|Manna Dey: The legendary singer (Pic: Mid-Day)|
Thursday, October 24, 2013
India mourns passing of music legend
MUMBAI (AA) – Legendary singer Manna Dey, whose melodious voice reigned over Bollywood for five decades, breathed his last on Thursday morning at a hospital in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. He was 94 years old.
Dey died from a cardiac arrest following a prolonged illness that saw him in and out of the hospital for the last five months.
Dey had been a symbol of India's cinematic golden age, with his inimitable style that distinguished his songs from those of other legendary crooners like Mohammed Rafi, Kishore and Mukesh.
But it was Dey's "unique" voice that stood out most of all.
He has been credited with infusing pop music with classical influences.
Dey sang more than 3,500 songs in several different Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada and Assamese.
He was perhaps the only Indian singer to sing in so many different languages.
Born in 1919 in Kolkata, Dey came to Mumbai in 1942 with his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey, a music composer.
He began working as an assistant music director under his uncle and music composer SD Burman before launching his singing career in 1943.
In 1971, Dey won the National Film Award for best male playback singer for Bengali film 'Nishi Padma' and Hindi film 'Mera Naam Joker.'
In the same year, Dey was awarded India's fourth most prestigious civilian award – the Padma Shri – for his contributions to the arts.
In 2005, Dey was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third most prestigious civilian award, in recognition of his "distinguished service of a high order to the nation."
Legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: "Manna Dey, stalwart of the music world, passes away."
Bachchan went on to praise the departed musician's vast corpus of songs.
"Strange how we connect events of our life with his songs," the actor said, going on to offer his prayers and condolences to Dey's family and loved ones.
"At work but shall keep a minute's silence, in Manna Dey's memory on set before we start," he added.
Filmmaker Pritish Nandy, too, mourned Dey's passing.
"Even when you know someone will soon go, when he actually does, it breaks your heart," he tweeted.
Bollywood producer/director Madhur Bhandarkar described Dey as "a legendary singer with a golden voice that ruled our hearts for decades."
Social activist and actress Shabana Azmi, meanwhile, said she would remember Dey's one-of-a-kind voice.
"He will live on through his songs," Azmi tweeted.