Manna Dey

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Manna Dey

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Contents

Sources

i)The Times of India24 Oct 13

ii)The Times of India Jun 10, 2013

iii) HE WAS MANNA FROM HEAVEN

Avijit Ghosh | TNN The Times of India

iv) MELODY KING

The Times of India

v) EVERY SONG HAS ITS DEY

The Times of India

vi) When a Bhimsen Joshi duet gave him cold feet

Utthara Kumari B | TNN The Times of India

vii) Manna Dey, 94, the Voice of Many a Bollywood Star, Dies

By HARESH PANDYA

The New York Times October 31, 2013 [1]

Childhood and education in music

Manna Dey was christened as Probodh Chandra Dey by his parents. Manna Dey had a keen interest in wrestling and boxing, and he excelled at both. He was also popular for the pranks he played at his school and college friends.

Born in Kolkata, May 1, 1919, barely three weeks after the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the nephew of the great blind singer KC Dey was the last of the Super Six male singers — Mohd Rafi, Hemant Kumar, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood and Kishore Kumar being the other five — whose distinctive voices post-independent India grew up listening to through the 1940s to the 1980s.

Manna Dey realised his passion for singing during school days, when he won the award of Best Singer for three consecutive years in school. Due to his active participation in extra curricular activities he was always considered a leader among his friends.

Studied at Scottish Church School and Vidyasagar College in Calcutta.

At 18, gave his first public performance in 1937, Scottish Church College

Deeply moved by Netaji, attended public meetings in the city Started taking lessons from his uncle KC Dey

At school, Manna Dey used to take singing lessons from his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey and Ustad Dabir Khan. After he started working independently, he continued taking music lessons from stalwarts like Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan.

Career

Manna Dey was a boy when uncle KC Dey would take music lessons in their north Kolkata home. That’s where Manna met SD Burman first, and took an instant liking to, “perhaps for his unusually fair skin tone!” — he would say. He sat next to Sachinda when he’d sing, and later belted out the songs, complete with nasal intonation! In 1942, went as KC Dey’s assistant to Mumbai. Briefly assisted composer SD Burman too

Manna Dey started his career in playback singing with the film Tamanna in 1943. He sang his first song with Suraiya.

He was paid Rs 150. It would be seven years before he had another chance to sing in a Hindi film. But “Upar Gagan Vishal,” which he sang in the 1950 movie “Mashaal,” was his breakthrough.

And after that there was no looking back for him. Some of the most popular Manna Dey songs were - Ek Chathur Naar (Padosan), Aye Mere Pyare Watan, Laga Chunari Mein Daag and many others.

Briefly in the 1950s, he looked like becoming the on-screen voice of Raj Kapoor in films like Shree 420 and Chori Chori where he paired with Lata Mangeshkar for three unforgettable tracks: Yeh raat bheegi bheegi, Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein hum and Jahan main jaati hoon. But after Kapoor settled with Mukesh as his first choice playback, Dey was left without a major hero to lend his voice to. He sang for Shammi Kapoor, Balraj Sahni, Rajesh Khanna and Dharmendra, but he never became their preferred and regular on-screen voice. The only exception was Mehmood for whom he sang a bunch of zany tracks.

Dey took pride in his singing. It is well-known that he didn’t want to lose out to Kishore Kumar in the musical duel, Ek chatur nar (Padosan). Dey apparently had to be convinced by actor-director Mehmood who told him, “The song isn’t about the superior singer but about two characters.” Fellow singers loved his ability to express emotions in a song. In his autobiography, Memories come alive, Dey recalls Lata Mangeshkar calling him up and saying, “Manna da, your Kasme wade (Upkar) has enchanted me. How did you manage to emote so well? The melody haunts me so relentlessly.”

Classical songs such as Aayo kahan se ghanshyam (Buddha Mil Gaya), Poochcho na kaise maine raen bitayee, (Meri Surat Teri Aankhen), Tere naina talash kare jise (Talash), Jhanak jhanak tore baaje payaliya (Mere Huzoor) — were his calling card.

