Early Life of Manna Dey
Manna Dey was born on 1st May 1919 in Kolkata to Purna Chandra and Mahamaya Dey. He received his early education from a pre-primary school named Indu Babur Pathshala and thereafter he attended Scottish Church Collegiate School and Scottish Church College in Kolkata. He later graduated from Vidyasagar College. In his childhood, Manna Dey was very much occupied with sports like wrestling and boxing. He excelled in both the games. His days at Scottish Church College were his heydays; he entertained his companions with his tuneful voice. And by the time, he started receiving training under the great tutelage of his uncle, Krishna Chandra Dey, and Ustad Dabir Khan. Then, Manna Dey had already started participating in competitions. For three successive years, he took part in three different categories of inter-collegiate singing competitions and every time fetched the first position.
Career of Manna Dey
It was in 1942 when Manna Dey accompanied Krishna Chandra Dey to Mumbai. There he started working as an assistant under Krishna Chandra and then under Sachin Dev Burman. Later on he achieved the honour of being the assistant to noted music composers as well. But soon enough he started working independently and began composing music for many successful Hindi films. Simultaneously, he underwent training from Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan in Hindustani Classical music. In 1943, Dey got his first offer as a playback singer in the film ‘Tamanna’. He sang a duet with Suraiya and the music of the song was given by his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey. The song became a hit and Manna Dey was a star overnight.
Later, in 1950, Manna Dey sang for the movie, ‘Mashal’. He sang the song 'Upar Gagan Vishal' under the music direction of Sachin Dev Burman. In 1952, he lent his voice for a Bengali and a Marathi movie. Both the movies were made with the same name and storyline- ‘Amar Bhupali’. The movie placed him on the seat of a leading playback singer. Along with the legendary Bhimsen Joshi, he recorded a popular duet, ‘Ketaki Gulab Juhi’. At a much later stage he also sang duets of different genres like, ‘Yeh Dosti Hum Nehi Torenge’ (Sholay) and ‘Ek Chatur Naar’ (Padosan) along with Kishore Kumar. He worked with Hemant Kumar in Bengali films also. Manna Dey can be justifiably said to have pioneered a new musical genre in Indian music wherein Indian classical is blended with pop culture. He has also left a lasting impression on Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti. There are several songs of Rabindranath and Nazrul which he sang. Till date, he has recorded more than 3500 songs.
Filmography of Manna Dey
Manna Dey has done playback singing in several films, some of which are:
Recognitions to Manna Dey
Manna Dey was awarded by several recognitions throughout his life: • 1969 National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the Hindi Film Mere Huzur
• 1971 National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the Bengali film Nishi Padma
• 1971 Padma Shri Award
• 1985 Lata Mangeshkar Award by Government of Madhya Pradesh
• 1988 Michale Sahittyo Puraskar by Renaissance Sanskritik Parishad, Dhaka
• 1990 Shyamal Mitra Award by Mithun Fans Association
• 1991 Sangeet Swarnachur Award by Shree Khetra Kala Prakashika, Puri
• 1993 P.C.Chandra Award by P.C.Chandra Group
• 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 West Bengal
• 2004 National Award for Playback Singing by Government of Kerala
• 2004 Hony D. Lit Award by the Rabindra Bharati University
• 2005 Lifetime Achievement award by the Government of Maharashtra
• 2005 Padma Bhushan Award
• 2007 First AKSHAYA Award by Government of Odisha
• 2007 Awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award
• 2008 Hony D. Lit Award by Jadavpur University
• 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award by Filmfare.
Personal Life of Manna Dey
Manna Dey was married to Sulochana Kumaran from Kerala on 18th December 1953. The couple has been blessed with two daughters- Suroma and Sumita. Besides being a singer, Manna Dey has also written an autobiography in Bengali, titled, ‘Jiboner Jalsaghorey’. Published by Anando Publishers it has also been translated to English (Memories Come Alive) and Hindi (Yaden Jee Uthi).