M A I N   N E W S

Manna Dey, the golden voice, goes silent at 94
Shubhadeep Choudhury/TNS

He had a very pleasant and easy personality. He was very dedicated to his work. I salute him and pray that his soul rests in peace
— Lata Mangeshkar on Twitter

"The nation has lost a veteran playback singer, a versatile artiste of extraordinary ability and a creative genius who mesmerised listeners with his enchanting voice
— Pranab Mukherjee, President

Bangalore, October 24
Manna Dey, the proverbial last Mohican among the singers who lighted up the Bollywood musical scene in the sixties and seventies, passed away at a private hospital early this morning.

The recipient of countless awards, including Dada Saheb Phalke Award and Padma Bhushan, was 94 and leaves behind his two daughters and scores of admirers.

Dey’s wife Sulochana died last year. She was a Malayali who grew up in Mumbai. She sang Rabindra Sangeet (songs of Tagore) that brought them in touch with each other.

Dey’s body was taken from the hospital to cultural centre Ravindra Kalakshetra, where friends and fans paid their last respects. The last rites were later performed at the Hebbal crematorium here.

The singer, a contemporary of golden era voices such as Mukesh, Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Talat Mehmood and others, has been in and out of hospital the last few months. His daughter Sumita said he died of a cardiac arrest. Besides belting out chartbusters in Hindi and his native Bengali, Manna Dey also sang Malayalam, Odiya, Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi and Bhojpuri songs.

Born in Kolkata on May 1, 1919, Manna Dey was one of four sons of his bank employee father. He was named Prabodh Chandra Dey but his mother called him Mana, a name that stuck with his close relatives and friends.

His colleagues in Mumbai were the first to call him Manna. Dey never liked his name “Prabodh” (which means consolation in Bengali) and did not mind being known as Manna Dey as his name spread far and wide.

Dey’s first guru was his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey, who is best known for his rendering of kirtans. His first major break in Mumbai was assisting the legendary SD Burman. “Sachinda”, as Dey called Burman, gave him his first solo (“Upar gagan vishal” in the “Mashaal”). Burman had also composed some memorable numbers for Dey, including “Poocho na keise maine raat bitai”.

Both Dey and Burman passionately followed soccer but supported rival Kolkata teams Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, respectively. This often put Dey in a difficult situation when he worked under the legendary composer. Dey also learned wrestling at a young age. In his autobiography “Jibaner Jalshaghare” (in the music room of life), Manna Dey profoundly thanked music director duo Shankar-Jaikishen for his success as a singer.





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