Legendary playback singer Manna Dey was loved by generations of music listeners and he mesmerized them all with his wonderful golden voice.He is still well remembered and loved by old and young alike.
Manna Dey was his stage name and his real name was Prabhat Chandra Dey.He was born to Purna Chandra Dey and Maha Maya on 1st May 1919 at Kolkata.
His uncle Krishna Chandra Dey was a musician at Mumbai and he worked with him after graduating from Vidyasagar College.He worked as assistant music director with Krishna Chandra Dey and with S.D.Burman.He assisted some other music composers too and started independently.
Playback singing started in 1942 with the film Tamanna.He sang a duet with Suraiya.The music was by his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey and that song became an instant hit.
He made several hits during 1945-1947 period.
From 47 to 57 music directors like Anil Biswas,Shankar Rai Vyas,S.K.Pai,S.D.Burman,Mohd.Safi, etc regularly utilized him.
Manna Dey established his versatility by singing classical raga based songs,fusion songs of Indian classical and pop songs,romantic ballads,quawwalis and even fast-paced songs.He became famous after the movie 'Do Bighe Zamin' in 1953 when two of his songs composed by Salil Choudhary became hits.
Manna Dey sang in all Indian languages.His peak playback singing was from 1953 to 1976.
Salil Choudhary worked with Manna Dey from 1953 to 1992 and Manna Dey sang songs for him In Hindi,Bengali and Malayalam films.
During 1953 to 1969 he rendered 708 Hindi songs.As a playback singer he sang over 3500 songs in Hindi,Bengali,Gujarati,Marathi,Malayalam,Kannada and Assamese films.
His last song was 'Hamari hi mutthi mein ' for 1991 film 'Prahar'.
Manna Dey was one among the quartet of four popular great singers, 'Mukesh,Mohd.Rafi and Kishore Kumar'.
Manna Dey married Sulochana Kumari who hailed from Kerala in Dec.1953.With her encouragement he sang his first Malayalam song which was composed by Salil Choudhary for the film 'Chemmeen'.That film earned National Award and Gold medal as Best film of that year in India and the song 'Manasa maine varoo' earned huge popularity.That song is still loved by Kerala people.
Manna Dey's wife Sulochana Kumari predeceased him and he is survived by two daughters.
His association with Shankar Jaikishan and Raj Kapoor produced many hits.
Songs like 'aye mere pyara watan', laaga chunri me daag', 'poocho na kaise', 'zindagi kaisi hai paheli', 'yeh dosti' , 'ek chatur naar', yeh raat bheegi bheegi' are all hits well remembered.
He received National award as Best Male singer in 1969 for Hindi film 'Huzur'.
In 1971 he received National award as Best Male singer for Bengali film 'Nishi Padma' and Hindi film 'Mera Naam Joker'.
He got 'Padma Shri' in 1971 and ' Padma Bhushan' in 2005.
He was given 'Dada Saheb Phalke Award' in 2007.
He got Filmfare Lifetime achievement award in 2011.
Manna Dey left this world at the age of 94 on 24 Oct. 2013.
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