Salil Chowdhury

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Salil Chowdhury
Image of Salil Chowdhury
Salil Chowdhury (1922-1995)
Background information
Birth nameSalil Chowdhury
Also known asSalil da
Born(1922-11-19)November 19, 1922[1]
OriginChingripotha, 24 Parganas district,
West Bengal, India[1]
DiedSeptember 5, 1995(1995-09-05) (aged 72)
OccupationsMusic Director, Composer, Poet, Lyricist and Story-writer
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Salil Chowdhury
Image of Salil Chowdhury
Salil Chowdhury (1922-1995)
Background information
Birth nameSalil Chowdhury
Also known asSalil da
Born(1922-11-19)November 19, 1922[1]
OriginChingripotha, 24 Parganas district,
West Bengal, India[1]
DiedSeptember 5, 1995(1995-09-05) (aged 72)
OccupationsMusic Director, Composer, Poet, Lyricist and Story-writer

Salil Chowdhury (Bengali: সলিল চৌধুরী, Hindi: सलिल चौधरी, Malayalam: സലില്‍ ചൗധരി) was an Indian music composer, who mainly composed for Bengali, Hindi, and Malayalam films. He was also a poet and a playwright. He is affectionately called Salilda by his admirers.

His musical genius was widely recognized[1] and acknowledged in the Indian film industry. He was an accomplished arranger and was proficient in several musical instruments, including flute, the piano, and the esraj. He was also widely acclaimed and admired[1] for his inspirational and original poetry.



Early influences

Salil's childhood was spent[1] in the tea gardens of Assam. From an early age he listened to the Western Classical collection of his father.[1] His father was reputed to stage plays with coolies and other low-paid workers of the tea-gardens. He graduated from Bangabasi College, an affiliate of the University of Calcutta in Kolkata and it was during this period of time that his political ideas were formulated quickly along with a considerable maturity in his musical ideas. He was a man with excellent talent.

In 1944, a young Salil came to Calcutta for his graduate studies. He joined the IPTA[1] (Indian Peoples Theater Association) the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India. He started writing songs[1] and setting tunes for them.[1] The IPTA theatrical outfit travelled through the villages and the cities bringing these songs to the common man. Songs like Bicharpati, Runner and Abak prithibi[1] became extremely popular with the general population at the time.

Songs like Gaayer bodhu, which he composed at the age of 20, brought about a new wave of Bengali music.[1] Almost every notable singer at the time from West Bengal had sung at least one of his songs. A few examples are Hemanta Mukherjee, Shyamal Mitra, Manabendra Mukherjee and Pratima Banerjee. His family was original from Village Baharu, of 24 Pgs(S)

Film career

His first Bengali film "Paribortan" (translation: Transformation) was released in 1949. "Mahabharati" released in 1994 was the last of his 41 Bengali films.

Salil da's debut in the Hindi Film Industry came in 1953[1] as the Music Director for Do Bigha Zamin by Bimal Roy. The film was the cinematic version of Salil Chowdhury's short story named "Ricksawala".[1] It also took his career to new heights when it became the first film to win the Filmfare Best Movie Award and won the international Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

After about 20 years in Bengali and Hindi films, Salil da entered Malayalam films in 1964 with Chemmeen.[1] Almost all of his Malayalam songs became popular irrespective of the performance of the films they were made for.

He went on to compose for over 75 Hindi films, over 40 Bengali films, around 26 Malayalam films, and several Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Oriya and Assamese films.

The western influence

Salil da's music showed an equally rich blend of Western and Indian classical music.

Some of his straight adaptations of Western Classical Music include

Salil Choudhry broke into mainstream Hindi music with his stirring compositions for Madhumati starring Dilip Kumar and Vaijaintimala. Songs like "aaja re paradesi" and "dil tadap tadap" are immortal classics.


Salil Chowdhury was married to Sabita Chowdhury. He has two daughters and two sons.

Salilda's wife was a very good singer and daughter, Antara Chowdhury is currently a performing artist in her own right. She recently sang for Sudhir Mishra's hit Khoya Khoya Chand in a duet with Sonu Nigam. Antara has many forthcoming projects intended to preserve the legacy of her father and bridge the gaps between old and new generations. A new album entitled Generations: Volume 1 produced by her brother, Bobby Chowdhury with compositions by Salil Chowdhury and Sanjoy Chowdhury is slated to be released Spring 2008. Hindi and Bengali singles from the album have been released on the iTunes Music Store worldwide. These include in Hindi, "kyon beheke hain / stranger" and "chale ayona / so far away" with lyrics by Yogesh and music by Sanjoy and in Bengali, "esho boshona / sit beside me" and "dur ojanate / far away" with lyrics by Salil Chowdhury and Tarun respectively and music by Sanjoy.


