Chandrabindoo noy, Chandrabindoo Noy — English Transcript

Do you remember when “Chandrabindoo Noy” was released?

I think we were in our third year in college. I think I had read about the album on the Internet before seeing a hoarding near Chingrighata which was about the album’s upcoming release but I am not really sure.
What about you?

Did it mention anything?

Nothing specific. It just had something about “Noy” coming soon. It was only later that I realized that perhaps it was about “Chandrabindoo Noy”.

I came to know that Chandrabindoo’s latest album was titled as “Chandrabindoo Noy” from a promotion on ABP Ananda (or was it Star back then?). Band members Upal and Anindya were present. While discussing about the new album, they were asked about the album art. They discussed on the elements of the cover art like the peculiar creature shaped like ‘9’ in Bengali and the ant facing it. The ant was taken aback by the “9” shaped creature. When the anchor asked about the meaning behind the cover art, I think it was Upal who explained, having made the artwork himself, that “Chandrabindoo Noy” was something new and different. Different enough to make the ant look visibly surprised.
This is the first thing I remember from the interview.
I think “Chandrabindoo Noy” came out several years after the last album.

There was a long gap.

Four years, perhaps?
They were asked in that interview that, “Now that you have released this album, when can we expect the next one?”.
Anindya, the quick-witted that he is, replied, “You can treat our albums as world cups, one in four years!”.
This introduced me to “Chandrabindoo Noy”.
Now, if I think about listening to the album, the first opportunity came in the form of a special event that was organised that year. Sunil Ganguly passed away. A program was organised as a tribute to Sunil where Anindya was invited. Anindya, as a part of his memorial address, dedicated a song to Sunil. I did not know the name of the song back then. The lyrics and specially the first line is something I still remember.
“They have gone into the woods, discreet and distrait”.
Although he had sung it a capella, the song had an impact on me. The program and the song shared a connection. Sometime later, I listened to the album in detail and came to know that the song was “Aadhkhana Aador”. At that point in time, the song was something I really liked. Apart from that particular song, as expected, it’s Chandrabindoo’s album so I gave it a listen and I realized that I had an expectation due to the previous albums which was perhaps why I did not find it fascinating. All I felt was that this album was different but I was not being able to figure out the nuances and appreciate them. However, after a few years, I went back to the album and tried it the second time and then I realized what was new and the things I missed the first time. I guess this is how it works.
While trying a new thing for the first time, irrespective of its quality, are we always able to appreciate?
I think it takes some time.

I think you gave it a second chance after a number of years, that too very recently.

Yes. This time, I had a different experience and a better understanding.

True. Our tastes often change as we age. This applies to Chandrabindoo as well. They have been making music for so many years now.
I think Chandrabindoo is one band which has friendship as one of its core values.

I think this is applicable to the other bands of that period as well. Friendship seemed like a driving force for them. Isn’t this a primary criteria for having a band which makes music as a team? I can name a few of them — like in Bhoomi, there was a brilliant chemistry between Surojit and Soumitra which reflected in their songs as well.
Coming back to Chandrabindoo, it becomes really difficult to single out their individualities. Specially in the band’s music. This is however different when they work in movies. There are movies where Anindya and Chandril have worked as lyricists. They have received recognition for the same, including nation awards for “Antaheen”(2009). I can identify that these songs are not Chandrabindoo’s but songs made by the individual members. However, when it comes to Chandrabindoo’s songs, it is true that it becomes difficult to figure out their individualities from the blend.

This is true for their live performances as well. Chandril, who rarely performs with the band on stage, featured in a live album titled “Chandrabindaas” where during the song “Emono Bosonto Dine”, he played the part of the king and the remaining characters were all played by Drono.
That was a performance to remember!

