Living legend Runa Laila becomes music composer

Priyanka Choudhury

To music lovers, admirers and even maestros, Runa Laila is such an esteemed name who has earned the honor of ‘Melody Queen’ for her magnanimous voice. She has millions and billions of fans in South Asia and the world. To all of us, Runa Laila is not just a singer – she is more than that. She is considered as the most revered guardian of Bangla music. Any lyricist or composer would never feel satisfied unless Runa Laila has ever had been amongst the list of his/her singers. Runa Laila is not just a singer; she is an institution – a temple of melody and music.  We Bangladeshis always feel extremely proud of our most adored Runa Laila. Now this living legend is extending her musical prowess to composing scores. Replying to a question she told Dhaka’s leading newspaper The Daily Star, “I had never really planned on this. It happened in the spur of the moment. Ankhi Alamgir talked me into this. She said, “In your musical career, you sang different songs. How about composing a song for me?” I replied, “It is not easy to give a tune to a song. Just because I can sing, doesn’t mean I can compose”. One day, while enjoying my leisure time at home, a melody came to my mind and I recorded the prelude on my mobile phone. When Alamgir Shaheb returned home in the evening, I asked him to listen to my composed piece. I was hoping for a remark, or at least a rating for good or bad; but he said nothing. I was disappointed, and I thought maybe he did not like it because if it was any good, he would have said something. At that time, a movie Ekti Cinemar Golpo was being produced by Alamgir Shaheb. After two or three days, he asked me, “Did you compose the interlude of the song?” I replied, “I decided to not work on it further, since you did not make any comment, the other evening.” He then told me to complete the interlude and later, when I was done, he listened to it. This time he said, “I have a sequence in my movie where I would like to incorporate your composition. My composition was sung by Ankhi Alamgir, and the song had a wistful tone to it, since it was melancholic in nature. After that, whenever I conjured up a tune or melody in my mind, I always recorded it”.

Look here what our esteemed Runa Laila has said about composition. She said, It is not easy to give a tune to a song. Just because I can sing, doesn’t mean I can compose. When the queen of melody says it is not easy composing a song, how a singer would ever undermine a composer or a lyricist? In my personal opinion, music is a kind of devotion – an art of extreme spirituality and divinity. A person would never become a singer unless s/he learns the basic principle of showing respect to every lyricist and composer.

Runa Laila is possibly the only artiste in Bangladesh, who always puts emphasis in promoting, encouraging and patronizing new singers and even new lyricists and composers. Even when my father, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury started composing songs years back, it was the living legend Runa Laila who had given him total inspirations and my father keeps on saying, the most mentionable accolade of his musical career are those songs sung by Runa Laila. From my father I have learnt, Runa Laila is not only a great singer but she is amongst the very few extremely disciplined singers in the world, who would always strictly maintain time. If she is scheduled to arrive in the recording studio as 5 pm, she will be there at 4:59. I think, every singer – everyone in any profession needs to maintain discipline. This is the key to success – indeed.

Priyanka Choudhury is the Assistant Editor of Blitz

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