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Robin Ghosh: Musician who gave the biggest hits in Pakistani movie industry

10 February, 2021 11:40:07
Robin Ghosh: Musician who gave the biggest hits in Pakistani movie industry

‘Music knows no boundaries’ and what could be more apt when describing playback singer, mu-sician and composer Robin Ghosh who still commands a huge fan base in both Pakistan and Bangladesh and people still commemorate his death anniversary in both the countries. Ghosh is regarded as an icon in the industry, credited for composing music for several super-hit Pakistani and Bangladeshi films including Chanda, Talash, Paisa, Chakori, Bhaiya, Tum Mary Ho and Aina.

Ghosh’s father worked for the International Red Cross and was posted in Iraq during World War II where he met and married a local Arab Catholic girl, Asnat Ziya. Robin Ghosh was born in Baghdad on September 13, 1939, and grew up in an inter-faith household with a Bengali Hindu father and an Arab Catholic mother. He received his initial education at a convent school in Baghdad. After the War was over, the family decided to shift base in 1945 and moved to East Pakistan and settled in Dhaka. However, once in Dhaka, Robin’s father deserted his wife and two young sons and married another girl and set up home with her, severing all ties with his former family. After this debacle, his mother single-handedly raised her two sons, living in Wari, Old Dhaka.

Robin Ghosh was born in Baghdad on September 13, 1939, and grew up in an inter-faith household with a Bengali Hindu father and an Arab Catholic mother. He received his initial education at a convent school in Baghdad. After the War was over, the family decided to shift base in 1945 and moved to East Pakistan and settled in Dhaka.

Ghosh had a mellifluous voice and was selected as a regular church choir singer when he was still very young. From here he developed an interest in music. As he grew up, his love for music grew into a passion and he collected gramophone records and listened to all types of music. He could play the harmonium and sing from a very early age. Towards the fag end of the 1950s, Robin Ghosh’s friend offered him a job at Radio Pakistan in Dhaka. This friend’s sister, Jharna Basak, was at that time trying to find a foothold in the film industry as a budding actress. Romance bloomed between the two young aspiring artists. Meanwhile, Ghosh worked at the radio station and simultaneously assisted various music directors. 

In the early 1960s, film director Ehtesham visited Dhaka Radio Station, and offered Ghosh a contract as a composer for his films. His debut was for the Bengali film, Rajdhanir Bookay in 1960, and followed by numerous other Bengali and Urdu films, including Chanda (1962), Talash (1963), Paisa (1964), Chakori (1967) and Bhaiya (1966). On December 24, 1964, Jharna Basak and Robin Ghosh tied the knot. Basak had changed her screen name to Shabnam, which unbe-knownst to them, marked the beginning of a new era in the history of popular culture. The two would go on over the years to work together on many films, Shabnam in front of the camera, Robin in the studios composing the songs for her to sing.

In the early 1960s, film director Ehtesham visited Dhaka Radio Station, and offered Ghosh a contract as a composer for his films. His debut was for the Bengali film, Rajdhanir Bookay in 1960, and followed by numerous other Bengali and Urdu films, including Chanda (1962), Talash (1963), Paisa (1964), Chakori (1967) and Bhaiya (1966).

After the release of the film Tum Meray Ho, Ghosh moved to Karachi, continuing to compose film music into the 1980s. He composed songs for the film Aaina (1977) one of the greatest films ever made in the Pakistani film industry. This film celebrated its Platinum Jubilee at Pakistani cinemas. Ghosh’s work wasn’t only popular among the masses but also garnered critical acclaim. Many renowned singers of that era rendered songs composed by him including Akhlaq Ahmad, Noor Jahan, Mahdi Hassan, Ahmad Rushdi and others. He won the prestigious Nigar Awards six times during his long and illustrious music career. Ghosh was not only a successful composer but was also a sophisticated man and a very good human being. 

He died on February 13, 2016 at the age of 78. He was suffering from respiratory illness and had cardiac arrest. He was buried as per Christian rites at the Old Christian Cemetery near Baldha Garden, Wari in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Story Tag:
  • Robin Ghosh, Musician

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