Salil's music was a unique blending of the Eastern and the Western music traditions. He had once said: 'I want to create a style which shall transcend borders - a genre which is emphatic and polished, but never predictable'. He dabbled in a lot of things and it was his ambition to achieve greatness in everything he did. But at times, his confusion was fairly evident - 'I do not know what to opt for: poetry, story writing, orchestration or composing for films. I just try to be creative with what fits the moment and my temperament' he once told a journalist.

Salil's love for Western classical music started when he was a young boy growing up in an Assam tea garden where his father worked as a doctor. His father inherited a large number of western classical records and a gramophone from a departing Irish doctor. While Salil listened to Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, etc. everyday, his daily life was surrounded by the sound of the forest, chirping of the birds, sound of the flute and the local folk-music. This left a lasting impression in young Salil. He became an excellent self-taught flute player and his favourite composer was Mozart. His compositions often used folk melodies or melodies based on Indian classical ragas but the orchestration was very much western in its construction. He developed a unique style which was immediately identifiable

[citation needed]


(84 titles)
1995 Mera Damad (as Salil Chowdhury)

1995 Thumboli Kadappuram

1994 Triyacharitra

1994 Swami Vivekananda (film)

1991 Khilaaf (as Salim Chowdhury)

1991 Vasthuhara (as Salil Chowdhury)

1990 Nehru: The Jewel of India

1989 Aakhri Badla (music / as Salil Choudhary)

1989 Kamla Ki Maut

1988 Trishagni

1987 Zevar (as Salil Chaudhri)

1984 Kanoon Kya Karega

1981 Agni Pareeksha

1981 In Search of Famine

1981 Batasi Jhada

1981 Plot No. 5

1980 Doorathu Idhi Muzhakkam

1979 Azhiyadha Kolangal

1979 Chuvanna Chirakukal

1979 Jeena Yahan

1979 Puthiya Velicham

1978 Ee Ganam Marakkumo

1978 Madanolsavam

1978 Samayamayilla Polum

1978 Yeatho Oru Swapnam

1977 Mrigayaa

1977 Anand Mahal

1977 Aparadhi

1977 Vishukkani

1976 Jeevan Jyoti

1976 Thulavarsham

1975 Chhoti Si Baat

1975 Neela Ponman

1975 Raagam

1975 Rasaleela

1974 Nellu

1974 Rajnigandha (as Salil Chowdhary)

1973 Swapnam

1972 Annadata (as Salil Chowdhury)

1972 Anokha Milan

1972 Mere Bhaiya

1972 Sabse Bada Sukh

1971 Anand (as Salil Chowdhury)

1971 Mere Apne (as Salil Chowdhury)

1970 Abhayam (co-composer)

1969 Sara Akash

1968 Anokhi Raat (background music / as Salil Chowdhury)

1968 Chehere (TV series)

1968 Ezhu Rathrikal

1967 Chemmeen

1966 Pinjre Ke Panchhi

1965 Chand Aur Suraj (music)

1965 Poonam Ki Raat

1964 Lal Patthar

1962 Half Ticket (as Salil Chowdhury)

1962 Jhoola

1962 Prem Patra (as Salil Chowdhury)

1961 Kabuliwala

1961 Char Diwari

1961 Chhaya (as Salil Chowdhury)

1961 Maya (music / as Salil Chowdhury)

1961 Mem-Didi (as Salil Chowdhary)

1961 Sapne Suhane

1960 Parakh (as Salil Chowdhury)

1960 Honeymoon

1960 Kanoon

1960 Usne Kaha Tha

1959 The River

1958 Bari Theke Paliye

1958 Madhumati (as Salil Chowdhury)

1957 Apradhi Kaun? (as Salil Chowdhury)

1957 Ek Gaon Ki Kahani

1957 Gotoma the Buddha

1957 Lal Batti

1957 Musafir

1956 Aawaz

1956 Jagte Raho (as Salil Chaudhary)

1956 Parivar

1955 Amaanat

1955 Swami Vivekananda

1955 Tangewali

1954 Biraj Bahu

1954 Naukari

1953 Do Bigha Zamin

Awards and recognitions

See also


External links