Dey sang two of the finest qawwalis in Bombay cinema: Na to karwan ki talash hai (Barsat Ki Raat) and O meri zohrajabeen (Waqt). The track, Yaari Hai imaan mera (Zanjeer), orchestrated to give it a North-west frontier feel and filmed on a Pathan, topped the annual Binaca Geet Mala in 1973. He infused earthiness into folk songs with ease. Few singers better expressed melancholia. Every note of Aye mere pyaare watan (‘Kabuliwala’) brings out a homesick pathan’s craving for his homeland. His voice oozes the resignation of a cancer patient who scoffs at death in Zindagi kaisi hai paheli hai (‘Anand’).

CAREER OF SMASH HITS

Recorded over 3,500 songs in his six-decade career Debut as playback | Jaago aayee usha (Film Tamanna, 1942). Duet with Suraiya Last film song recorded | Duniya walon ko nahi kuchch bhi khabar (Film Umar, 2005) His first big hit was an S D Burman score — Upar Gagan Vishal in Mashaal — in 1950

Made his Bengali playback debut in 1954 with Grihaprabesh

1969: Released first Rabindrasangeet album

In 2003, Calcutta celebrated 60 years of his musical career at Netaji Indoor Stadium

As an actor

Ambarish Mishra | TNN records

“I was always asked to sing for beggars and boatmen,’’ he once said. “Imagine my plight when Vijaybhai Bhatt of Prakash Pictures summoned me to sing for the character of Valmiki. The film was Ram Rajya. I was 22. My hair-line began receding after that,’’ he laughed.

The man

Soccer mania

Wrestling & boxing were early passions

Loved wrestling, boxing, cricket and flying kites, especially with fellow singer Mohd Rafi

As a Mohun Bagan football club fan, sparred with SD Burman, an East Bengal fan

In 1946, Manna ran into SD at Filmistan Studios and the composer asked the singer to assist him. “He had a distinct style of functioning, an impeccable sense of humour, and a passion for football,” Manna would recall. This shared passion often caused trouble. “He was a diehard East Bengal fan, I an ardent Mohan Bagan supporter. So, arguments were inevitable!”

Friends

Doyens such as S D Burman, Faiyaz Khan and Begum Akhtar regularly held soirees at the Dey residence

Family

Manna Dey married Sulochana Kumaran in 1953, who died of cancer in 2012, a year before he. Manna died in 2013, at age 94. He is survived by his daughters Shuroma and Sumita Deb

Rafi the best

Manna sang with every music director, teamed with every voice and showered maximum praise on Rafi, the voice that got the cream of pickings. “Kishore had natural aptitude, a great voice but Rafi was undoubtedly the best,” he once said.

Later life

Shifted to Bangalore in 2000

At age 90-plus, he was giving concerts in Bangalore. That he sang a most difficult song — ‘Laaga Chunri Mein Daag — with ease said it all.

He would say: “Do you know, even today (he was 90 then) I drive my car to the market and buy fish? I am very particular about fish.’’

After wife Sulochana passed away in January 2012, a few months before his 93rd birthday, Manna led a largely reclusive life

Awards

1969 | National award (sur sangeet sansad) for best male playback for Mere Huzur (Jhanak jhanak tori baje payaliya)

1971 | National award for best male playback for Bengali film Nishi Padma

1971 | Padma Shri

2005 | Padma Bhushan

2009 | Dadasaheb Phalke Award

In 1970, he won National Award as playback singer for 'Nishi Padmo' (Bengali film). In 1971, he was honoured with Padmashree Award. He received Lifetime Achievement Award by the Govt of Maharashtra, in 2005.He has also been awarded Dada Saheb Phalke Award, Yesudas Award, PC Chandra Award. In 2011, he was honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award by Filmfare.

