Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Batuk Nandy
June 27, 2010, 5:41 am
Filed under: India

Laila O Laila

While plodding through Peter Manuel‘s “Cassette Culture: Popular Music and Technology in North India“, I had a revelation: Filmi music makes up 72% of all music sales in India, but only 41% of the population speaks Hindi. So how did The Gramophone Company Ltd. – who at the time had a monopoly on record production in the country – get the other 350 million or so non-Hindi speaking Indians to buy Hindi language film music? Re-record the music without lyrics, of course.

Batuk Nandy – much like Sunil Ganguly – got his start back in the 78 era performing the music of Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore. But to the best of my knowledge, he only recorded two albums of Film songs, while the rest were Nazrul geeti and Rabindra sangeet. As of 2004, he was still releasing albums.

Catalog number 2392 928 on Polydor Records of India, released 1980.


great post!
but i was wondering.. does that 72% filmi mean just “bollywood”, or is music from the non-hindi regional cinema industries of tamil nadu, west bengal, assam, orissa, etc. included?

Comment by peter

When is your next Sublime Frequencies release come out? I bet you could do 3 or 4 more releases just on steel guitar.
Best wishes.

Comment by Paul

I am fairly certain that 72% is for all Filmi – not just the film music of Bollywood.

I am also pretty sure that before The Gramophone Company Ltd. lost their monopoly – and the independent regional cassette labels started up – it more like 90% or even higher…

I had written the statistics from Peter Manuel‘s “Cassette Culture: Popular Music and Technology in North India” book, but somehow lost my notes…

Comment by Radiodiffusion

hey, crazy. I just emailed you an mp3 of Batuk Nandy’s before reading this post. what a coincidence.
great stuff as always, thanks for this.

Comment by jesse

In addition to Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti and Hindi Film Songs Sree Batuk Nandy also recorded Bengali Modern Songs and Bengali Film Songs played on Steel/Hawaiian Electric Guitar. As usual, these are also exceptionally brilliant.

Kanak Kanti Sen

Comment by Kanak Kanti Sen

My father , Batuk Nandy the guitar legend died in 2001 September sufffering from a prolong illness, disability and a cerebral stroke which struck in January 2001. He has more than 60 albums to his credit dating from 1958 to 2000 comprising of several genres like Rabindrasangeet, Nazrul Geeti, Songs of Atulprosad, Dwijendralal /roy, and Popular hindi Film, Bengali films and also Semi Classical, Ghazal/Bengali Folk and Basic modern Songs.

Comment by nilanjann nandy

I was one of the very early students of Shri Batuk Nandy, back in Calcutta It was probably 1958, when I first met with this great guitarist and to this day, I cherish his memory. He was unique and a legend in his own rights. Even after 50 years, I still play the Hawaiin steel guitar in the way my guru, Shri Batuk Nandy taught me. He was a wonderful guitarist, great teacher and a down to the earth human being.

Comment by Sanjoy Das

Dear Dada Sanjoy Das

We want to listen more details of Sree Batuk Nandy – his style/technique of playing, his teaching style and much more. I saw his live performance very closely and talked to him in the year 1986. Despite that I would love to listen more about him from you. Below is the link where I wrote twice about this legend. I shall be happy if you kindly read those and help me correct anything I wrote wrong about him. Those are written very quickly and you will find some grammatical mistake and wrong information about his expiry. I have regular cantact with his only son Mr. Nilanjann Nandy and received a short Boigraphy of Sree Batuk Nandy a few days back.

With best of my regards,

Kanak Kanti Sen

Comment by Kanak Kanti Sen

Dear Bhai Kanak,

Thank you for your letter, addressed to me on Shri Batuk Nandy. Sorry, that I could not get back to you earlier. This is due to my health conditions. If you want my input on Shri Nandy, then I suggest that you write to me, at my e-mail address shown below:


But please do understand, that I may not be very prompt in replying back, due to my health issues. Thanks again.


Comment by sANJOY DAS

Dada Sanjoy Das

It is so kind of you that you replied on my letter. I am very much honoured. Almost everyday I opened this page to see whetere there is any reply. You are a very senior artist and I pay my highest respect to you. You are only man so far I know, in addition to Mr Nilanjann Nandy, who was trained under the greatest Hawaiian Guitar legend of all times Sree Batuk Nandy. I and the Hawaiian Guitar community as a whole have many things to know about Sree Batuk Nandy’s style. In my opinion Sree Batuk Nandy has been severely neglected after his death and consequently hawaiian guitar playing has become poorer.

However, I shall of course write to you at your personal e-mail address as soon as I can. I pray to the God for your good health and long life.

With best of my regards,

Kanak K Sen

Comment by Kanak Kanti Sen

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