Playback legend Asha Bhosle has recorded a Bengali puja song after over two decades in a milieu when such tracks are on the decline.The song, Ebar Pujoy Elaam Phire (I have returned in this puja) was released earlier this month following the tradition of launching puja numbers before the 4-day Durga puja beginning Tuesday.
Bhosle, who recorded the song a week after her 85th birthday last month, also shot a music video for it, said composers Shiladitya and Raj. Bhosle had recorded her first puja song Aamar Khatar Patay in 1963 which was composed by late Manna Dey. She lent her voice for a puja song for the last time 23 years ago, the two composers said.
In subsequent years she rendered hits like Jete Dao Amay Dekhona, Chokhe Chokhe Kotha Bolo, Phoole Gondho Nei and Mohuaye Jomechhe Aaj Mou Go.
"In all, Ashaji had sung 66 Bengali puja songs which were mostly singles and some duets," they said.
Bengali puja songs are the numbers released before the Durga puja targeting the festive mood of the people. Many of these puja numbers - sung among others by Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, R D Burman, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar from 1960s to 80s - are evergreen hits.
Several veteran singers had expressed anguish on many occasions that those golden days were over and the people were not enthusiastic.
Music composer Jeet Gannguli, however, struck a discordant note saying puja songs were popular these days too.
"I don't subscribe to the view that only puja numbers recorded during the 60s-90s are enjoyed by the present day listeners. Definitely the songs of that period are very popular even now, but the songs recorded afterwards are equally lapped up by the audience," Gannguli said.
"Perhaps the number of new hits is not being noted the way it was done in the era of records or cassettes with the emergence of Internet. There has not been any dearth of new lyrics, tunes and singers and no waning of enthusiasm," he said.