compositions weren’t received too well by the audience as the lyrics of the songs mostly depicted the true and the brutal reality of the society during that period. The band was never just about the music. It reflected the 70’s, the society and its political turmoil. Gautam Chattopadhyay had strong political beliefs and this was clearly visible in the music which was being portrayed by the band.
In terms of musicality, many people had the opinion that the band was much ahead of its time. They freely experimented with elements from the Baul Shongeet (which is the rural folk for Bengal) and tried fusing it with Western music elements. The band recorded three studio albums during this period from 1977-1979. It’s most popular track happens to be “Prithibita Naki” which depicts how television creates urban alienation. This track was in fact used by Pritam in the movie Gangster by the name Bheegi Bheegi and T-Series has not yet provided any credits on the official YouTube Channel.
Although the music of Mohineer was slow to catch up with the audience in its initial stages but it was picking up pace in the 90’s. The band finally dissolved with the untimely death of Gautam Chattopadhyay in 1999. In December 2007, a concert was arranged ensemlbing all associates of Mohiner Ghoraguli, singers and musicians associated with Gautam Chattopadhyay. The 3-hour concert was held at Nicco Park and went on to be one of the biggest concert of recent times. Ranjan Ghoshal was the man behind the show and the entire music arrangement was done and conducted by Abraham Mazumdar.
Mohineer Ghoraguli were truly one of the pioneers of the Indian Independent Scene and we hope the musicians of today can draw up some inspiration from them.
“Prithibita Naki” .