October 27, 2013

Legendary Indian Playback Singer Manna Dey Dies

Legendary Indian singer Manna Dey, whose original name was Prabodh Chandra Deydied of a heart attack in Bangalore on October 24, 2013. He was 94. Dey recorded more than 4,000 songs during his career spanning from 1942 to 2013, and was famous for his playback work, recording songs for hundreds of movies for actors to lip sync to. He sang mainly in Hindi and Bengali, and ventured into several other Indian languages. The singer was popular in both India and Bangladesh. Netizens revisited his memory after his demise. Venkataramanan Ramasethu, an academician and blogger, remembered him:
A legendary icon and a musical genius on his own right who ruled the bollywood musical arena close to 40 years, at times I felt he was an unsung hero.
Akash Upadhyay posted 10 lesser-known facts about the legendary singer. Radio jockey, author and blogger Reema Moudgil noted:
So many songs. So many versions of one, exceptional voice.
India Today (@IndiaToday) portrayed Manna Dey's career in numbers:
Writer and blogger Madhulika Liddle in a tribute post for Manna Dey wrote:
That is what I love and admire about Manna Dey: his versatility, his immense range of songs, his ability to imbue his songs with so much emotion—whether that emotion was a deep love for one’s motherland, or pathos, or a rollicking don’t-give-a-damn. This was the man after one of whose songs a restaurant chain (Bhojohorimanna) was named. An era has gone. Manna Dey, the last of the great male playback singers of the golden years, has passed on. His voice will live on, though, and that will be some consolation. Some.
Manna Dey received the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honour in 2005. Image by D Chakrabarty. Copyright Demotix (24/10/2013)
Image by D Chakrabarty. Copyright Demotix
Journalist Abhinay Dey recounted a legendary song of Manna Dey that was popular among Bengalis which narrates the story of seven friends who met regularly at the legendary Coffee House at College Street Kolkata. The Coffee House has a historical significance for being the rendezvous of numerous scholars, editors, artists and writers based in Kolkata:
The song penned by Gauriprasanna Majumdar recounts the Coffee House days of seven friends, who sat over endless cups and cheap charminar cigarettes burning between their lips with dreams to make it big. But life has taken a toll on them, DSouza is now dead, Amal is dying of cancer, Rama is in an insane asylum betrayed by his lover, Sujata is married to a rich man, Nikhilesh is in Paris and Moidul has gone back to Dhaka. The seventh friend is the unnamed narrator pining for the old carefree days of Coffee House. There is not a time when I don’t get a lump in my throat listening to this song. The pain in his voice makes you die with DSouza, the guitarist of Grand Hotel, it makes you suffer as Amal, the failed poet, it makes you stare at nothingness like the insane Rama, the love less, failed actor.
He was also popular in Bangladesh. Blogger Professor Hijibijbij at Sachalayatan wrote:
আমার কৈশোর আর তারুণ্যের উদ্দাম দিনগুলিতে অবিচ্ছেদ্য সঙ্গী ছিল মান্না দের গান। সঙ্গী এখনো। কৈশোরের সেই দিনগুলি ছিল অসাধারণ - সারাদিন গান শুনতাম। দিন যেত, আর আমি একের পর এক আবিষ্কার করতাম মান্না দের গাওয়া এক একটি গান। গান তো নয় যেন সুরের জাল দিয়ে গেঁথে তোলা শব্দের মালা, যা অবলীলায় প্রকাশ করে আমার মনের একান্ত অনুভূতিগুলো! বাসার পুরানো ক্যাসেট প্লেয়ারে আমি শুনি মান্না দের গান। একবার শুনি, বারবার শুনি, কিন্তু গান পুরানো হয়না।
Manna Dey's songs were close to me during my adolescent days. They still accompany me. I listened to his songs everyday back then. As the day progressed I discovered more of his songs. Songs like necklaces of words sewn with music, which expressed my intimate feelings. I still listen to his songs in an old cassette player. I listen to them over and over, but they do not grow old.
Bangladeshi Blogger Zuberino (@zuberino) tweeted:
Indian writer and blogger Harini Calamur (@calamur) reported:
Anuradha Warrier, writer and blogger, listed a number of legendary songs of Manna Dey as a tribute. Bollywood Actor and anchor Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) remembered him:
First published in Global Voices Online


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