The biggest reason why I have always liked Chandrabindoo is how after listening to their songs, I felt that I was not aware that such songs could exist.
On multiple occasions. Specially for the lyrics.
The lyrics they wrote were not only meaningful but were also inclusive of words and themes that seemed too humble and ordinary. Even before Chandrabindoo had started releasing their albums, “Jibanmukhi” songs i.e. songs inspired by the ordinary things in life, had already made some progress, Kabir Suman being a good example. However, as per my experience, initially when Chandrabindoo’s songs were coming out and were being appreciated by the young generation, senior people from the previous generations were not specially happy about it. Some said,
“Is that the language to be used in songs?”
“This is not a song!”

“Band music!” *rolling eyes*

I had to listen to such feedback from my elders. But things have changed. When I listen to the songs that are now being made, irrespective of their quality, I find the language to be more inclusive of the ordinary and the mundane. And the listeners across the generations find this new language as something that is normal and expected. However, when Chandrabindoo made the songs, they used the language spontaneously and with confidence. I find this to be very interesting in addition to how with their language and themes, they were able to break several stereotypes.

They had a song. I feel it is not possible to perform the song on stage as it took a lot of processing to create it. It was “Aikom Baikom” from the album “Juju”. The fact that it featured an English rap, sounded very new to my ears.
Coming to what you mentioned earlier — their themes.
What I feel, they have a range of cultural references in their songs, something that can be very popular and even those that are not. They had them all.
In some songs, the references are direct — how they referred to Joan of Arc in “Jhilmil”. And there are some which you have to figure out from the subtext.
“Eureka!”
For instance, Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” featured in one song.
A similar reference was made about the fatal accident which killed Jibananda Das, in the song “Bhalo Lage Na”. This added to the song’s theme. These tiny cultural references —

The metaphor!
“The trams of the city savor the blood of poets”.
When you hear this, the very first thought is, “Why did it feature in this song?”. If someone starts searching, they would find Jibanananda — I do not mean that this is the only way one would know about Jibananada. But this can be a good reason. Just a reference.
This reminds me of another song, “Mongolgroho (Mars)”, where I came across “Perestroika”. I first time I heard the term, I had absolutely no idea. But a lot a questions came up. “What is Perestroika? Why is it relevant?”. I started searching. Perhaps, this is what you meant! Although I agree that the primary goal is not cultural enrichment, but the songs do their bit. This is something that I like about Chandrabindoo’s music.

You might as well avoid these references! Chandril in particular, loves playing with references. Something he also did many years back in his short film, “Y2K”(2000). The movie had its fair share of references.

I have seen the short film!

In one scene, the main character was being bullied by Silajit’s character, “Who will decide what comes under culture and what does not? People like you, who attend uncut screenings at film festivals only to get off in the bathroom and deny later (pun on ‘Fellini’)?”. People who would not get the pun about Federico Fellini, would be rather amused by this seemingly vulgar joke. One who gets the pun, gets the fun! I found this very witty.

Exactly! There are people who are always ready to advertise their knowledge and their refined taste. This poked fun at them. It is interesting how inclusive their humor is.

On that note, I often find this trend to include names and proper nouns randomly. Like in one movie, they had a mention of Pablo Neruda, who had absolutely no business to be in that scene. There was also a song where they did this on purpose. Not one by Chandrabindoo. It was by Billy Joel, “We didn’t start the fire”, which had a lot of proper nouns.

I have a very different opinion about this.
Is art a necessity?
So, you can have irrelevance in any art form. That is perhaps the reason.
Chandrabindoo’s proper nouns share a connection with the theme. It is a different issue how, thanks to the proper nouns, we are able to learn about new things.

They were able to relate as they seem to absorb a lot of —

I often think of Chandrabindoo as a sponge!
They seem to be very aware of their surroundings. More than being aware, I think they have an eye for the little things. Things that we easily miss, find their place in their songs. The line that immediately comes to mind —
“You are as good as maa”, from “Bhindeshi Tara”. When can this thought —

Someone being this selfless —

Isn’t this beautiful? I never expected such feelings from a song. Then you have another song on love, where it said,
“Tomorrow, I will choose to grow, leaving all of the love behind.”
This can not be any more simple or any more light-hearted. However when you think about the actual inner meaning, this comes from a serious and a deep realization —
“I have suffered enough for love. Not a day more! Begone!”

