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Prabodh Chandra Dey (born May 1, 1919), better known by his nickname Manna Dey, was one of the greatest playback singers in Hindi films and other vernacular Indian films, especially Bengali. Along with Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, he was a part of Indian film playback music from the 1950s to the 1970s. He has recorded more than 3500 songs over the course of his career. He was also awarded the "Dadasaheb Phalke Award" - the highest honour in Indian cinema for the year 2007 on 21 October 2009 by the President of India Prathiba Patil.

Perhaps his talent received his best accolade from the legendary Mohammad Rafi who once told the journalists: "You listen to my songs. I listen to Manna Dey songs only". Musicians like Sachin Dev Burman and Anil Biswas agreed that Manna Dey could sing any song of Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Talat Mehmood, but Rafi, Kishore, Mukesh and Talat would not be able to render vocally much of the technically perfect songs of Manna Dey.


He was born to Purna Chandra Dey (his father) and Mahamaya Dey (his mother). Apart from them, in his childhood he was greatly inspired and influenced by his youngest paternal uncle Sangeetacharya (meaning "Venerable Teacher of Music" in Sanskrit) K. C. Dey, who loved and pampered little Manna. He received his early education in a small pre-primary school popularly known as Indu Babur Pathshala. Thereafter he was sent to Scottish Church Collegiate School and later to the Scottish Church College to complete his schooling and pre-university education. After that, he was admitted to Vidyasagar College for his graduate education. From his very childhood, Manna Dey manifested a keen liking for sports events like wrestling and boxing and excelled in both. He was a jovial personality and was known for playing pranks upon people. His contemporaries readily acknowledge him as one of the most sociable contemporaries in his chosen vocation (a characteristic rare among contemporary fellow musicians, perhaps with the exception of the late Kishore Kumar).

Marriage and Children

It was on the 18th December 1953, Manna Dey married Sulochana Kumaran from Kerala. Suroma Dey, who was the eldest daughter was born on 19th October 1956, and on 20th June 1958, Sumita Dey followed.

Early career

It was during his intermediate classes at Scottish Church College that Manna Dey’s vocal talent became apparent. Beating the tables of the classroom and singing aloud to entertain his compatriots during recess became a common feature for the budding talent. Later he started taking singing lessons from his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey and from Ustad Dabir Khan. It was during this period of time that Manna Dey stood first for three consecutive years in three different categories of inter-collegiate singing competitions.

In 1942, Manna Dey accompanied his renowned uncle Krishna Chandra Dey on a visit to Mumbai. And there first under the tutelage of his uncle, and later Sachin Dev Burman, Manna Dey started working as a successful assistant music director. Later he also assisted other famous music composers and then decided to work independently. But even while working separately as a music director for different successful Hindi films, Manna Dey never stopped taking musical lessons in Hindustani classical music from two stalwarts, Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan.

Manna Dey started his career in playback singing with the film Tamanna in 1943. The musical score was set by his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey and he had to sing a duet with Suraiya. The song was an instant hit. People across the country loved the song. In 1950, Mashal was the second film where Manna Dey got the opportunity to sing a solo Upar Gagan Vishal and this time the melody was created by Sachin Dev Burman. In 1952, Manna Dey sang both for a Bengali and a Marathi film of the same name and storyline - Amar Bhupali, and established himself as a leading Bengali playback singer.

Success and fame

He was perhaps the most versatile singer in Bollywood. He recorded a legendary duet with classicist Bhimsen Joshi-- Ketaki Gulab Juhi. He also sang completely different genres of duet songs with Kishore Kumar like for example Yeh Dosti Hum Nehi Torenge (Sholay) and Ek Chatur Naar (Padosan). Manna Dey sang side by side the legendary Hemanta Mukherjee in Bengali film industry and also for other contemporary Bengali composers of the time offering unforgettable scores for modern Bengali songs. His immortal duet with Lata Mangeshkar in the film Sankhyabela in the lips of Uttam Kumar, "Ke Prothom Kachhe Esechi" brought him back to mainstream Bengali film music. In fact it would not be wrong to claim that it was he who pioneered a new genre in Indian music where he infused Indian classical music within a pop music frame work. It is hardly surprising that Manna's versatility extends to the more technically demanding genre of Rabindra Sangeet as well.

His experimentation with western music produced many unforgettable melodies. To date there is no Indian language which has not been influenced by the melody of this multi-talented singer. He has recorded more than 3500 songs. His music has enthralled the audience throughout the world. He has been awarded with titles like the National Singer of India, Padma Shri, and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

Impact on Music

The fame of Manna Dey has over flown to every part of the globe, more specifically wherever there is an Indian diasporic community. In fact, it may be said that his is not merely a name that is deified everywhere, rather it creates a ripple of mixed feeling of love and worship whenever cited. People venerate him not only for his musical bearing but because he epitomizes in his work a wonderful combination of melody and poetry. His stance in Indian music vindicates the axiom that art outlives the artist.

