Welcome to a legacy called advertising that spurs imagination, warms up the senses, and tells stories that lie in the theatre of the mind. Here’s an institution called Advertising Club Calcutta which might be the oldest in the country but definitely has been a pathfinder of innovation in practices in the industry. For the past few years, the club has gone through shifts, and changes and yet has retained its essence and heritage of pioneering education, inclusivity, and of course new challenges to adapt to a dynamic world of advertising, globally. Apart from being a relevant and engaging platform, it has instituted the Hall of Fame to recognize excellence and the much-coveted and celebrated Storyteller’s Award to transcend the boundaries of advertising. This award belongs to the storytellers who have imbibed the microcosm of life by creating a new vocabulary of artistic conversations. Having awarded masters like the late Rituparno Ghosh and the iconic author Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, tonight we are ready to meet a storyteller whose masterstroke echoes the sense and sensibility of life—a path-breaking story that emerges out of interventions and idioms of a global diaspora.
I am going to read out a poem that Soumitra Chattopadhyay wrote as a tribute to the maestro Satyajit Ray. The poem talks about the tree of life and how the inspiration embodies that.
Ladies and gentlemen welcome to a world where the Tala and Tukdas have stitched a life that’s extraordinary- a life that Bikram Ghosh has created for music to breathe, live and celebrate. I could possibly read out for a whole night about his accolades and achievements but the fact that we are celebrating his Sangeet Natak Award (the highest music award in performing arts that he received on February 23rd at Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi in the contemporary category) reminds of Bob Dylan who won the Nobel prize for songwriting. Here’s an artist whose excellence is not just about drumming up the stage or vibrating a film score but one who has written a new language of music with due reverence to his training in classical arts from his S. Shekhar and even his parents, the legendary Shankar Ghosh and the Vidushi Sanjukta Ghosh. Be it music curation and creating a platform for musicians or collaborating with the best in the global music scene, Bikram is an enigma in the trajectory of the fusion genre. And he did that way two decades back. When classical music was only embracing the same target segment, he created a new milieu through a soundscape of rhythm, a grandeur of presentation, and voices that were rather unsung, if not unknown. Let’s look at a few highlights:
1. He has played on 4 Grammy nominated alums and one Grammy-awarded album Full Circle with the iconic Ravi Shankar
2. He has an Oscar contention for original score for the film JAL
3. He has been a music composer for 50 feature films. A few days back he received the Filmfare award east for MAHANANDA, a masterpiece by Arindam Sil.
4. In 2012, Bikram recreated the Indian National anthem with 22 of India’s greatest musicians
5. He performed at the finale of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
6. He represented India for the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore at UNESCO Paris
7. He composed and presented an extravaganza with 120 artists for the T20 World Cup finals.
The list is endless but it would be a historical mistake if I don’t mention that Bikram has also been on a quest of introducing folk subcultures through his compositions. He has blended his roots with the new age in a heady concoction that shall remain to intoxicate the generations to follow.
Bikram is a signature by himself-the one who is a global citizen of arts and tonight we celebrate the world with him, through him, and by him—a dastan goi who continuously tells, interprets, transcreates, and leads. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s cheer for a leader of arts—a human who serves the community on his fingers.