RIP Manna Dey: The End Of A Musical Era



MUMBAI: Prabodh Chandra Dey, known by his stage name Manna Dey, who debuted in the film ‘Tamanna’ in 1942 and went on to record more than four thousand songs during 1942-2013 passed away on 24th October 2013 at 4:30 AM at Hrudayalaya in Bangalore due to multiple organ failure.

Born in 1919, he started his career as a music assistant in 1942. The following year people took notice of his talent with songs of ‘Ramrajya’.

It was, however, not until ‘Upar Gagan Vishal’ from the film ‘Mashaal’ (1950) that changed the course of his career and people began to take him seriously as a solo singer.

‘Laga Chunari Mein Daag’, or ‘Aayo Kahan Se Ghanshyam’ are some of the classics that Manna Dey would always be remembered for.

His contemporaries felt that he was the best choice when it came to songs with classical leanings, but then Manna Dey took everyone by surprise when he sang ‘Aoo Twist Karein’.

Manna Dey was never in any camp nor did he play anyone’s favourite. His voice was never associated with any hero, his name never doing the rounds of any music director’s camp for all songs of a movie; he charted his own path.

Coming to ‘Padosan’, Manna Dey was not at all happy when he was told that he would be Mahmood’s voice and Kishore Kumar would sing for Sunil Dutt.

But, this was not the only time that it happened to him.

Few years later a similar situation arose and this time it was in the film ‘Zanjeer’, song was ‘Yaari Hai Imaan Mera’, wherein he was Pran’s voice and not Amitabh Bachchan’s, who was the hero of the film.

Even though Mukesh was generally regarded as the voice of R.K. Films, Manna Dey gave some of his best songs for Raj Kapoor in films like ‘Chori Chori’, ‘Shree 420’ and even ‘Bobby’.

Interestingly, he sang more than fifty songs with Mohd Rafi and about hundred songs, each with Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

Memorable as his songs were in Hindi cinema, Manna Dey, who, for all his accomplishments, lived a humble life, did his own grocery, had a keen interest in soccer and was a very well respected artiste.

His departure leaves a vacuum nobody will dare attempt to fill.