Following the norm of nature we all will have to embrace death one day. It is inevitable. It is the ultimate destiny of life. Despite knowing this fact sometimes we cannot accept some deaths as a few deaths not only engulf the family members and close friends of the deceased persons with multitude of emotions but also cause irreparable loss for the nation. That is what everyone felt again after the recent demise of freedom fighter, lyricist, composer and music director Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul. The music genius suffered a massive heart attack in the early hours of January 22 at his Aftabnagar residence. He was taken to Aysha Memorial Hospital where doctors declared him dead. With his departure a golden era of Bangla music has come to an end. Modern Bangla music is truly blessed by his immense contributions. Many critics believe that his creations helped to shape the film songs of independent Bangladesh. Films became super hit due to his amazing numbers and film songs eventually turned into a separate genre of Bangla music. Working over four decades as a professional music director he is credited with a huge number of popular and rich Bangla songs. ‘morning tea’ pays utmost tribute to this melody magician and remembers his role in building cultural taste of this nation.
Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul was born to Wafiz Ahmed and Ifad Ara Nazimun Nesa on January 1, 1956, in Dhaka. While studying in Azimpur’s West End High School he took part in the Liberation War at the age of 15. After observing the brutal genocide conducted by the Pakistan Army in the later part of March 1971, he and some of his friends initially formed a group of Mukti Bahini (which was operated from Keraniganj’s Zinzira) by snatching a number of weapons of police. By the time his elder brother Iftekhar Uddin Ahmed Tutul joined the crack platoon formed by guerrilla freedom fighters. He got hold of grenades through his brother. In July his group attacked a lorry of Pakistan Army in the New Market area. Following the incident Bulbul went to India and was trained there on guerilla warfare for a couple of weeks. He returned to Dhaka as a member of ‘Y Platoon’ (Young Platoon) and participated in a few breathtaking guerilla operations. Then he went to India again in October 1971 to prepare for the final attack. But Bulbul and three of his friends were captured by Pakistan Army and their local associates Razakars in Tontor Check Post, which was situated between Cumilla and Brahmanbaria, while inspecting the position of enemy force. He was tortured, stripped of his clothes and transported on a bus to a jail in Brahmanbaria and then to the local office of the Peace Committee. Because of his young age he was not killed. Bulbul along with some of his fellow fighters escaped from there but he was arrested again from his Azimpur residence within a couple of days. He was initially taken to Manik Mia Avenue’s MP Hostel and then to Ramna Police Station where Pakistan Army abused him inhumanely. Injured Bulbul was rescued from there by the freedom fighters on December 16, 1971.
After the completion of war, apart from his study Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul concentrated on music. A gifted guitarist, he began to work as a guitar player in different studios. He also started composing songs. In the first eight years of his career as a composer he created only patriotic songs! He tuned many timely-yet-timeless patriotic songs such as Shei rel liner dhare, O majhi nao charia de, Mago ar tomake ghum paranir mashi hote debona, Ektara lagena amar, Ei deshta amar shopne bona nokshi kathar math, O amar at koti phul, Juddho ekhono thameni, Uttor dokkhin purbo poshchim and Oke ar korlonato keu biye which rejuvenated Bangalis’ patriotism in the newly independent country. Bulbul was the lyricist and composer of many exceptionally beautiful patriotic songs including Sundor suborno tarunno labonno, Ei desh amar sundori rajkonna, Ay ay ayre ma, Ekattorer ma jononi, Salam Bangladesh, Jago Bangladesh jago, Jirno dehe ak briddha nari, I am a war child and Pongu muktijoddha. With his concept and tune Sabina Yasmin sang Shob kota janala khule dau na, which created a milestone in the realm of Bangla patriotic songs. Bulbul’s deep love for his country is evident in his incomparable melodious patriotic scores.
Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul initiated his film career as an assistant music director of Alam Khan. Later he also worked as the chief assistant music director of Satya Saha. He got the first breakthrough as a music director in the film ‘Megh Bijli Badol’ in 1978. As the movie did not achieve commercial success, he took a break and made a comeback with ‘Noyoner Alo’ in 1984. When the mass audiences accepted the wonderful numbers of the film Amar sara deho kheogo mati, Amar buker moddhikhane, Amar babar mukhe prothom jedin and Ami tomar duti chokhe duti tara hoye thakbo, he did not have to look back. In the consequent years he directed music and composed background score in more than 300 movies. Bulbul’s numerous popular film scores like Ami tomari premo bhikhari, O amar mon kande, Amar gorur garite bou sajie, Prithibir joto sukh ami tomari choate, Prem kokhono modhur, Amar shukhero kolosi vainga gese, Amar ekdike prithibi ekdike bhalobasa, Bazare jachai kore dekhinito dam, Tomake chai shudhu tomake chai, Tumi amay korte shukhi jibone, Biddaloy moder biddaloy, Tumi mor jiboner vabona, Uttore voyongkor jongol, Tumi amar emoni ekjon, Tomay dekhle mone hoy, Oi chad mukhe jeno, Koto manush vober bazare, Porena chokher polok, Je prem shorgo theke eshe, Ononto prem tumi dao amake, Tumi amar jibon ami tomar jibon, Ammajan ammajan, Jibone boshonto esheche, Ghumie thakogo shojoni, Isshor Allah Bidhata jane, Amar hridoy ekta ayna, Bidhi tumi bole dao ami kar, Ei buke boiche jomuna, Sagorer motoi govir akasher motoi oshim, Ei jogoto shongsare tumi amoni ekjon, Jibon furie jabe bhalobasha furabena jibone, Tomake vulte gie barbar mone pore jay, Mora nironno boro khudharto, Onek shadhonar pore ami, Gane gane chena holo, Ki kotha je likhi, Nodi chay cholte and Tumi shutoy bedhecho shaplar phul made him the busiest music director of our film industry.
Apart from the movie songs Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul penned and composed a number of fabulous modern songs for many solo and mixed albums of different singers. His songs such as O daktar, Amar tumi chara keu nei ar, Tumi koto liter dudh korecho pan, Apamor jonotar dharona, Ontor jolere jole, Chithi likheche bou amar, At anar jibon, Lengta chilam valo chilam, Vara koira anbi manush, Amar dui chokhe dui nodi and Ami jayga kinbo kinbo kore earned huge response from the listeners and took the audio market by storm. As one of the judges of TV reality show ‘Close Up 1: Tomakei Khujche Bangladesh’, Bulbul inspired numerous talented new generation artistes. He guided many of them directly as a mentor.
Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul never made any compromise with his ideals. He always stood for this nation whenever it required. He had testified as a witness for the prosecution at the International Crimes Tribunal against former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam in October 2012. Following his testimony against the Jamaat kingpin, his younger brother Miraz Ahmed was found dead near Kuril Flyover in March 2013. Police said he was gagged to death. Bulbul repeatedly said that he never thought that he would have to lose his brother ‘as a result of his testimony’. Since that killing he had to lead a confined life with police security for six years. Due to this reason he couldn’t do much works and he had to struggle to bear his family expenses. Being restricted to a two-room flat he had to counter huge mental stress and consequently he was diagnosed with eight blocks in his arteries. However, with the help of Prime Minister he underwent a cardiac surgery in May last year. But the free-spirited music maestro couldn’t survive the agony of a controlled and solitary life.Bulbul received various awards for his contribution to music industry including the Ekushey Padak, the President’s Award, the Shikha Anirban Award and the Bachsas Award. He got the National Film Award for his music direction in the films ‘Premer Tajmohol’ and ‘Hajar Bochor Dhore’.
A day after he turned 63, Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul posted a photograph on his facebook timeline, asking friends and loved ones to remember him. In that picture, he was waiting for a flight to go to his next destination, carrying his passport, all dressed up and ready to face new challenges. Bulbul literally began his eternal journey. The nightingale will not chirp or create music anymore. But it’s for sure that the kind of music Bulbul created has reached such a height that the conscious listeners will never forget him and his legacy in the world of Bangla music will leave an ever-lasting impression.