I get a similar feeling from another song. Like one of the songs from “Juju” album had a line that goes —
“What more, my friend? I know that love is a trick in the end.”
Some songs are about the crises and the mundane bits in a relationship.
In one of the them, the narrator works at an office. The narrator is finding it hard to have a work-love balance. There is huge crowd at the brigade ground. There is a traffic jam. I am running. I reach my office late. My boss is livid. I have a deadline to meet. I do not think we’ll able to meet today.
This was the song, “Office Time”.
I find these crises very important, ones that actually drive people in love. And then there’s frustration from not being able to communicate,
“I really liked the person — didn’t tell — Now that they left — Alas!”
You never confessed!

A middle-class Bengali guy’s common syndrome! *over generalization*

“Perhaps, in the next round, I’ll have the guts I never found, and I’ll turn it around.” There is a sense of insecurity that comes out really well in this song.
Someone had a meltdown. The partner tries to fix things with
“Oh! Don’t you cry at places far from home, you silly!”

The moments of a relationship while falling or staying in love that come from the little things in life, is cherished in many of their songs.
The song “Mongolgroho (Mars)” starts with a unique concept. There’s a lot of opportunity. Mars is uninhabited. All that has happened in this long human civilization — things like revolution, deconstruction are no where to be found. There is art without compromise. Everybody seems to agree. But what they managed to do in the end is brilliant!
They end the advertisement with, “No nudist colony”.
That was a mic-drop moment. And almost instantly, people reject the offer. The song points at the basic priorities of the civilized. Things that no one admits to, under ordinary circumstances. I find this very interesting! The very idea that sex is one of the basic needs of a human life, is not something people readily accept. Getting the point across through a simple song, is sheer brilliance! This is the reason why I am really fond of the song. You can never expect what is waiting for you at the very end!
The end, points straight at you —
You can’t give up your basic desire! Sex is what you have always longed for!

Now that in this song, this comes at the very end, there is one song which starts with the basic desire. “How you wish you could have the person” is immediately followed by, “You wish you could have kissed their cheeks!”
No pretense!

All I can relate to these themes are — our mediocrities, our mentality as a society. If you remember “Amra Bangali Jaati”, you will know what they meant and why they wrote the song. I might not be one of the people who the song is actually meant for. But I know these people.
It really makes me think that Chandrabindoo, through songs like these, have actually served as a mirror for the middle-class. They have shown to the middle-class that, “See! This is who you are! We know you enjoy our songs and that is cool. But can you see yourself in them? You are having fun and that’s great. But if you see carefully, you are having fun at your own expense.” Perhaps, Chandrabindoo does not give out sermons to mend ways.
They don’t pretend to be reformers which makes it interesting.

In one of the songs, they had,
“A pinch of Mrinal and Manik, and a dollop of Subhash Ghai”.
You claim that you love offbeat, but end up promoting all that is mainstream.
Coming to the things that we do after getting rejected in love —
if you have the “habit of getting your heart broken”, then only “Rabin Tagore Nath” can come to your rescue.
They have written on the perceptions about MBA or going on-site; about snobs taking the lift to the first floor (Are you kidding!). One day I might sing this inside a lift out of frustration. I just hope I don’t!
There was this piece about a slippery bamboo where they are buttering up and down the corporate ladder for promotions.

This has stumped me, on several occasions. The things that we have been discussing previously.
Chandrabindoo expertly critiques all the things that happen around us and roughly documents all their observations in their songs. Something that I really like about them. But when it comes to their songs of love, it is difficult to believe that the same set of people have such emotions related to love.

They have their individual styles.