Master of the classical and the comic

Singer Manna Dey, master of the classical and the comic, passes away

Avijit Ghosh, TNN | Oct 24, 2013

The Times of India

Singer Manna Dey's mastery over classical music made him the first-choice for complex raga-based melodies among composers, but he was also a master of fun-and-frolic tracks that Hindi cinema abounds with.

That he could deliver both Laga chunri mein daag (film: Dil Hi To Hai) and Aao twist karein (film: 'Bhoot Bangla') -- songs that belong to opposite ends of the film music spectrum with consummate ease underlined his versatility and quality as a singer.

No surprise, the peerless Mohd Rafi once told journalists, "You listen to my songs. I listen to Manna Dey's songs only."

Born in Kolkata, barely three weeks after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919, the nephew of the great blind singer KC Dey was the last of the Super Six male singers -- Mohd Rafi, Hemant Kumar, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood and Kishore Kumar being the other five -- whose distinctive voices post-independent India grew up listening to on radio and gramophone through the 1940s to the 1980s.

He sang over 3,500 songs in a career spanning six decades. Dey's first film song, Jaago aayi usha panchchi bole jago, came in Tamanna (1942) and his last in Duniya walon ko nahi kuchch bhi khabar (film: Umar, 2005). None of his more prolific contemporaries had such a long career.

In Bombay cinema, Dey was respected by his peers and admired by composers but was never a favourite of top stars. For a brief period in the 1950s, he looked like becoming the on-screen voice of Raj Kapoor in films like Shree 420 (Dil ka haal sune dilwala and Pyaar hua ikraar hua) and Chori Chori where he paired with Lata Mangeshkar for three unforgettable romantic tracks: Yeh raat bheegi bheegi, Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein hum and Jahan main jaati hoon.

But after Kapoor settled with Mukesh as his first choice playback, Dey was left without a major hero to lend his voice to. He sang for many of them -- ranging from Shammi Kapoor (Ujala) to Balraj Sahni (Waqt), from Rajesh Khanna (Anand) to Dharmendra (Seeta aur Geeta) but he never became their preferred and regular on-screen voice.

The only exception was Mehmood for whom he sang a bunch of zany tracks such as Zodi hammari jamega kaise jaani (film: 'Aulaad') and O meri maina (film: 'Pyaar Kiye Ja').

Dey took pride in his singing. It is a well-known story that he didn't want to lose out to Kishore Kumar in the classical musical duel, Ek chaturnar (film: Padosan). It is said that Dey had to be convinced by actor-director Mehmood who told him, "The song isn't about who's the superior singer but about two characters." Interestingly, Dey had a similar singing duel with the renowned classical singer Bhimsen Joshi in Basant Bahar.

Fellow singers loved his ability to express emotions in a song. In his autobiography, Memories come alive, Dey recounts how Lata Mangeshkar called him up one day and said, "Manna da, your Kasme wade (film: Upkar) has enchanted me. How did you manage to emote so well? The melody haunts me so relentlessly that I am often tempted to cancel my own recording sessions."

Classical songs such as Aayo kahan se ghanshyam (film: Buddha Mil Gaya), Poochcho na kaise maine raen bitayee, (film: Meri Surat Teri Aankhen), Tere naina talash kare jise (film: Talash), Jhanak jhanak tore baaje payaliya (film: Mere Huzoor) -- were his calling card.

But Dey also sang to two of the finest qawwalis in Bombay cinema: Na to karwan ki talash hai (film: Barsat Ki Raat) and O meri zohrajabeen (film: Waqt). The track, Yaari Hai imaan mera (film: Zanjeer), orchestrated to give it a North-west frontier feel and filmed on a Pathan, topped the annual Binaca Geet Mala in 1973. And he infused earthiness into folk songs with ease; just listen to Chalat musafir moh liyo re pinjrewali muniya (film: 'Teesri Kasam').

