Manna Dey : Legendary singer made to play a second fiddle all his life — Part IV

Manna Dey :  Legendary singer made to play a second fiddle all his life — Part IV

She is placed under his care for 12 months. She manages to escape from Kashinath and beats up Bankelal. This time the police place her with Shree Satyanand Anarthalaya, an orphanage run by a compassionate manager, Ashok. Upon Gauri revolting against all rules imposed on her, she is placed in solitary confinement, where she ends up breaking all the windows and furniture of the prison cell. Again she escapes, beats up Bankelal severely and returns. She is once again placed in solitary confinement. Lucky for her, Ashok and his associate Murlidhar find out that in fact Bankelal had framed Gauri. They inform the police, who make Bankelal confess. In this way, Gauri gets a pardon and is asked to leave the orphanage, but she refuses to do so and stays on after promising that she will always obey Ashok. When Ashok has a heart attack, she proposes to stay and look after him, but Ashok wants her to leave and get married to Murlidhar. That becomes a dilemma for Gauri. Director Amaiya Chakarvarti and actress Nutun received Filmfare awards for best direction and acting respectively. Manna Dey’s song pictured on Balraj Sahni in wheel chair, as quoted above is the hallmark of this film’s music when Nutun (Gauri) opts to serve the orphanage.
The theme of the 1956 movie ‘Basant Bahar’ is classical music and Shankar Jaikishen excelled especially in Manna Dey’s song “Sur Na Saje Kaya” and Muhammad Rafi songs “Duniya Na Bhaye Mohe” and “Bari Dair Bhai Kab Lo Gei”. This movie was directed by Raja Nawathe and had nine songs with lyrics written by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri. The story was based on the Kannada novel Hamsageethe (swan song) by legendary novelist Tarasu. It is believed that before a swan dies, it will sing without opening its mouth. That mutter of melody is believed to be unmatched since any scene of lyricism falls short of its reach. Even silence has music in it. In the last scene, the protagonist cuts his tongue himself, since he does not want to sing in front of an immoral and merciless king. Important cast of this film was Bharat Bhushan as Gopal, Nimmi as Gopi, Kum Kum as dancer Radhika and Manmohan Krishen as Lehri Baba. 
It may be mentioned that many music artists from Bengal reined Bollywood for many decades like Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Hemant Kumar, Gita Dutt, RD Burman, SD Burman, Kumar Shanu, Abhijit, Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal that indicates that the list of Bengalis in Bombay’s music industry is quite impressive! Manna Dey’s life spans from May 1, 1919 to October, 24 2013. His first movie for which he sang a song was ‘Tamanna’ in 1942. It is claimed that he recorded about 4,000 songs from 1942 to 2013. He sang 83 Hindi songs in three years from 1953 to 55 and his demand increased such that he sang 45 songs in the year 1956. His career reached in peak form when he recorded 95 Hindi songs in single year 1957 and 64 in 1958. His peak period in Hindi film industry is considered to be from 1953 to 1969 where he recorded 758 Hindi songs of which 631 were sung in 12 from1957 to1969. 
The government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri award in 1971, the Padma Bhushan in 2005 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2007. He sang in all the major regional languages of India, though primarily in Hindi and Bengali languages. His peak period in Hindi playback singing is considered from 1953 to1976.
The other popular songs by Manna Dey for respective poets are Hasrat Jaipuri’s “Jhanak Jhank Tori Baaje”, poet Indivar’s “Qasmain Wa’ade Pyar Wafa”, “Nadia Nadia Chaley Re”, “Re Man Sur Main Ga” (with Asha Bhosle), Naqsh Lyallpur’s “Raagmaala”, Majrooh Sultanpuri’s “Aayo Kahan Sei Ghanshyam”, SH Bihari’s “Cham Cham Tori Baaje Paayelia”, Kapil Kumar’s “Hansne Ki Chaah Nei”, Anand Bukhshi’s “Gori Tori Paijaniye”, Sahir Ludhianvi’s “Laga Chunri Main Dagh”, Shailender’s “Kateki Gulan Juhi” and Sahir Ludhianvi’s “Phool Gendawa Na Maro” and “Tere Naina Talash Karain”.
As reiterated before, Manna Dey sang in many regional languages of India. When he sang, he gave all he had to his songs, he gave himself emotions, expressions, tunefulness etc. That means there was more to Manna Dey songs than just his voice. When lesser mortals sing from the throat he sang from his heart and that made the difference. A Bengali song “Coffee House Er Shei Addata” from his private album was liked by music lovers. Some of such songs were “Hum Maile Tum Ujal Karde” from the Punjabi film ‘Nanak Naam Jahaz Hai’. He also sang for the Marathi film ‘Vardakshinaa’ in the music of Vasant Pawar. Manna Dey also sang in Gujarati language.


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