Salil Chowdhury was a music composer, instrumentalist, and poet from India. Though he has worked in most of the regional languages like Marathi, Gujarathi, Assamese, and others, his most poignant works are in Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam languages. He was born in a small village Harinavi, 24 Parganas, Bengal Presidency, British India, on November 19, 1922.
Salil would spend a lot of his time in tea fields. His father was a doctor. Once an Irish doctor gave him his collection of western classical. Salil's father would listen to it on his gramophone. He would cast coolies and people having lower income in his stage shows. Salil grew up listening to Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and others. Of all of these, Mozart was his most favorite. Salil learned to play flute on his own.
Salil went to Harinavi D.V.A.S High School and Bangabasi College, Calcutta. During his time in Bangabasi College, he became politically aware and joined Indian People's Theater Association. Salil would compose tunes and songs for it. All his work became extremely popular among the locals of the regions were Indian People's Theater Association traveled. In fact, leading singers of those times would also croon his songs.
Slowly, Salil veered towards Bengali cinema and composed music for more films like Paribortan, Mahabharati, and others. In 1953, he worked on his first Hindi movie named
Do Bigha Zamin. The film's music was a huge success, and it made Salil even more famous.
In his twenty years long career, he has been part of more than hundred motion pictures like Onde Roopa Eradu Guna, Nehru: The Jewel of India, Agar Aisa Ho Toh, In Search of Famine, and others. His well-wishers call him Salilda. Salil also had a knack for spotting talent. He once predicted that the guitarist working for him would soon become renowned.
His prediction turned genuine as he turned out to be Maestro Ilaiyaraaja. R. K Shekhar, A. R. Rahman's father used to arrange Salil's session. It inspired Rahman immensely. Salil has also won Filmfare Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, and Karnataka State Film Award.
In 1953, he married Jyoti Chowdhury. The couple had three daughters named Lipika, Alaka, and Tulika. A few years later, Salil got hitched to Sabita Chowdhury. She bore two sons named Sanjoy and Sukanta, and two daughters labelled Sanchari and Antara. Most of Salil's children flourished in their creative fields. Suresh Rao has authored a book on him named Salil Chowdhury: The Non-conformist Genius.