Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sabina Yasmin remembers Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul and the song that made her cry

  • Saimum Saad,
    Published: 2019-01-22 17:52:16 BdST


Shob Kota Janala Khule Dao Na — the verse from a song about the wait for the loved ones forever lost in war still touches the hearts of Bangalees.

The song written by Nazrul Islam Babu, composed by Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul and sung by Sabina Yasmin is forever tied to the bloody birth of the nation. 

Sabina recalled how Bulbul, who passed away on Tuesday, had used his passion both as a liberation fighter and composer of the songs dedicated to the motherland.

When the duo began working together in the 1980s, Sabina was already a star. Bulbul was still trying to create his ground, and gathered recognition after directing music for film Megh Bizli Badal.

Bubul had been trying to get Sabina to sing one of his songs, the singer recalled. “I thought he’s only a kid.”

But something changed her mind and Sabina called ‘the kid’ to her. “Let me hear some of your songs, I told him. And soon my jaw dropped. The tunes were cutting through my heart.”             

“I still remember, the astounding melodies. Those were of a different kind. I had not heard songs like that in our country. I was blown away.”

Sabina later sang five songs written or composed by Bulbul, and all are considered timeless classics, like ‘Majhi Nao Chhaira De’, ‘O Amar Aat Koti Phul Dekh Go Mali’, ‘Rail Line Er Dhare’ and ‘Akdin Ghum Bhenge Dekhi Tumi Nai’.  

Sabina carried Bulbul’s tunes to her countless fans across the country and lifted her prestigious National Award for a singing a song he composed.


Being a guerrilla fighter, who also endured torture in captivity, Bulbul had a special talent for composing songs dedicated to his motherland.

Sabina talked about ‘Shob Kota Janala Khule Dao Na’.

“Bulbul gave him Nazrul Islam Babu the idea to write that song. Babu then added his ideas. The song was written as a tribute to the souls of the people martyred in the war.”

Sabina remembered weeping when she first heard the song.  

“I was astounded. Was this even real? I asked Bulbul, ‘how did you set the tune so beautifully on this one?’. I was on the verge of crying. And the rest is history.”

Songs about the 1971 war form an inseparable part in the liberation history, and Sabina believes Bulbul’s tunes stood out for their unique appeal.

“He was a fighter in the war, which is why his songs are so diverse. The songs he dedication to Bangladesh are different from the rest. Every song is so visual, when I hear the songs, I can see the images.


Bulbul, who became a freedom fighter at the tender age of 15, was not duly appreciated as an artist during his lifetime, lamented Sabina Yasmin.

“We failed to value his artistic genius. I don’t think there will be another talent like Bulbul.  A lot is being said about him right now but we didn’t appreciate him enough while he was alive,” Sabina told on Tuesday.

“The most important thing is that he joined the War of Independence at a very young age. Very few have done that yet he wasn’t given the recognition he deserved for his efforts.”

Hailing the music director as a ‘genius’, Sabina said that Bulbul’s untimely death has caused irreparable damage to the music industry.

“The void left by his passing can never be fulfilled. There hasn’t been a music director like Bulbul and I don’t know if there will ever be one like him. I salute him.”


A few months ago, Sabina had visited an ailing Bulbul, hopeful of composing more melodies together after he recovered. But her hopes were cruelly dashed after his death from a heart attack on Tuesday.

“My desire to work with him again will remain unfulfilled.”

In the meantime, Sabina is determined to preserve all their old compositions. 

“I don’t know if the BTV still has the songs we composed for them. Knowing the state that the BTV is in, I don’t think they’ve retained those songs. I’ve remade those songs on my own initiative. Otherwise the music would’ve been lost.”

Sabina said she plans on remaking more of Bulbul’s compositions that she sang in.