Manna Dey is among the singers are who are regarded as some of the best male playback singers the Indian film music industry has ever produced. Credited with bringing classical music into filmy music, Manna Day and his renditions have created a revered space in the history of Indian music.
Prabodh Chandra Dey, known by his stage name Manna Dey, was born on 1 May, 1919 in Kolkata. Today is his 100th birth anniversary.
Having trained under his uncle and celebrated musician Krishna Chandra Dey, Manna Dey mastered the art of singing in most genres, but his voice had another feel when he performed classical music.
Mohammad Rafi had once even said while everybody was crazy about his songs, he only listened to Manna Dey.
Dey’s golden music period was sometime between 1953 and 1976. Each Hindi film superstar around that time had a signature playback singer assigned to voice them — Mohammad Rafi for Dilip Kumar, Kishore Kumar for Rajesh Khanna and Mukesh for Raj Kapoor.
However, with the entry of Manna Dey, this tradition broke and he went on to sing for a number of superstar actors such as Balraj Sahni (who also was born on May 1), Mehmood, Raj Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna and even Dharmendra.
In Bengali cinema, Dey lent his voice for Uttam Kumar and Soumitra Chatterjee among many others.
For people who grew up listening to 70s music, the “Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar collaboration” always meant something special. With Kishore, Dey gave two immensely popular hits — Ye Dosti from Sholey and Ek Chatur Naar from Padosan.
His detailed life history is in his autobiography, which is available in English, Hindi and Marathi as well — titled Jiboner Jalsaghorey (Bengali), Memories Come Alive (English), Yaaden Jee Uthi (Hindi).
Dey also sang in several languages including Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Marathi, Kannada, Punjabi, and Bhojpuri. He sang more than 3500 songs, including romantic ballads, intricate raga-based songs, Qawwalis, and fast-paced modern peppy numbers.
Here is a look at his discography, with one of the most popular numbers from each language.
Bengali was Dey’s native tongue and his discography in both Bengali and Hindi is so vast that it is difficult to zero in on one song. However, to go by popular choice and most audience loved, the songs are as follows.
Coffee Houser Sei Addata
Maanasamaine Varoo (Chemmeen)
Dinor Pohar Rangchangia
Ghan Ghan Mala Nabhi Datlya( Vardakshinaa)
Avval Allah Noor( Mittar Pyare Noo)
Jayathe Jayathe( Kalpavruksha)
Kashi Hile Patna Hile( Dangal)