A chat with lyricist Jahangir Rana | The Daily Star
02:06 PM, June 12, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:15 PM, June 12, 2021

Diasporarts Talk

A chat with lyricist Jahangir Rana

Jahangir Rana is a poet and television presenter in Channel S, London, UK. He is well known as a lyricist in Bangladesh and the UK to Bengali music lovers. "Hiya", a moulik song written and composed by him, has crossed 25 million views online. He spoke about his journey in a chat with The Daily Star.

Tell us about your journey that began in Bangladesh in the 1990s.

 I started my journey in 1984 when I was in class nine. My first written poem "Aarti" was published in a local magazine called "Shakha-borak".  Now, when I am in my fifties, I still can remember that day when I saw my poem in a printed book. It felt like I had won the world.

How and when did you decide to focus on music?

My Amma sang occasionally, but it was hard for her to sing outside home, as she came from a religious background. I grew up listening to her amazing voice. I learned Nazrul Sangeet and adhunik songs from Amma even before I went to secondary school.

How do you recall the early days of your creative ventures in Bangladesh and the UK?

 In the nineties when I was in Bangladesh, it felt like I have nothing in my life without music. I was searching for the right path for my musical journey, and moving from one place to another. In 1985, I got admitted to Suroddhoni Music School in Nabiganj. In 1990, I met Ustad Himangshu Biswas in Sylhet. I came to the UK towards the end of 2000. I met Ustad Mahmudur Rahman Benu in 2006 and started taking lessons. But I would like to mention that I did not just want to become a singer. My main focus was to know the basic form of ragas and their application so that when I will start composing on my own lyrics, it will be easier.

Your life in the UK seems to be busy with family, work and socialisation. How do you create space for writing songs?

I believe that if you are doing what you want to do, you stay committed to it, no matter what. Even with a family and other responsibilities, I just continue to follow my dream.

Tell us about the experience of making your popular song 'Hiya', which was sung by Nishita Barua. It has now crossed 25 million views online.

 I would like to mention that I am indebted to music legends Sabina Yasmin, Andrew Kishore, Syed Abdul Hadi and Subir Nandi, for working with me and inspiring me. "Hiya" has received a lot of praise, at a time when most moulik songs are remakes of old songs. In the meantime, rare Loko Sangeet or folk songs are becoming popular. It is difficult to capture the attention of the masses with an original track. I am very fortunate that "Hiya" has attracted Bengali audiences all over the globe. Nishita Barua did an amazing job, and she deserves more credit than me. I would also like to thank Shan, who arranged the music. It was a good team effort.


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