Remembering Manna Dey : Tu Pyaar Kaa Saagar Hai


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 06 , 2013           08.25 P.M.

Manna Dey

Manna Dey (Photo credit: ramesh_lalwani)

Prabodh Chandra Dey a.k.a. Manna Dey

1 May 1919  −  24 October 2013

The news of Manna Dey’s death was almost a certainty and was expected . Advancing age and failing health had prepared us for such an eventuality . Still when I read about his demise , a pall of gloom engulfed me . He died on October 24 , 2013 in Bengaluru at the age of 94 .

Manna Dey , along with Mohammad Rafi , Mukesh , Kishore Kumar , Talat Mehmood and Hemant Kumar , was the most important play back singer of the golden era of Hindi films and a force to reckon with in singing world . With his demise , the last remnant of the golden era of Hindi film music and a gigantic figure among the male play back singers of Hindi film world is gone forever .

Before proceeding further , I must admit my blasphemy that initially I used to dislike his singing . Today as I can understand the nuances of music , I am ashamed of my blasphemy and I am extremely sorry that during my adolescent years , I was unable to appreciate his mastery of the art and craft . The first song of Manna Dey , which I liked and appreciated was the iconic ” Qasme Waade Pyaar Wafa , Sab Baaten Hain Baaton Kaa Kyaa ………………………………………. ” , the song from Manoj Kumar’s ” Upkar ” [ 1967 ] . I was speechless and stunned while listening the song and watching Pran Saheb on screen . It is uncanny that Pran Saheb and his screen voice in many films , Manna Da , both died in 2013 . Pran Saheb left us on July 12 , 2013 and just 3 months 12 days later , his voice on-screen , Manna Da also left us on October 24 , 2013 .

Later on when I started watching old Hindi films in Allahabad in Sunday morning shows , I watched ” Shri 420 ” [ 1955 ] , I was hooked to his voice . ” Pyaar Hua Iqraar Hua , Phir Pyaar Se Ab Kyon Darta Hai Dil …………………………… ” , ” Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwaalaa …………………………… ” , ” Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh ………………………. ” and the evergreen ” Ramaiya Vastavaiya ……………… “ are difficult to forget .

After watching ” Chori Chori ” [ 1956 ] , I was mesmerized by his voice . His duets with Lata Mangeshkar are immortal and they are pure gems . ” Aajaa Sanam , Madhur Chandni Men Ham ……………………………….. ” and ” Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi , Ye Mast Fizayen …………………………………… “ refuse to fade away from my memory even after 57 years .

Who can forget his other immortal melodies like ; ” Ae Mere Pyare Watan …………… ” , ” Ik Chatur Naar Karke Singar ………………………………. ” , ” Poochho Na Kaise Maine Rain Bitayee ………………………………………. ” , ” Aao Twist Karen ………………………………………………. ” , ” Yaari Hai Eemaan Meraa …………………………………….. ” and ” Ye Dosti Ham Nahin Chhodenge ……………………………………. ” ?

Known by his stage name Manna Dey , he debuted in the film ” Tamanna ” [ 1942 ] , and continued to sing till ” Umar ” [ 2006 ] . He went on to record more than 4000 songs during 1942 – 2013 . He , though sang for other heroes occasionally , was the voice of Raj Kapoor , Uttam Kumar , Mehmood and Pran .

Since 1992, Manna Dey withdrew himself from Hindi film music. But he continued to sing in Bengali movies, bhajans and ghazals in different languages and appeared in live performances during 1992 to 2012 . His last live performance was in 2012 in Mumbai. His last recorded song in Hindi films was for the film Umar in 2006 composed by Shamir Tandon, Duniyawaalo Kee Nahee Kuchh Bhee Khabar, which he sang along with Kavita Krishnamoorthy and Sonu Nigam.

He sang duets with singers like Mukesh, Sandhya Mukherjee, Mahendra Kapoor, Talat Mahmood, Amit Kumar, Shailendra Singh, Krishna Kalle, Shardha Rajan Iyengar, Arati Mukherjee, Chandrani Mukherjee, Anuradha Pudwal, Hemlata, Minu Purushottom, Bhupinder Singh, K.J. Yesudas, Suresh Wadkar, Kavita Krishnamoorty, Alka Yagnik, Antara Chowdhury, Preeti Sagar, Dilraj Kaur, Yunus Fazmi, Jaspal Singh, Anwar, Manhar Udhas, Joginder and Mubarak Begum.

He worked with more than 102 music directors in Hindi film industry from working with Krishna Chandra Dey in ” Tamanna ” [ 1942 ] to music composer Shamir Tandon in ” Umar ” [ 2006 ] . Thus it was an unprecedented 64 years – long – singing – career .

The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1971, the Padma Bhushan in 2005 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2007 . He was presented the Filmfare Life Time Achievement Award in 2011.

Manna Da sang mainly in Hindi and Bengali; he also recorded songs in several other Indian languages .

