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Manna Dey

01 May 1919 (Age 98)

Prabodh Chandra Dey better known by his nickname Manna Dey, was an Indian playback singer. He made his debut as a playback singer in the film Tamanna in 1942, and recorded more than 4000 songs during 1942-2013. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1971, the Padma Bhushan in 2005 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2007. He died at the age of 94 on 24th October 2013 at 3:50 AM in Bangalore at Hrudayalaya due to cardiac arrest.

Manna Dey sang mainly in Hindi and Bengali; he also recorded songs in several other Indian languages. His peak period in Hindi playback singing is considered to be from 1953-1976.

Early life

Dey was born to Purna Chandra (father) and Mahamaya Dey (mother) on 1 May 1919. Besides his parents, his youngest paternal uncle, Sangeetacharya (meaning "Venerable Teacher of Music" in Sanskrit) K. C. Dey highly inspired and influenced him. He received his early education in a small pre-primary school named Indu Babur Pathshala. Thereafter, he attended Scottish Church Collegiate School and Scottish Church College, and Manna Dey manifested a keen liking for sports events like wrestling and boxing and excelled in both till his college days. He graduated from Vidyasagar College. He did stage shows as a child singer in school since 1929.

During Dey’s years at Scottish Church College, he sang to entertain his classmates. He began taking singing lessons from his uncle, Krishna Chandra Dey and Ustad Dabir Khan. During this period, Manna Dey stood first for three consecutive years in three different categories of inter-collegiate singing competitions.

Hindi Film career

Early Career (1942-1953)

In 1942, Dey accompanied Krishna Chandra Dey on a visit to Bombay. There he started working as an assistant music director first under Krishna Chandra Dey, and then under Sachin Dev Burman. Later, he assisted other music composers and then started to work independently. While working independently as a music director for various Hindi movies, Manna Dey continued to take musical lessons in Hindustani classical music from Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan.

Dey started his career in playback singing with the movie Tamanna, in 1942. The musical score was by Krishna Chandra Dey and Manna sang a duet named "Jago Aayee Usha Ponchi Boley Jago" with Suraiya which was an instant hit. His songs like "O Prem Diwani Sambhal Ke Chalna" from 1944 film Kadambari composed by Anil Biswas, "Dil Churaney Ki Liye from Dur Chaley" (1946) composed by Jafar Khurshid, his duets with Amira Bahee like "E Diniya Jara Suney" from Kamala (1946) and duet song "Aaj Bor Aayee" with Meena Kapoor from 1947 film Chaltey Chaltey became chartbusters in respective years. Between 1945-47 many Manna Dey-Rajkumari duets like "Hay Gagan Me Badal Tharey" in 1945 for the film Vikaramaditya, "Aowji Morey" from Insaaf (1946), all 4 duets from the film Geet Govind composed by Pandit Indra - "Kit Ho Nando Kumar", "Chorr Sakhi Aaj Laj", "Apney Hi Rang", "Lalit Labang Lata" from Geet Govind became popular. He sang for first time songs composed by Sachin Dev Burman, Upar Gagan Vishal and Duniya Ke Logo in the 1950 movie, Mashal, which becmae poipular and from here his association with S.D.Burman began. Its lyrics were written by Kavi Pradeep. In 1952, Dey sang for a Bengali and a Marathi movie with the same name and storyline, Amar Bhupali. This established him as a leading playback singer in Bengali films and Marathi films as well by 1953.

Music career in other languages

    He sang around 1262 songs in Bengali. He recorded 611 songs in Bengali films and sung 356 Bengali non-film songs. He also sang 46 Rabindra Sangeet Songs in Bengali, 3 Dwigendra Geet, 84 Shayam Sangeet, 23 songs in Akashvani,3 title songs for Bengali TV serials, 103 Bengali songs from non-released Bengali films and 33 Bengali songs of other varieties.
    He sang 35 film songs in Bhojpuri, 2 songs in Magadh and one song in Maithilee language.
    He sang 13 Punjabi film songs and 5 non-film songs
    He sang 2 songs in Assameese films and 4 non-film songs in Assamese language.
    He sang 7 songs in Oriya language and 1 song each in Konkani film and Sindhi film.
    He sang 85 song sin Gujarathi films.
    He sang 55 Marathi songs in Marathi films and 15 non-film songs in Marathi.
    He sang 2 film songs in Kannada. He sang 2 in Malayalam - Maanasamaine Varoo from 1965 film Chemmeen and song Chemba Chemba ... from 1974 film Nellu sung with P Jayachandran both composed by Salil Chowdhary and lyrics by Vayalar.

Personal life

On 18 December 1953, Manna Dey married Sulochana Kumaran from Kerala, they have two daughters: Shuroma, born on 19 October 1956 and Sumita, born on 20 June 1958. Sulochana died in Bengaluru on 18 January 2012. She had been suffering from cancer for some time. Manna Dey finally stayed in Kalyanagar Bengaluru after spending more than fifty years in Mumbai.


At the celebration of 50 years singing life at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata.

Dey's Bengali language autobiography, Jiboner Jalsaghorey, has been published by the renowned Ananda Publisher in the year 2005 which has been translated in English as Memories Come Alive, in Hindi as Yaden Jee Uthi and in Marathi as Jiboner Jalsaghorey.

Jibaner Jalsaghore, a documentary on Dey's life, was released in 2008. Manna Dey Sangeet Academy is developing a complete archive on Manna Dey. In association with Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, the Manna Dey Music Archive has been developed in the Sangeet Bhawan.

He also lent his voice for Madhushala, composed by Late Harivansh Rai Bachchan.

Accolades and awards

Manna Dey was honoured with the titles Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

The following is the list of Manna Dey's other awards:

    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 and  Hindi film Mera Naam Joker 1971 Padma Shri Award by Government of India
    1972 Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Mera Naam Joker
    1985 Lata Mangeshkar Award awarded by Government of Madhya Pradesh
    1988 Michale Sahittyo Puraskar awarded by Renaissance Sanskritik Parishad, Dhaka
    1990 Shyamal Mitra Award by Mithun Fans Association
    1991 Sangeet Swarnachurr Award awarded by Shree Khetra Kala Prakashika, Puri
    1993 P.C.Chandra Award by P.C.Chandra Group & others
    1999 Kamala Devi Roy Award by Kamala Devi Group
    2001 Anandalok Lifetime Award by the 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 as Playback singer 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 by the Government of India
    2007 First Akshaya Mohanty Award by Government of Orissa
    2007 Awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award by the Government of India
    2008 Hony D. Lit Award by Jadavpur University
    2011 Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
    2011 Banga-Vibhushan by Government of West Bengal

2012 Annanyo Samman - The Annanyo Samman given by 24 Ghanta TV channel to Sri Manna Dey for his lifetime achievement.


Legendary Indian singer Manna Dey died on Thursday (October 23rd 2013) in Bangalore. He was 94 and survived by two daughters.

After a prolonged illness. Manna Dey breathed his last at a private hospital in Bangalore. "Dey breathed his last around 4 am. After his condition suddenly deteriorated in the wee hours though he was on a ventilator," KS Vasuki, spokesman of Narayana Hrudayalaya.

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