Music is the best medicine for Kolkata doctor group Fab Four

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Byatikromi Doctors Group on a Roll with Over 200 Shows Across 19+

Byatikromi Doctors Group on a Roll with Over 200 Shows Across 19+

They are among the most wanted doctors in Kolkata: Dr. Tapas Raychaudhury, renowned heart surgeon who in 2018 led the team that performed the first heart transplant in East India; Dr. Raja Roy, interventional cardiologist; Dr. Shivaji Basu, urologist; and Dr. Vivek Datta, eye surgeon. Forget the music, even meeting them during the day might prove difficult. Yet these medicine men have, as a band called Byatikromi (“the exceptional”), outlived most bands and troupes with their 19-year streak of old hits.

Today, the youngest member of Byatikromi is in his late 50s and the oldest in his early 60s; and of the 19 years they have been together, two have been swept away by the pandemic, which has also changed the way they perform – from more people on stage to just four of them singing in harmony to recorded tracks; but what is gratifying for them is that they can still perform. Last week they performed at the Bengal Club; the following week they have a show at Fortis Hospital.

Back to old times

“We played all over the country – we must have done over 200 shows in those 19 years. People ask us how you manage to find time for music despite being so busy, but when you’re passionate about something, you always find time for it,” said Dr Roy.

For a long time, the group sang old popular songs in Bengali, and over the years, as their own popularity as a group grew, they also added old Hindi and English numbers to their performances. While what they sing on a particular night largely depends on the mood of the audience, the songs invariably belong to the quiet era when music was more about melody than noise – the era of Salil Chowdhury and Hemant Kumar and Cliff Richard.

Their journey began in 2004, when they first performed together at Camac Street. “The audience was simply hypnotized,” recalls Dr. Roy. In the audience was a hotelier from Bangladesh, who took the doctors to Dhaka where they performed with a group of local doctors. The trip ended with the release of a CD which, according to Dr. Roy, “went listeners excited”. And so, Byatikromi was born.

Not here for the money

“We don’t gain anything from performance,” Dr. Raychaudhury said. “We are asking for a sum that is immediately donated to NGOs working for the poor or the marginalized.”

The band members insisted that their greatest reward from music was relaxation.

“We all have very stressful jobs and music relaxes us. Also, the kind of songs we sing take us back to our childhood. We get to relive our younger days. We can also feel this happening to our audience, who enjoy a respite from the stresses and daily struggles. This is Byatikromi’s USP,” Dr. Raychaudhury said.

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