Bhubaneswar: Sikandar Alam started his career as a playback singer with the movie ‘Laxmi’. Though he was signed for one song, another song was later recorded in his voice.
Noted Bengali singer Tarun Banerjee had rendered voice to that song, but it was again recorded in Sikandar Alam’s voice at music director Balakrushna Das’ insistence. Re-recording the song to give a new voice a chance was definitely a bold step at that point in time.
Banerjee rendition of ‘Mane Bhari Abhiman, Jae Chhadi Brinaban’ was retained in the movie.
It was only after the release of the ‘Laxmi’ that the Bengali singer got to know about it and swore never to sing in any Odia movies again.
Notably, Sikandar Alam made his foray into Odia movies with a ‘Jagannath Janana’ (devotional song of Lord Jagannath). Despite being a Muslim, he sang it with complete devotion and deep emotions.
What Sikandar Alam Had Said:
The songs of ‘Laxmi’ were recorded in Eastern Talkies Studio in Kolkata. It was my first Odia movie. The song was okayed in the first attempt. But, I had rehearsed nine times before the recording.
After a few days, a press meet was called and the audience was made to listen to six songs. Everybody praised the song, ‘Arata Sure Bare’. When film was released, the song became a sensation in Puri. It was on the lips of every devotee.
This song had brought me into limelight and then I got chances to sing in other films.
‘Barida Re Tu Jaa Na’ and ‘Mane Bhari Abhiman’, were sung by Tarun Banerjee.
The people at Pravat Cinema’s press meet had problem with the pronunciations in ‘Baridare Tu Jaa Na, Jaa Na Tu Na Jaa’. I was asked to sing that song again. I went to Kolkata to record it. That song too became popular. After that Tarun Banerjee refused to sing in Odia movies.
Song: Arata Sure Bare
Movie: Laxmi (1962)
Production: Kalinga Films
Singer: Mohammad Sikandar Alam
Lyrisist: Sarada Prasanna Nayak
Music Director: Balakrushna Das
(With inputs from Film Historian Surya Deo)