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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Indian Singer Manna Dey, the living legend

Present generation may not know that Prabodh Chandra Deyis the actual name of legendary playback singer Manna Dey.

Brief profile of Manna Dey

Date of birth: 1 May 1919
Father: Purna Chandra Dey
Mother: Mahamaya Dey
Uncle: Sangeetacharya Krishna Chandra Dey, the famous blind singer.
Education: Started with a small pre-primary school, Indu Babur Pathshala. Afterwards he attended Scottish Church Collegiate School. College education was from Scottish Church College and Vidyasagar College. During his college days, Manna Dey became popular among his friends as a singer. He started learning singing under the guidance of his uncle, Krishna Chandra Dey and Ustad Dabir Khan. In his college days, Manna Dey stood first for three consecutive years in inter-collegiate singing competitions.
Spouse: Sulochana Kumaran. On 18 December 1953, Manna Dey married Sulochana Kumaran of Kerala.
Presently Manna Dey lives in Bangalore. Prior to that Manna Dey’s residence was at Juhu, Mumbai.
Daughters: Suroma and Sumita
Date of death: 24 October 2013.

Music Career of Manna Dey

In 1942, Manna Dey reached Mumbai with his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey to start his music career there. Initially he worked assistant of Krishna Chandra Dey. Gradually he started working as assistant of great music composer Sachin Dev Barman. Afterwards Manna Dey worked under many other music composers and ultimately started to work independently and at the same time he continued to take musical lessons in Hindustani classical music from Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan.

Manna Dey got his first break in playback singing in the year 1943. In Hindi film Tamanna, Manna Dey sang a duet song with Suraiya. Music director was Krishna Chandra Dey and the song was a hit. Manna Dey sang his first solo song composed by Sachin Dev Burman, Upar Gagan Vishal, in the 1950. The film was Mashal. 61 years has passed after the release of the song, still the song can be heard.

Manna Dey established himself in the Hindi film industry as a leading playback singer who can sing tough songs perfectly. In modern songs he blended classical music and became a unique playback singer in both Hindi and Bengali film industry. Manna Dey sang lot of Bengali songs in both Bengali films and Puja specials. Still now Bengalis are nostalgic about romantic songs of Manna Dey. Uttam Kumar, Bengali film super star of all time had lipped maximum number of songs of Manna Dey.

Manna Dey has sung songs in many regional languages apart from Bengali and won the heart of Indians.
Manna Dey recorded a popular classical duet song with Bhimsen Joshi. With Md. Rafi, Manna Dey has recorded more than 100 duet songs with both Lata Mangeskar and Asha Bhosle. The songs like ‘E raat bhigi bhigi’,’Pyar hua iqrar hua’, ‘Aja madhur sanam’ etc with Lata Mangeskar will charm the listeners even after several decades. In Raj Kapoor films Manna Dey was the first choice of music composer duo Shankar-Jaykishan.  Manna Dey has many famous comedy songs in Hindi films also in the lip of great comedian Mehmood. One of such song is ‘Ek Chatur Naar’ in film Padosan. This was a duet song with Kishore Kumar and is considered as one of the greatest comedy songs in Hindi films.

In Bengali films Manna Dey has different types of songs, done experiments with songs and enriched the world of Bengali songs. It may be recalled that in one stage of his career in Bengali songs, specially during Puja special songs, Manna Dey was victim of dirty politics of music industry. At that time he never got good lyrics. But a singer like him reached the top in spite of all odd situations and dominated Bengali songs for long time. Today Manna Dey has no anger for any one of them who were against him. This is the greatness of Manna Dey. At the age of 91, he is still experimenting on music, still trying to learn more and more.

In this context we can mention one incidence. Pandit Ajay Chakraborty was singing classical songs and Manna Dey was on the stage. After Pandit ji finished his song, the great artist with golden voice and huge concept on music, Manna Dey started crying because he could not sing those types of songs like Ajay Chakraborty. This is Manna Dey.

Manna Dey has recorded Nazrul Sangeet, songs of D.L.Roy and Hindi version of many Rabindra Sangeet. So far he has recorded over 3500 songs.

During the golden era of Indian music, leading male singers like Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Md. Rafi, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and many more were in the film industry. We have seen many clone artists of those famous singers and some of them even established themselves in the industry as playback singer afterwards but clone of Manna Dey is almost invisible. Even established artists of present generation do not dare to sing the songs like ‘Laaga Chunri Mein Daag’, ‘ Zindagi Kaisi Hai’ from film Anand, ‘ Poocho Na Kaise’, ‘ Sur Na Saje’,’Kasme Waade Pyar’ and many more songs. It seems that these songs were composed only for Manna Dey.

Manna Dey has published his autobiography, Jiboner Jalsaghorey in 2008. Originally it is written in Bengali language but has been translated in English as Memories Come Alive, in Hindi as Yaden Jee Uthi and in Marathi as Jiboner Jalsaghorey.

List of Awards

The list of awards is too long. Manna Dey has been honored with the Padma Shri and Padma Bhusan by Government of India.

The other awards received by Manna Dey are as follows:

1969: National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Hindi film Mere Huzur.
1971: National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Bengali film Nishi Padma.
1971: Padma Shri Award by Government of India.
1988:  Michale Sahittyo Puraskar awarded by Renaissance Sanskritik Parishad, Dhaka
1990: Shyamal Mitra Award by Mithun Fans Association.
1991: Sangeet Swarnachurr Award awarded by Shree Khetra Kala Prakashika, Puri
1993: P.C.Chandra Award by P.C.Chandra Group & others.
1999: Kamala Devi Roy Award by Kamala Devi Group.
2001: Anandalok Lifetime Award by AnandaBazar Group.
2002:  Special Jury Swaralaya Yesudas Award for outstanding performance in music.
2003: Alauddin Khan Award by the Government of India.
2004: National Award as Playback singer by Government of India
2004: Hon. D. Lit Award by the Rabindra Bharati University.
2005: Lifetime Achievement award by the Government of Maharastra.
2005: Padma Bhusan Award by the Government of India .
2007: First AKSHAYA Award by Government of Orrisa.
2007 Awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award by the Government of India.
2008: Hon. D. Lit Award by Jadavpur University.
2011: Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.

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