Legendary Bengali singer Sandhya Mukhopadhyay passes away at 90

Sandhya Mukherjee. File

Sandhya Mukherjee. File

Legendary Bengali singer Sandhya Mukhopadhyay passed away in Kolkata on Tuesday after a brief illness. She was 90. Sandhya Mukhopadhyay took Bengali songs to new heights, whether it was playback singing for films or songs released during Durga Puja, which emerged as a new genre and labelled modern Bengali songs (“adhunik gaan”). The singer took her first music lessons from her parents Narendranath Mukhopadhyay and mother Hemaprabha Devi. A trained classical singer who with equal ease took to different forms of singing — from playback to folk songs, Rabindra Sangeet and bhajans — trained under Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and was later associated with legends like Begum Akhtar.  Sandhya Mukherjee’s first record was in 1945 and her first album of Durga Puja songs was released in 1948. Soon, offers for playback singing in Bengali films started coming in. Her first playback singing was for film Samapika released in 1948.  In 1971, she bagged the national award for best female playback singer for songs in the films Jai Jayanti ( 1970) and Nishi Padma ( 1970). To people of West Bengal and Bengalis across the globe, Sandhya Mukherjee was Gitashree (eminent singer) and considered an empress of Bengali playback singing. Last month, the singer declined the Padma Shri award by the Union government, an honour which according to her family members she considered “too little too late”. Sandhya Mukhopadhyay was admitted to a State–run hospital on January 28 and then was transferred to a private health facility in the city for better medical care. Among the most popular songs are classics like  “Ei Path Jyodi na Sesh hoe” from the Uttam Kumar-Suchitra Sen starrer Saptapadi. For Bangabandhu Mujibur Rahman, she sang “ Bangabandhu Phire Elo tomar.” Known for her duets with Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Sandhya Mukhopadhyay gave voice to screen icons like Madhubala and Suchitra Sen. 

With Lata Mangeshkar she sang the classic duet “ Bol Papihe Bol’ ’for the film Tarana in 1951 She was awarded Banga Bibhushan, the highest honour in West Bengal, by the State government in 2011. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the final rites of the singer will be performed with full state honours on Wednesday. Ms. Banerjee who is in north Bengal on official business, said she will return to Kolkata on Wednesday. “To me, Sandhya Mukhopadhyay was Bharat Ratna. With her death we have lost the brightest star in the sky of Bengali music,” she said.

Our code of editorial values

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | Feb 15, 2022 11:24:58 pm |