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Remembering Musician Saroj Nanda on his 18th Death Anniversary

He is the composer of super hit Odia bhajan albums like 'Param Bramha', 'Mayura Chandrika', 'Aadi Mata' and modern albums 'Tama Katha Mane Pade' and 'Prathama Prema'

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Kalakar Swain

Kalakar Swain
Kalakar Swain

Saroj Nanda, the melody king, had made a flamboyant entry into Odia music industry in the eighties. Remarkably, his blending of koshali folk dhol beats with traditional Odia rhythms was a unique approach, which makes him special from others. His new innovation did magic and came out with smashing hit numbers like ‘Keri Keri Suna Duba’, ‘To Agare Kichhi Dhupa’, ‘Sahe Atha Bela Patara’, ‘Khaee Kaudi Binchi Binchi’, ‘Mu To Bada Deulara Parare’, ‘Batare Chalu Chalu’, ‘Tu Chali Jibu To Sasughara’, ‘ Prathama Premara Prathama Chithi’ and numerous others. High skill track arrangement, unique style of playing tabla and precise electronic notes are some of the features which are always seen in his compositions. His music was Indigenous but modern. He was a rare artist who could play any instrument with both hands. Yet, the legend died at a very young age. He passed away at the age of 40 years leaving behind hundreds of unforgettable songs.

Nanda was born to Paramananda Nanda and Subarna Nanda on May 18, 1959 in Balangir, Odisha. After schooling in Navjeeban Vidyapitha, Balangir, he joined Rajendra College.

Saroj Nanda
Late Saroj Nanda, Photo: Kalakar Swain

From college life he began his music career as a dholak player and started performing in different Orchestras of Balangir. Afterwards he shifted his base to Cuttack. The musician faced many hurdles there but never gave up.

He worked with famous artists like Bhikari Bala, Subash Das, Lopita Mishra, Anuradha Paudwal, Udit Narayan, Md. Aziz, Sonu Nigam and Babul Supriyo. His bhajan album ‘Param Bramha’ was released in several languages and owned many awards and accolades.

It is said that Saroj was the reviver of Odia modern songs, which had lost its lustre over the time. In 1995, his song ‘Pratham Premara Prathama Chithi’ inspired many others to come to this genre. Subsequently his modern song albums ‘Rajanigandha’, ‘Chandini’, ‘Tama Katha Mane Pade’ and ‘Amar Prema’ hit the market one by one. ‘Tama Katha Mane Pade’ remains the most popular modern song album in Odisha. Not only albums, but Nanda also earned good name in Odia films. He bagged the best music director award for film ‘Laxmi Pratima’ in 1998. Other than Odia he also composed music for Hindi, Marathi and Chhattisgarhi songs and many of them became popular.

Recalling the great musician renowned lyricist cum actor Shrikant Gautam said that Nanda was so talented that he could compose soothing songs out of any lyrical pattern. Eminent singer Mohammed Aziz appreciated his skill of carving out blockbuster songs. Renowned musician of Odisha Akshaya Mohanty thought Saroj might break his records. However, his musical journey came to an end with his tragic demise. On this day (December 5) in 2000 he breathed his last (due to heart attack) in Mumbai. It has been long 18 years since the legend passed away but his music still resonate in Shrikhetra Puri and all over Odisha in the same flavour as it was at the time of release. However, his remembrance makes his fans’ eyes wet whose heart wonders — had the great composer and trendsetter lived for some more years…

Saroj Nanda
Saroj in a concert

Saroj Nanda’s compositions:

Jagannath Bhajans                           

  1. Param Bramha
  2. Mayura Chandrika
  3. Kasturi
  4. Bhakti Kaiblya
  5. Baliara Bhuja
  6. Nirmalya
  7. Mahabahu
  8. Kadamba Mulia
  9. Kansha Kabata
  10. Ratna Sarobar
  11. Nabhi Bramha
  12. Nada Bramha
  13. Daru Bramha
  14. Purna daru Bramha
  15. Kadambari
  16. Kalahathi
  17. Kala kala chakadola
  18. Kala baeeda
  19. Kala Sankha
  20. Chhapan Bhogi
  21. Maha Daru
  22. Dhuli Ganga
  23. Bhaja Govinda
  24. Lalita
  25. Shree Mandira
  26. Mati Chandana
  27. Mana Nandighosh
  28. Gopa Gauda
  29. Chakradhari
  30. Chakranayan
  31. Bansi Bilasa
  32. Bhakti Jharana
  33. Nanda Kumar
  34. Mana Nandighosh
  35. Chandan Katha
  36. Jebe Pranajiba Chali
  37. Aa re Kalia
  38. Aare Kanha aare
  39. Kalia dekh to kala duniya
  40. Kalia Saanta
  41. Daru debata
  42. Srikhetra Sundara

Shakti Bhajans

  1. Aadi Mata
  2. Sindura
  3. Tarini Ghata
  4. Gota Nadia
  5. Bhairabi
  6. Mana bhajutha
  7. Sata bhaunire bayani

Shiva bhajans

  1. Shibasree
  2. Trishula
  3. Kalashire Ganga Jala
  4. Om Parameshwar
  5. Shiba Tandab
  6. Baba Akhandala Mani

Modern (song) albums

  1. Tama katha mane pade
  2. Prathama prema
  3. Rajani Gandha
  4. Amara prema
  5. Chakori Jharana Luha
  6. Chandini
  7. Puni dekha heba
  8. Kahile kahiba michha kahuchhi
  9. Rasmalei
  10. Phula baula beni
  11. Rasia pila
  12. Bohu katakiani
  13. Anarkali
  14. Rangalata
  15. Bideshi maina
  16. Faseidela
  17. Kadali Khandi
  18. Chhelien tukel
  19. Laeban
  20. Lajkuri
  21. Delhir Nani dilwali

Odia films

  1. Laxmi Pratima
  2. Jibana Sathi
  3. Akashara Akhi

Hindi devotional numbers

  1. Hari Hari Govind Bol
  2. Ram nama sukh dayee

Marathi album

Karunakar Lambodara

Chhattisgarhi albums

  1. Laajvanti
  2. Maalpuwa

The author is an ardent fan of Saroj music. A native of   Sasan Ambagam  in Ganjam district, Odisha he presently is residing in New Delhi.

N.B – The photos in this post are old and so despite our considerable effort, the quality could not be enhanced.

Also read: Veteran Singer Mohd Aziz passes away in Mumbai

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