People who are so practical, are more emotional when it comes to love. The reason I believe so is due to the overwhelming presence of this wholesome compassion in all of their love songs. They do not have difficult metaphors in them. All they have are the simple ideas of love, the little things. The songs make me long for those ideas of love, over and over again.
“Mon”, perhaps their most famous song, had this idea of an innocent love. One that does not have a lot of glamour or even milestones and yet so fulfilling. That is the love we relate to and would like to have.

“Sei Hawa” from “Daaknaam” album, also had a unique definition of love.
I find our pop culture destroying the definition of the love that we knew. A movie which released recently had me thinking if it was love which was being presented on screen. What is wrong with the people!
Later, it was the director who seemed to re-define what love is. With absolutely no pretense, he goes on to say,
“If you can’t slap, if you can’t touch ‘your’ woman wherever you want, … if you can’t use cuss words, I don’t see emotion there.”
This makes Chandrabindoo’s version of love more relevant and precious.

True. Although this might seem irrelevant to our discussion, I think it raises an important point. What I feel about the pop culture thing is —
You said something about definition being destroyed. I don’t think so.
I feel that perhaps we live in such times. We are unwell. There is depression. There is a feeling of not having enough which might be getting reflected in relationships as well. Perhaps, abusing a partner comes naturally for some.
Movies are being made and people are being able to relate to them. You can’t possibly ignore the following for such movies.
It depends on the individual if they’ll be inspired to emulate the things. I don’t know if they will. It depends on their intellect.
The director perhaps made this movie as it was relevant to him.
But yes, physical or verbal abuse is anything but love. You can have disagreements but getting physical? If that is love — I don’t know. I will not be able to relate to such a thing. Some people must have (related). The movie was a hit. However, I can always relate to Chandrabindoo’s version of love.

Love songs being made by a band that never fails to roast people?

Oh, this is a thing — A very weird thought.
It is difficult to believe because you will assume Chandril to be way too practical from his interviews. Too practical for love. Chandrabindoo has stumped me with their love songs but Chandril had me stumped when I first came to know that the first love song written by him is “Adorer Nouka”. Upal or Anindya had once asked him to share the story behind the song. Chandril said that all that there is to the story is that all the songs that he had written for the albums that came before “Chaw”, were widely accepted and appreciated by the people. They loved the songs but he has never able to have the female fan following that Anindya had. It was then that the opportunity came for a love song for the new album and he tried hard. That was how “Adorer Nouka” came into being. Although it did not help in the cause, the song was made.
So yes, it is difficult to believe this about Chandril. Take any of his songs and consider the satire/humor! How can someone like that write a song like “Adorer Nouka”?

We also find similar sentiments in their songs on friendships.
Consider “Bondhu Tomay”.
If you ask someone who does not listen to a lot of Chandrabindoo, for a song in Bengali on friendships, there is a good chance they will suggest “Bondhu Tomay”.
They have also made other good songs on friendships, like “Adda”.
In line with their themes, Chandrabindoo also has a unique sound.

If you listen to their first few albums, you will find the music to be full of fun and frolic. However, on multiple occasions, I got confused with the music.
They have few songs, you will be aware of, that are very popular but the music is far from being original. It is one thing to refer to a style of music for inspiration, it is another to lift pieces. I couldn’t figure out why they had to copy music, being a band that I looked up to!
To be honest, it felt bad. It felt like cheating.
But then, I heard this one reference and I got confused. It’s a Bob Marley song. The tune is really famous but I can’t recall the name.

Oh, “Buffalo Soldier”? That Chandrabindoo song ends with someone saying “Buffalo Soldier”.

Exactly! I could not believe my ears. I thought, are these pranksters for real? They made a fun song, copied the tune and even confessed that they did! As if this a puzzle to figure out if that was a copy or a prank.

They talked about using “Ode to Joy” in one song.

