Legendary playback singer Manna Dey, the immortal voice behind songs like ‘Poochho Na Kaise’ and ‘Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli,’ will be honoured with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award for the year 2007.

The 90-year-old singer, who has more than 3,500 songs to his credit, has been named for the honour for his outstanding contribution to the field of cinema, a statement issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry here on Wednesday said.

Mr. Dey will receive the award — which carries a cash prize of Rs.10 lakh, a swaran kamal and a shawl — from President Pratibha Patil on October 21 during the National Film Awards function.

Ministry officials told PTI that Mr. Dey’s name was finalised earlier this week by a four-member committee, comprising veteran Telugu actor A. Nageshwara Rao, filmmaker Yash Chopra, filmmaker Vijaya Mulay, and sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.

Born to Purna Chandra and Mahamaya Dey on May 1, 1919, Mr. Dey dominated the Hindi music industry from the 1950s to 1970s with his distinctive voice.

Mr. Dey started his playback singing career with the movie Tamanna in 1943, with the song ‘Jago Aayee Usha, Panchi Boley Jago’ becoming an instant hit.

Mr. Dey also performed a solo penned by Sachal Dev Burman, ‘Upar Gagan Vishal’, in the 1950 movie Mashal.

In 1952, he sang for a Bengali and a Marathi movie with the same name and storyline, Amar Bhupali, which helped establish his career as a leading playback singer.

Mr. Dey, who is among the few surviving playback singers of the golden era of Indian film music, became the voice of showman Raj Kapoor during his initial days in the film industry and sang several memorable songs in movies like Awara, Shri 420 and Chori Chori.


Veteran singer October 2, 2009