Few singers were better in expressing melancholia and crooning ruminative philosophical tracks. Every note of Aye mere pyaare watan (film: 'Kabuliwala') brings out the homesick pathan's craving for homeland. And his voice brings out the resignation of a cancer patient who dares to laugh at death in Zindagi kaisi hai paheli hai (film: 'Anand').

His vocal range was better exploited in Bengali where he showcased his talent both as a singer and a composer in films as well as non-film albums, especially in the genre of adhunik (modern songs). He also cut albums in several other genres such as Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti, Shyama Sangeet and more.

In popular Bengali music, there is no better song of longing than Coffee houser se adda aar nayee. Two songs from 'Teen Bhubaner Paare', the Soumitro Chatterjee-Tanuja starrer, again illustrate his versatilty. Hoyto tomari jonno is among the finest odes to romance and Jeebone ki parbo na continues to be a floor-scorcher every Pujo.

Few know Dey has a cache of work in Gujarati, Marathi and Malayalam films too. He even sang in Bhojpuri, Chhattisgarhi and Magadhi films.

Among his non-filmi work, his recitation of Harivansh Rai Bachchan's Madhushala effortlessly blended with literature. Amitabh Bachchan acknowledged this in a tweet on Thursday. "Flooded with memories and his songs. In particular his rendition of Madhushala," Bachchan said. Like Manna Dey songs, there was something straight from the heart in there.


Top 10 classics by Manna Dey

Prabodh Chandra Dey aka Manna Dey, is one of the greatest playback singers in Hindi and Bengali films. He has recorded more than 3500 songs over the course of his career. Along with Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Mukesh, he dominated Indian film playback music from the 1950s to the 1970. Dey has been honored with the titles Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Dada Saheb Phalke award. Here is the list of beautiful compilation of his songs.

Puchho na kaise maine rain bitayee is a classical song by Manna Dey. In word we it can be described as ‘Simply superb’ song. The song is one of S D Burman's, Manna Dey's and Hindi Films' immortal songs that can stop and stun you into a sad ecstasy wherever and whenever you hear it.

The song truly cannot be described in words. Ay mere pyare watan, ay mere bichhade chaman is regarded as one of the best patriotic songs which touch the heart & eyes get fill with tears. The playback singing and compositions are just incomparable.

Laga chunari main daag is a classical masterpiece and also a tongue-twister. It is an exact composition of Roshan Sahib’s invincible qawwali composition. It is one of the most meaningful songs of the era.

Ek chatur naar karke singar is a song created by an awesome combo of Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar. No one needs an introduction of this song as everyone knows about the popularity of this number. Reportedly the song 'Ek Chatur Naar' was partly improvised by Kishore Kumar at the time of recording.

Tu Pyaar Ka Saagar Hai is simply amazing song and Manna Dey has put his heart and soul into it. Actor Balraj Sahani did full justice with his great acting. Indeed, an immortal creation from the true music mentors.

O meri zohra jabeen Manna Dey has given a romantic and playful touch to this song. The song has been used in many Bollywood movies namely Dilwale Dulhaniyaan Le Jayenge and the it still spreads its magic.

Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli is a beautiful song with great lyrics and Manna's free-flowing voice. The song is a synonym with the legendary superstar Rajesh Khanna.


Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni Men 4:26 Lata Mangeshkar,Manna Dey Though not purely an Indian music, the song has a Midas touch by great singers Lata Mageshkar and Manna Dey. The song has been inspired by traditional southern Italian music.

Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi is again a masterpiece by Lata and Manna. The lyrics and composition both compliments each other which come up as a wonderful piece to enjoy. Featuring Nargis in the song has added a wow factor to the song.

Chunri sambhal gori. Udi chali jaye rey: This song is another hit by Manna Ji. Its fast beats, peppiness and the dance has made a great combination to enjoy.

