The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The FM for nostalgic Kolkatans

Post the T2 teaser campaign (Discussed in my earlier post T2: the new hip 'n' happening companion), another teaser (Mostly on outdoors) caught the attention of every Bengali music buff in the city. It mocked a forthcoming reunion of the famous characters- Nikhilesh, Moidul, Rama Roy, Sujata of Manna Dey's timeless gem Coffee House-er sei addata aaj aar nei. My gut feel told me this was going to be the keenly awaited FM channel from the ABP stable. The creative looked very much 'ABP'.

And it proved to be true when ABP launched Friends 91.9 FM on Wednesday, February 28. When the undisputed media leader of the city ABP joins the FM bandwagon, the expectations are going to be high and very different from the current leading FM stations. The radio station will be expected to deliver classy content by trained and skilled RJs (A la the news anchor team of Star Ananda, ABP's Bengali news channel- a joint venture with Star). The content will be supposed to have a good dose of Bengali golden oldies as well as popular songs from contemporary Bengali music. In short, a topline FM which Bengalis can call their own. Aamar FM promised to be something in this line, but it apparently failed to reach a respectable level of popularity that puts it at par with hot favourites Radio Mirchi and Red FM.

Friends FM's USP is touted as: It will tickle the musical bent of the nostalgic Bengali by playing the Bengali hits from the 60's and 70's besides the Hindi hits from the same era and its star anchors- the whose who of contemporary Bengali music scene- Nachiketa, Lopamudra, Anjan Dutt and Rupam (Of the leading Bangla band Fossils). While Nachiketa will be anchoring a programme of ghazals, Saumitra Chattopadhyay will join them with one on poems. The proposition stands in stark contrast of Radio Mirchi, Red FM and Big FM, the current biggies, endlessly churning out cosmopolitan content. Their RJs speak a strange mix of Bengali, Hindi and English, desperately trying to sound 'cosmo'. The radio stations collectively fail to touch the heart of the Bengali Kolkatans now in their 30s and above who miss their kind of Bengali music on private FM.

Early report from a friend- a knowledgeable music buff- tells Friends FM's Bengali music content is worth listening to.

This morning I suddenly heard a gem of a modern song on radio by Kabir Suman (Then known as Suman Chattopadhyay) from early nineties. It was Amader Jonyo, from Suman's very first album of modern songs, that shook our generation with its refreshing lyrics and music brought to life by the gifted voice of Suman, called Sumaner Gaan. The song was being aired by, no prizes for guessing, Friends FM. Unlike other FM stations they aired the entire song, typical of the old days of radio. It made my morning.

Given the marketing clout of the formidable ABP, it is sure going to give a run for money to the competition.