Manna Dey

Manna Dey

Manna Dey Biography

  • Born – 1st of May 1919, in Kolkata, India.
  • 1943 – Dey started his career in playback singing with the movie, Tamanna
  • 1953 – Manna Dey married Sulochana Kumaran from Kerala.
  • 1971 – National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the Hindi Film Mere Huzur.
  • 2005 – Padma Bhushan Award by Government of India.
  • 2009 – Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2007.

Manna DeyPadmabhusan Manna Dey is a legendry figure in Indian music. His fame is not restricted to the Indian domain only but has over flown to every part of the globe, where an Indian heart resides. In fact 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 a wonderful combination of melody and poetry. His stance in Indian music vindicates the axiom – the art outlives the artist.

Born on 1st of May 1919, Manna Dey was christened by his parents as Probodh Chandra Dey.

Their was an orthodox joint family of North Calcutta, residing in the huge ancestral house at Simla, 9 Madan Ghose Lane. Prior to Manna Dey another brilliant artist of similar stature Krishna Chandra Dey too was born in this very house. Purna Chandra Dey was Manna Dey’s father and Mahamaya Dey was his mother. Apart from them there was this legendry youngest paternal uncle Sangeetacharya Krishna Chandra Dey residing in the same house, who both loved and pampered little Mana. 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 to complete both his schooling and intermediate studies. He next got admitted to Vidyasagar College for his graduations. From very childhood Manna Dey manifested a keen liking for sports events like wrestling and boxing and excelled in both. Apart from sports Manna Dey was also renowned for playing pranks upon people. His contemporaries readily acknowledged him as their leader in this field.

It was during his intermediate classes at Scottish Church College, Manna Dey’s singing talent became apparent. During the recess beating the tables of the classroom and singing aloud to entertain his compatriots, 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. And it was at this period of time Manna Dey stood first for three consecutive years in three different categories of inter-collegiate singing competitions. A star in the realm of Indian music was born.

Manna Dey SingerIn 1942, Manna Dey accompanied his renowned uncle Krishna Chandra Dey on a visit to Mumbai. And there first under the tutelage of his uncle, then Sachin Dev Burman, Manna Dey started working as a successful assistant music director. Later he also assisted other famous music composers for some time 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 classical 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 booming Bengali playback singer.

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

Versatile genius that he is Manna Dey is adept at singing Rabindra Sangeet as well. In fact it’ll 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 frame work. His experimentation with western music too produced many unforgettable melodies. Till date there is no Indian language which has not been blessed by the melody of this multi-talented singer. He has also recorded more than 3500 songs. His music has enthralled the audience throughout the world. And justifiably he has been showered with innumerable awards and titles like the National singer, Padmasree, and Padmabhusan.

Dey has been honored with the titles Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.


  • 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 Honouris Causa by Rabindra Bharati University
  • 2005 – Life Time Achievement award by Government of Maharashtra
  • 2005 – D.Litt Honouris Causa by Burdwan University
  • 2005 – Padma Bhushan Award by Government of India
  • 2007 – First Akshaya Award by Government of Orissa
  • 2008 – D. Litt Honouris Causa by Jadavpur University
  • 2009 – Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2007

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