The new year has started with its own roll of departures. The influential 1960s songwriter and singer Peter Sarstedt died on Sunday at the age of 75. Not everyone knows that the British-Indian singer-songwriter, who retired in 2013, was born in Delhi in 1941 and went to Kurseong’s Victoria Boys School in West Bengal.
Sarstedt composed several songs about his growing up years in Bengal, such as Strategy Chatterjee, Kurseong, and Don’t Go To India (video above), which is from his final album, Restless Heart. The song is an ode to the hippie trail of the 1960s through India and Afghanistan: “And first by taxi cab to London airport to catch a jet plane to India, down by this holy girl, I sat there spellbound,” he recounts.
Sarstedt’s India connections extend further. His hit song Where Do You Go To My Lovely – supposedly about Sophia Loren – was prominently featured by Wes Anderson in his 2007 movie The Darjeeling Limited, the American filmmaker’s tribute of sorts to the films of Satyajit Ray.
The Bengali musician and filmmaker Anjan Dutt covered the track for his third solo album, Bhalobashi Tomay, from 1996. His title (video below): Mala Tumi Ke (Who Are You, Mala).