Yes, the story on “Ode to Joy”!
‘When we made “Geet Gobindo”, people thought, “Oh, they read Jayadeva!” And when we used the tune of “Ode to Joy”, they thought “How well educated! They not only read Jayadeva but also listen to western classical music!”’
Now that they often mention, I no longer have my initial confusion. I think I know why they use music from other sources.

It is still confusing for me. Even though, in one of their songs that you mentioned, “Ekti Murgi”, based on “Buffalo Soldier”, they had mentioned about the actual source of the music, but the title track of the same album, “Twoker Jotno Nin”, was also based on some other song. But “Johnny B. Goode” has not been mentioned anywhere in the entire song.

If a band mentions the source of the music they have used or are using pieces from famous songs which can be easily identified, the question can still remain as, “Why do they need to use the music when they are already capable?”
They haven’t mentioned all of them but they have mentioned some. Now, it is up to you.

True. The problem still remains.
Let’s skip the controversy and get back to our initial discussion on “Chandrabindoo Noy”. Coming to the music of “Noy”, I feel we all have a fair idea about how a Chandrabindoo album sounds like. However, the music in “Noy” is remarkably different. You will not feel that it’s Chandrabindoo, from the intro.

I had a similar feeling after listening to “Noy”.
If I introduce someone to Chandrabindoo using “Chandrabindoo Noy”, it will have an interesting outcome. They’ll have a very different idea about Chandrabindoo. Even if the listen to their old albums, their impression about Chandrabindoo will be very different from what we have.
Even I found it difficult to accept this new Chandrabindoo in “Noy” because I think I had a stiff idea about them. “Chandrabindoo Noy” helped in re-shaping my idea about their music.

Not only with their music! I think the words had a style of their own.

One song that I can now recall is “Hridoy”.
When I heard “Hridoy” from “Noy”, for the first time, I found it hard to listen to some of the words. Unimaginable! The first reaction was,
“What is going on! Is it that they just don’t care anymore?”
However there was one line that has stayed with me. There was something like “Dance with backs to the sky”.

“Beggars full of lies, dance with backs to the skies”

Yes, but why is it here? I didn’t really understand.
One day, I was on a bus. Some people stay on the footpath in front of Vivekananda’s house. Some of their kids, shirtless and wearing half-pants, were singing together and dancing to the beat. Dancing to their heart’s content. Not bothered by their surroundings. I saw them dancing and thought, “Yes, how relatable!”
Then, when I listened to “Hridoy” over and over again, it struck me —
Remember how I mentioned them being like a sponge? The realization was more convincing than ever. This song is about someone leaving their heart by the window. And I am absorbing all that is happening around me.

There are some albums which are concept albums. You will find a central theme music or a narrative presented by the lyrics. The central theme is carried from the first song to the very last.
I didn’t find any theme in any of their previous albums.

They have themselves admitted about not having a well-defined structure.

I feel that perhaps, “Noy” is their first concept album.
Because you can find the experiment in the music throughout the album. The experiment ends with the last song, “Ke Nilo Tar Roop”. I feel that one song, makes the album complete. It’s like a theater!
The first song that I could relate with it, was “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I have similar feelings for both of them.
There’s also one relatively recent song, “Howl School” by “Bemanan”. I also find that theatrical —

For me, there is another side to this song- The way you have found novelty in how theatrical the song sounds, I found the novelty in how starkly unique the theme is.
Chandrabindoo has always excelled in saying serious things light-heartedly. But I must admit, there was no element of fun in this song. The song in itself is very dark. There are no lighter tones.
The song is about a deliberate abuse. But who is getting abused here? The women? This planet? Who are we abusing? It gets confusing. Chandrabindoo selected this as their last song. I meant the last released song. “Noy” started in a particular way but by the time it ends, the album in its entirety becomes something else after this song. I agree how this song not only makes the album complete, but also adds value.

People have this usual expectation, “Your new album” — Wasn’t this in the interviews?

