Manna Dey is one of the greatest Indian classical singers who had training from his paternal uncle Sangeetacharya Krishna Chandra Dey ( K.C. Dey). He was instrumental in making Manna Dey’s career in Mumbai. K. C. Dey was a popular actor-singer-composer of New Theatres in Kolkata. When New Theaters closed down, K C Dey moved to Mumbai and Manna Dey accompanied him. Manna Dey had left for Mumbai with his uncle to make a career in singing but understood his pronunciation in Hindi was a major barrier to fetch him the singing career, hence he became assistant to music director for S D Burman and even H P Das. But he continued taking training from classical stalwarts, Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan. Manna Dey got his first break to sing a song with Suraiya at the tender age of 11, which was composed by his uncle. But his solo song 'Upar Gagan Vishal’ from Mashaal (1950) become super hit and he stayed back in Mumbai. Later he sang innumerable songs that proved his versatility as a singer. He had a career of five decades and he went to sing songs in various languages but his songs in Bengali became more popular as his voice suited matinee idol, Uttam Kumar, very much.
Every song that he recorded for Uttam Kumar’s film became instant hit and he had a unique mass following. Manna Dey was a real perfectionist singer. He is the only singer who used to make notions before singing songs so that he could record a song after just one rehearsal. Manna Dey could sing every song that Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore or Talat had sung, but none could sing the song he had sung. Some of his most memorable songs in Hindi cinema include 'Poochho Na Kaise Maine Rain Bitayee', ‘Tu Pyyar Ka Sagar Hai’, 'Laga Chunari Mein Daag', 'Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen', etc. His magical voice even impressed showman
and thus Manna Dey could sing many duets and solo songs for Raj Kapoor films. The rain song ’Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua’ (Shree 420) is still the best song pircturised on Raj-Nargis.
This multitalented singer has sung in every language and has recorded over 3500 songs. He also did some private albums in Bengali too. He was a favourite singer for a composer like Sachin Dev Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan. He also had sung songs with
, Mohammad Rafi and Mukesh. Some of his Bengali songs are still immortal. This versatile singer was born in Kolkata on May 1, 1919, in Kolkata. He was married to Sulochana Kumaran and the couple had bonded for almost six decades. After his wife passed away in 2012 in Bangalore, Manna Dey became alone. The singer left this world on October 24, 2013, at his residence in Bangalore.