Music career in other languages

  • He sang around 1262 songs in Bengali : 611 songs in Bengali films and 356 Bengali non-film songs . He also sang 46 Rabindra Sangeet Songs in Bengali , 3 Dwigendra Geet , 84 Shyama Sangeet , 23 songs in Akashvani , 3 title songs for Bengali TV serials , 103 Bengali songs from non-released Bengali films and 33 Bengali songs of other varieties .
  • He sang 35 film songs in Bhojpuri , 2 songs in Magadh and one song in Maithili language .
  • He sang 13 Punjabi film songs and 5 non-film songs .
  • He sang 2 songs in Assamese films and 4 non-film songs in Assamese language .
  • He sang 7 songs in Oriya language and 1 song each in Konkani film and Sindhi film .
  • He sang 85 songs in Gujrathi films.
  • He sang 55 Marathi songs in Marathi films and 15 non-film songs in Marathi .He was good at Marathi natya sangeet too, which is one of the most difficult genres to sing
  • He sang 5 film songs in Kannada .
  • He sang in the Nepali movie ” Maitighar “
  • He sang 2 in Malayalam – “Maanasamaine Varoo” from 1965 film Chemmeen and song “Chemba Chemba” from 1974 film Nellu sung with P Jayachandran both composed by Salil Chowdhary and lyrics by Vayalar.

Insignia of Brand VIDUR

On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , I offer my condolences to his family . My heart goes to his daughters and other near and dear ones .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to offer tribute . It is clichéd to say but there will never be another Manna Dey . He bestrode the Hindi film music world like a colossus but unfortunately never got his due .

May his soul rest in peace !

[ Some of the information and the long list of his songs are being quoted from Wikipedia . I express my debt and gratitude . ]



Stella Adler & Her Mumbai Connection


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 07 , 2013           11.00 P.M.

One of the most influential but not-so-well-known acting trainer of the world , Stella Adler was briefly associated with Mumbai through her acting institute . Famous film director Rahul Rawail signed MOU with her acting institute , got the franchise and finally opened ” Stella Adler Studio of Acting ” in Mumbai .

Cropped screenshot of Stella Adler from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Stella Adler from the trailer for Shadow of the Thin Man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

General public is not aware of her stature . Even in Indian acting training world she is not so well-known . For my readers and general public , I am quoting the complete preface written by legendary actor Marlon Brando , who was one of her many students . He wrote this preface for the book ” The Art of Acting ” , written by Howard Kissel :

English: A photograph promoting the film The W...

A photograph promoting the film The Wild One depicts actor Marlon Brando. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” To me Stella Adler is much more than a teacher of acting . Through her work she imparts the most valuable kind of information – how to discover the nature of our own emotional mechanics and therefore those of others . She never lent herself to vulgar exploitation , as some other well-known so-called ” methods ” of acting have done . As a result , her contributions to the theatrical culture have remained largely unknown , unrecognized and unappreciated .

As far as I know , she was the only American artiste who went to Paris to study with Constantin Stanislavski , who was himself a skilled observer of human behaviour and a most prominent figure in Russian theatre . She brought back to this country knowledge of this technique and incorporated it in her teaching . Little did she know that her teachings would impact theatrical culture worldwide . Almost all film-making anywhere in the world has been affected by American films , which has been , in turn , influenced by Stella Adler’s teachings . She is loved by many and we owe her much .

I am grateful to the inestimable contributions she has made to my life and I feel privileged to have been associated with her and her family professionally and personally throughout my life . “

Stella Adler Theatre, 6777 Hollywood Boulevard...

Stella Adler Theatre, 6777 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stella Adler Theatre

Stella Adler Theatre (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

This preface says everything about Stella Adler and I don’t think I can add anything more substantial . Though , compared to Lee Strasberg , she is not so well-known but according to many actors , directors and film personalities of the world , she was a better acting teacher . Every single-acting teacher of the world follows the principles laid down by Stanislavski but she was the only one who got trained under Stanislavski .

I am a great fan of Stella Adler . When I read about her life and work , I found to my amazement , that my behaviour in my class is quite similar to Ms. Stella Adler . Unintentionally and unknowingly I always shared same kind of relationship and vibes with my acting students .

It is sad that her foray in Mumbai was short-lived . It would have been pleasure to have her here . I personally feel that Mr. Rahul Rawail did not comprehend her importance and thus lost an opportunity . I am reproducing a news item from Mumbai Mirror of September 19 , 2012 about this stupendous failure .

Rawail’s acting school shuts shop?

VICKEY LALWANI, Mumbai Mirror Sep 19, 2012, 09.21AM IST
(Rahul Rawail )

Filmmaker Rahul Rawail’s (of Betaab and Arjun fame) acting school that was launched by Rishi Kapoor, Kajol, Priya Dutt and Poonam Dhillon amidst a lot of fanfare has shut shop. When we visited the academy situated in Ajivasan Building ‘B’ Wing on Juhu Tara Road, we found the place locked. We learnt that playback singer Suresh Wadkar is now using the place to hold his music classes every evening.

Acting trainers of India swear by Constantin Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg . They are not so fond of Stella Adler . Self-proclaimed most famous acting school of Mumbai , self-anointed most famous acting institute of India and self-appointed most famous acting academy of bollywood have no place in their heart for Stella Adler . They are blissfully unaware of her existence and her immense contributions to the world of acting training .

I keep on mentioning her theories of acting to my students in my acting institute  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters . One day I wish to visit ” Stella Adler Studio of Acting ” to pay my tribute . I wish and pray that as an acting trainer / tutor / teacher I should be able to achieve even 1/4 th of what she attained in her teaching life . I pray to God that like ” Stella Adler Studio of Acting ” , one day my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters will also be recognized as one of the most famous acting institutes of the world .





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