Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Anjan Dutt calls Bela Bose on 2441139

I heard 2441139 by chance on the radio. While I feel shy to speak in Bangla, I understand a fair bit and this song was beyond marvellous. Listen to this song first, even if you don't understand Bangla. Listen first. I have given the English translation below...



Picture this. A yellow phone booth with loud, bold black letters reading STD, PCO, ISD. Or if you want, picture a coin-phone, the large rectangular black box that used to stand silently by paan shops and was witness to many a life-changing conversations of love and denial long before the cellphone bug hit. Have we got the imagery right? Now picture a youth dialling a number and asking for Bela Bose. Here's what he says...

I have got a job Bela, are you listening?
No one can stop us now.
You can send back that proposal
and tell mother you are not marrying.

I have indeed got a job.
Just a few more months (of wait)
They will pay 1100 now,
Confirm the job after three months...
Bela, why are you silent, why don't you say something?


Hello... 'Is that 2441139?'
Bela Bose are you listening?
I have got you after a dozen wrong numbers
I will not lose you now at any cost...

Hello... 2441139?'
Please call Bela Bose, just once.
Meter's running on this public telephone
this an important, very important matter...

This time our dreams will really come true
After all this long wait
We have spent many a days in dusty dingy cabins by the road
Waiting with heavy breaths...

Just a few more days Bela, then freedom.
That blue-walled house in Kasba (will be ours)
In this white-black, trouble-ridden, bitter-sweet city
(We will start) our colourful life...

I have got a job indeed
Those times of sobs, of brawls are gone now
Hello... Can you hear me or not?

Bela, why are you crying silently?
I have indeed got a job
Those times of sobs and brawls are gone
Hello... Can you hear me?

Hello? **** Hello?
2441139, 2441139


I feel Bela has accepted a proposal and is all set to marry...The call came too late. The song, for me, is an ode to young love in a middle-class Indian background that strives and strives to set things right.

I could write a lot more about this song, and two other favourites by Anjan Dutt.. But may be, on some other post.

PS My computer speakers don't work. Let me know if you find any other better video of this album..

Link of Bangla lyrics here

13 comments:

Prats said...

Good One Indeed.

Siddharth said...

Nice.. Really nice...

Bong Mom said...

This is a very old and famous song. There were so many calls made to this number after the song became a hit. I think this number belonged to some Kolkata daily

Gauri Gharpure said...

Pratik, Siddharth-- thanks! :)

Bongmom-- Welcome to the blog... I read your blog very frequently when I was new to calcutta and reading up on bong cuisine.. I have also heard abt the number being a newspaper's.. it was Bartaman if i am not mistaken.

feddabonn said...

quite stunned by this piece, and a fascinating execution of what could so easily have turned into just-another-love song. thank you gauri!

eve's lungs said...

One of my favourites - vintage Anjan Duttt.Oh you know Sandeepa too :)

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

This is indeed a wonderful song by Anjan Dutt. And the sadness conveyed by the song spreads over a huge canvas; a song rarely manages to do that. Your translation is fluent and beautiful. Congratulations!

The Ancient Mariner said...

Gauri,

thanks for writing about this. this is an unforgettable song which once was the face of new age bengali music. like nachiketa's neelanjana, suman's tomake chai (i want you) etc...

Gauri Gharpure said...

Baruk, I am glad you liked this song.. Marianne and Ranjana by Anjan Dutt are also splendid.

Eve-- welcome to the blog! I read her blog as a notun bau :) still do..

Santanuda-- you have put it just right about the sadness.. that bittersweet feeling lingers on. thanks for appreciating the translation..

The Ancient Mariner-- Long time! I have not heard tomake chai yet.. will look out for it..

Sujoy Bhattacharjee said...

Haha! That brought back some old memories. This was my introduction to Anjan Dutt at college. Initially had a tough time understanding the lyrics.
(One crazy friend even made an STD call to Kolkata at this number just to see if someone picks it up)

gaizabonts said...

Your comment on my post starts making more sense! Thank you for this! :)

Gauri Gharpure said...

Atul, I am glad you heard this!

The Whiny Guy said...

Lovely! Was looking for a translation for my non-Bong friends.