'As long as you're here, I'm here,' says the rock legend with gratitude to his fans and admirers
National Award-winning rock icon Faruq Mahfuz Anam, better known as James, and celebrated as 'Nagar Baul' or simply 'Guru,' turned 57 on Saturday.
Admirers showered the certified legend of the country's band music scene with genuine respect and affection in spades across the country, as well as virtual platforms.
Since the late 1980s, the most charismatic frontman of his generation with renowned rock band 'Nagar Baul' (formerly known as 'Feelings'), has entrenched his legacy in the hearts of his followers, who eagerly anticipate the rock legend's birthday celebrations each and every year.
While millions of fans across the globe have been celebrating the day with noteworthy events, his fans and admirers in the Bangladeshi entertainment sphere showered the iconic superstar throughout the day, sharing their special moments and tributes.
Marking the day, popular actors Ziaul Faruq Apurba and Afran Nisho shared their candid presentation of the song "Jodi Kokhono Bhul Hoye Jay," one of the popular songs of James from Apurba's official Facebook page as a tribute to the legend. Apurba sang the track with Nisho playing the acoustic guitar.
Aurthohin frontman and pioneer bass guitarist Saidus Khaled, popularly known as 'Bassbaba Sumon', shared a picture with James with a heartfelt caption mentioning how he became a mainstream musician because of James.
"When I completed my SSC exam, I went to one of the practice sessions of his band 'Feelings' at his house with one of my friends, and he insisted me to play bass guitar at the session with the band. I did not have any experience nor a personal guitar, but after the session he invited me to join the band saying "Welcome to Feelings," which eventually launched my mainstream music career," Sumon wrote on his Facebook profile on Saturday.
Many other bands, musicians and celebrities have also shared their memories with the rock legend on Facebook and Instagram, showering the superstar with love and blessings throughout the day.
Besides, fans of the legendary singer under the banner ‘Dushtu Cheler Dol' have arranged numerous events in 64 districts throughout the nation, according to his spokesperson Rubaiyat Tagore Robin.
Seeking the well-being and good health of the rock superstar, special prayers were held in Dhaka, Khulna, Jessore, Narsingdi, Rangpur, Meherpur, Kurigram, Bhola, Patuakhali, Kishoreganj, and other locations across the nation.
Fans in Kishoreganj have taken initiative to test blood groups for free from 10am to 4pm in several places inside the district.
Meanwhile, the day was celebrated by expatriate Bangladeshi fans in 16 countries of the world, most notably in the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Dubai etc.
They have also shared photographs and emotional posts on social media platforms regarding their celebrations and memories of attending his concerts.
Robin further said that James has given a special message to the fans on the occasion of his birthday.
"As long as you're here, I'm here," said the rock legend with gratitude to his fans and admirers.
Life and career
Born in 1964 in Naogaon at Rajshahi, James was brought up in Chittagong due to his father Mojammel Haque's work who later became the Chairman of the Dhaka Education Board.
His family did not approve of his wish to become a musician, thus he left home in 1976 and started living in Aziz Boarding in Pahartali, Chittagong.
Without the approval of his family, James started his profound journey in music in his youth during the late 70's. He formed his band 'Feelings' in 1977 with himself on vocals and lead guitar, and released the band's first album 'Station Road' in 1987.
The band was later renamed as 'Nagar Baul', a moniker that James has also adopted individually.
Besides the other two companions, LRB and ARK in the 'Big Three of Bangladeshi Rock' in the 90's era in the Bangladeshi music industry, James garnered immense popularity among fans all over the world with his versatile style in psychedelic rock.
He has also established his legacy as a solo artist and a successful playback singer in both Dhallywood and Bollywood.
In 2006, he debuted in Bollywood as a playback singer in Anurag Basu's film 'Gangstar', and his journey in Bollywood continued with three other films - 'Woh Lamhe' (2006), 'Life... in a Metro' (2007) and 'Warning' (2013).
In his motherland, James received the Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer twice for the films 'Desha: The Leader' (2014) and 'Swatta' (2017).
As a solo artist, he has released a total of eight albums and many mixed albums with renowned artists of Bangladesh.
'Taray Taray Rotiye Debo' (penned by legendary poet Shamsur Rahman), 'Maa', 'Bangladesh', 'Pagla Hawaa', 'Dushtu Chheler Dol', 'Guru Ghor Banaila Ki Diya', 'Mirabai' etc. are some of James's iconic Bengali rock numbers that cemented his legacy as 'Guru' to his fans in all over the world.
James has also proved his versatility in other mediums as a photographer and media entrepreneur. He is the Founder and Chairman of the board of renowned Bangladeshi production house Red Dot Entertainment.