Stories behind the songs

Manna Dey, in a career that spanned over six decades, generated not only a number of memorable melodies but an an equal number of interesting stories behind them

Ami Sri Sri Bhojohori Manna | The famous song shot with Bengali actor Samit Bhanja in Prothom Kodom Phul was penned by lyricist Pulak Bandopadhyay after he watched Manna cooking in his kitchen

E Bhai Zara Dekhke Chalo | Raj Kapoor acted out the circus scene in Mera Naam Joker while Manna Dey was recording in the studio to help the singer bring the right feel to the song

Ek Chatur Nar | The Manna-Kishore Padosan hit duet took 12 hours to record. Manna had at first refused to sing with Kishore as he felt their styles weren’t compatible. He did find it difficult to record because Kishore incessantly cracked jokes while recording

Ketki Gulab Juhi | Manna was apprehensive about the duet with Pt Bhimsen Joshi believing he was no match for the classical maestro. But his wife Sulochana gave him confidence

He related how he developed cold feet once and refused to sing. “Basant Bahar was based on classical music. I was to sing this musical duel Ketki gulab with Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. I was to sing for the hero and he had to win. I told my wife I don’t think I can compete with the ustad, even in a film. My wife chided me. I rehearsed a full fortnight... After listening to me, Panditji praised me and said: why don’t you pursue classical singing?’ That was the best compliment I have had.’’

Laaga Chunri Mein Daag He would recall: “I was rehearsing this classical song from Dil Hi Toh Hai when Raj Kapoor, on whom this song was to be picturised, came to the studio. He heard me and got nervous. He told me, Mannada, I can’t enact this. Can’t you make it a bit flat?’ But music director Roshan told Raj Kapoor: This is supposed to be a competition and you are expected to defeat the dancer. Your song should be special. Finally, Raj Kapoor was convinced.’’

Puchho Na Kaise Maine Rain Bitai | SD Burman turned up at Dey’s house in a vest and lungi. “Sachinda said Manna, set up the harmonium immediately. I realised he’s just given birth to a musicchild. The next day, we recorded it…”

About Raag Ahir Bhairav he related an anecdote: “It was 9.30pm. We were in Bombay then. Sachinda (music director S D Burman) came home waving a paper. He wanted me to sing the tune he had composed. I did, and the next day we recorded it. That was ‘Poocho Na Kaise’ in Ahir Bhairav.’’

Yeh Dosti… With Rafi | Beyond their love for music, Manna and Md Rafi shared a passion for flying kites. Rafi’s Mumbai house was opposite Manna’s and the two would often fly kites together

Zindgi Kaisi Hai Paheli Although Rajesh Khanna, by them a superstar, wanted his Aradhna mascot Kishore Kumar, to do all his singing, Manna Dey sang the challenging song for Khanna in the 1971 film “Anand.”

Assamese songs

Manna Dey and his association with Assamese music

india-north-east

Eastern Fare

Manna Dey led off his career in playback singing with the film Tamanna in 1942.

Manna Dey sang in two Assameese films including Aranya and Aparupa and recorded four non-film songs in Assamese language. Some of his famous songs in Assamese are -

Dinor Pohar Rangchangia - for the film Aranya (Music director - Sudhin Dasgupta) - 1978

O Xiparor Bandhav - with Dr Bhupen Hazarika for the film Aparupa (Music directors - Dulal Sen & Bindhyawasini Devi) – 1971

Aparoopa - with Dr Bhupen Hazarika for the film Aparupa (Music directors - Dulal Sen & Bindhyawasini Devi) - 1971

Amare Barikhon - Music director - Sudhin Dasgupta | Lyrics - Keshab Mahanta - 1972

Man Daponat - Music director - Sudhin Dasgupta | Lyrics - Keshab Mahanta - 1972

Akau Ebar Lag Pao Jodi - Music director - Sudhin Dasgupta | Lyrics - Keshab Mahanta - 1972

Kajol Lota Tumare Naam - Music director - Sudhin Dasgupta | Lyrics - Keshab Mahanta - 1972

Manna Dey also worked with legendary singer from Assam Dr. Bhupen Hazarika in the Hindi film Aarop in 1974.

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