Exactly! The common reaction from the fans was —
“Your new album is nice. So much like the previous.”
If new sounds just like the old, what’s the point of a new album? I am not sure if the expectation formed over the years, is the problem. Here you have an album like “Noy” which sounds so fresh but then we know how well it was accepted by the mass. (It wasn’t!) The reception was not even close to their previous “hit” albums.

I still feel, a good piece of art, no matter how long it takes, will be recognized — Similar to how you felt about “Noy”, the first time you tried. You had felt,
“Oh! This can never be Chandrabindoo.”
Yes, it’s not Chandrabindoo. It’s “Chandrabindoo Noy”!

This isn’t limited to Chandrabindoo. It has happened several times in the past where someone has tried to do something new but it has taken a lot of time to get accepted by the mass.

It is also true that “Noy” has won an award however it was not for its commercial success.

Isn’t there a calculation? Chandrabindoo’s album sales have been always been good. Gold/Platinum discs for most. In that comparison, this album was not able to be as successful.

I have no idea about their tenth album (if there is one). How will they approach? On one hand there is a satisfaction about having experimented and getting awarded for the same. However, there is this lukewarm reception. How will they balance the two?

I wish Chandrabindoo could stay the way the are in their ninth.

The tenth album?

I am open to everything.

Between the time when “Noy” was released and now, there’s a big gap. A lot has changed in the options we have for consuming new songs.

True!

We no longer need physical discs for new releases. You can choose anything between a subscription medium to even YouTube!

The platforms you talked about, have really exploded in this age of Internet boom. Chandrabindoo did not have these while they were starting out. They must have run after producers just to get their album released. Chandrabindoo was not obviously famous as a band back then. Neither were they famous as seasoned artists, individually.
New artists with songs like these!
Some that need multiple attempts.
Some that demand time.
Some that have a lot to take in.
The fact that the producers were financing their early albums, is something worthy of mention.

There are so many mediums that are available. Eg. SoundCloud, YouTube. There is a steady influx of new music.

I think there is a concern which automatically comes with it. We do not have a way to find out how this affects the quality of the music. Perhaps this is great! Anybody can contribute to the scene. This is a big positive but there can be a lot of negative noise as well.

Out of the active artists in 2019, I find “Bemanan” to be special.
“Sayatya & Friends” is another.
Then there are rooftop concerts.
Songs like “Priyo Gaan”.

Independent music is gaining ground.

Yes and I feel very hopeful about the current music scene. I really —

Is it really ‘hopeful’? I see things that point the other way. There was a song which used to exist as an independent song. I know how many listened to the song back then. It is only after it was used in a movie that it exploded and people took notice. Did they like it for the song itself or for their favorite actor singing it? I don’t know. That is not the point. But what does this show? You said that your are hopeful. Perhaps, even I am hopeful. But this is the grim reality which you can not ignore.
Some had listened to it from the time it was on places like SoundCloud. I believe that songs like these, having music and lyrics that are so unique, should reach the listeners by themselves. That is not the reality. It’s only after being used in movies, that people listen. Ask the people who have shared or sung the song, have loved it or have shared the lyrics on statuses, “Who wrote the song?”
“The one that Anirban has sung!” That is how they remember.

True, there can be an identity crisis. Also, if anyone really wants to know, they can easily do that —

Say, I wrote a song. People love it but they don’t care who wrote it.

For all the people planning or are already in this indie scene, it is crucial to have proper platforms. I think we already had something like “Sofar” for many years, Upal’s “Amader Chhade”! And now we have people like Ritam Sen taking it forward with new indie music being promoted in his —

You need to have more platforms for reach.

This has to go on. I don’t know if Chandrabindoo —

Chandrabindoo’s tenth is coming.

That, we know!

Have something to add to the episode? Send us a mail!

📧 mail@triangularvishon.com

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A podcast in Bengali on things we love and ideas we care about. www.triangularvishon.com

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Triangular Vishon

Triangular Vishon

A podcast in Bengali on things we love and ideas we care about. www.triangularvishon.com

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