India's legendary singer Manna Dey dies at age 94

Oct. 24, 2013 at 6:09 AM
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BANGALORE, India, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Indian classical and playback singer Manna Dey, who recorded more than 3,500 songs in a 60-year career, died Thursday in Bangalore at age 94, his hospital said.

Dey had been suffering from lung infection and was hospitalized for four months, the Hindustan Times reported.

"Manna Dey who was under treatment for the last four months breathed his last around 4 a.m.," a representative of Bangalore's Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital was quoted as saying.

The Times of India, quoting Dey's family, said his daughter Shumita Deb and his son-in-law Jnanranjan Deb were by the singer's bedside at the time of his death. Dey is also survived by another daughter.

The versatile Dey was trained in Hindustani classical music by Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan.

Besides his native Bengali, Dey sang in several Indian languages.

Dey's voice helped him to adapt to any style of singing, including complex classical numbers, qawalis, ghazals and devotionals.

Dey sang his hits "Lagi chunari mein daag," and "Aayo kahan se Ghanshyam" with ease, disproving predictions about the songs being difficult or challenging, the Hindu newspaper said.

His first recorded playback songs were for the film Tamanna in 1943, the Times reported. He recorded his last song for the film Umar in 2006.

Popularity of songs have played a major role in determining the success of Indian movies, and singers like Dey helped many films become box-office hits.

Many of Dey's songs, such as "Pyaar Hua Ikrar Hua," and "Ae Meri Zohra Zabeen," are still played on popular charts.

Dey won dozens of awards during his singing career, including the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2009 and the Padmabhushan, one of the country's top honors.

He was counted among legendary top singers such as Muhammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Hemant Kumar, the Times said.

Rafi was quoted as once saying in a magazine interview: "You say you love to listen to my songs. But I listen to Manna Dey's songs."

Dey was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1991 and had studied at the city's Scottish Church College. He also did post-graduate work at another college before taking to singing as career.

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