Accolades and awards
Dey has been honored 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
1971 Padma Shri Award by Government of India
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 Anandabazar Group
2002 Special Jury Swaralaya Yesudas Award for outstanding performance in music
2003 Alauddin Khan Award by Government of West Bengal
2004 National Award as Playback singer by Government of Kerala
2004 D. Litt Honoris Causa by Rabindra Bharati University
2005 Life Time Achievement award by Government of Maharashtra
2005 D.Litt Honoris Causa by Burdwan University
2005 Padma Bhushan Award by Government of India
2007 First AKSHAYA Award by Government of orissa
2008 D.Litt Honoris Causa by Jadavpur University
2009 Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2007


Tamanna (1942)
Ramrajya (1943)
Jwar Bhata (1944)
Kavita (1944)
Mahakavi Kalidas (1944)
Vikramaditya (1945)
Prabhu Ka Ghar (1946)
Valmiki (1946)
Geetgobind (1947)
Awaara (1951)
Do Bigha Zamin (1953)
Hamdard (1953)
Parineeta' '(1953)
Chitrangada (1953)
Boot Polish (1954)
Shree 420 (1955)
Kabuliwala (1961)
Waqt (1965)
Love in Tokyo (1966)
Teesri Kasam (1966)
Pyar Kiye Ja (1966)
Upkaar (1967)
Raat Aur Din (1967)
Aamne Samne (1967)

Boond Jo Ban Gaya Moti (1967)
Padosan (1968)
Mere Huzoor (1968)
Neel Kamal (1968)
Ram aur Rahim (1968)
Ek Phool Do Mali (1969)
Chanda Aur Bijli (1969)
Jyoti (1969)
Mera Naam Joker (1970)
Anand (1970)
Johar Mehmood in Hong Kong (1971)
Jane Anjane (1971)
Lal Patthar (1971)
Buddha Mil Gaya (1971)
Paraya Dhan (1971)
Reshma Aur Shera (1971)
Bawarchi (1972)
Seeta Aur Geeta (1972)
Shor (1972)
Zindagi Zindagi (1972)
Avishkaar (1973)
Dil Ki Rahe (1973)
Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973)
Sampurna Ramayan (1973)
Saudagar (1973)
Zanjeer (1973)
Bobby (1973)
Resham ki Dori (1974)
Sholay (1975)
Us Paar (1974)
Himalaya Se Ooncha (1975)
Sanyasi (1975)
Ponga Pandit (1975)
Jai Santoshi Ma (1975)
Das Mnambati (1976)
Mehbooba (1976)
Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)
Anurodh (1977)
Minoo (1977)
Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978)
Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978)
Jurmana (1978)
Abdullah (1980)
kranti (1980)
karz (1980)
Laawaris (1981)
Prahaar (1990)
Guria (1997)
Umar (2008)


manna dey was famous for different type of songs.

Qawwali'('Yeh Ishq Ishq hai, Aye meri zohra-jabeen, yaari hai imaan mera)

Romantic duet (Pyar hua iqraar hua, aja sanam madhur, tum gagan ki chandrama, dil ki gira khol do, ye raat bhigi bhigi, soch ke yei gagan jhume, murmur ke na dekh, o chand muskuraya, belia belia, chad gayo papi bichua, sham dhale jamuna kinare, yei raat chalte, zindegi hai khel, aan milo, allah jane mai hu kaun)

Emotional (Zindagi kaisi yeh paheli haaye, kasme wade, mitua piya tune kya kiya, hartaraf ab, dur hai kinara, nadia chale re dhara, muskura mudla)

Fast numbers (Aao twist karen, kisne chilman se mara, e bhai jara dekhe chalo, Jhoomta mausam mast mahina, jindegi hey khel koi pass koi fail, dunia rangabirangi, eke chaturnar, chunri samal gori)

Patriotic songs (Aye mere pyare watan, jane wale sipahi se pucho, hoke majbur, hindustan ki kasam)

Prayer numbers (Tu pyar ka saagar hai, mere sab kuch mere geet, tu hai mera premdevta, he raam, bhaja re man ram sukhdai, pap ki samandar, bhai bhanjana)

Filmfare Award winning: Aae bhai zara dekh ke chalo (Mera naam joker: Raj Kapoor)

Sourced from wikipedia and meant for information only.

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