Kolkata, Dec 24 (IANS) Legendary Bengali singer Dwijen Mukhopadhyay, gifted with a resonant voice and considered the last surviving colossus of the golden generation of Rabindra Sangeet, died at his Salt Lake residence here on Monday following age-related ailments, his family said.
Mukhopadhyay, 91, is survived by his son and daughter.
Born on November 12, 1927 – the year All India Radio came into being – Mukhopadhyay started his singing career in the 1940s, and remained one of the most popular artistes through the decades. He has recorded more than 1500 songs, of which about 800 are songs of Rabindranath Tagore.
The soulful singer was introduced to the folk music of Bengal, and Hindi film music, by eminent music composer Salil Chowdhury.
Mukhopadhyay and Chowdhury worked together both in Kolkata and Mumbai, churning out evergreen Bengali modern and Hindi films songs.
Mukhopadhyay gave voice to Chowdhury’s compositions like ‘Pallabini go Sancharinia’, “Shaymalbarani ogo Kanya’, “Klanti Name go” and ‘Ashar Chalane Bhuli’ – all still popular in Bengal.
Under Chowdhury’s music direction, Mukhopadhyay’s duets with Lata Mangeshkar for Hindi films like ‘Honeymoon’ (1960), ‘Maayaa’ (1961) and ‘Sapan Suhaane’ (1961) were well received.
Mukhopadhyay also performed the famous devotional song ‘Jaago Durga’ as part of the musical play ‘Mahisasura Mardini’ (The Annihilation of the Demon), which is a hugely popular radio programme broadcast by the All India Radio on Mahalaya, the pre-cursor to the annual Durga puja festival.
In the world of Rabindra Sangeet, Mukhopadhyay was a contemporary of great like Debabrata Biswas, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Subinoy Roy, Suchitra Mitra, Chinmoy Chattopadhyay, and Sagar Sen.
These singers, some noted for their melodious renditions of Rabindranath Tagore’s compositions, some for their exemplary presentations of the bard’s classical based creations, made Rabindra Sangeet a household name among the Bengali speaking population.
Mukhopadhyay bagged the prestigious Padma Bhushan award in 2010.
Condoling the eminent singer’s death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called it an end of an era.
“Huge loss for the music industry of #Bangla. This is also a personal loss. We had felicitated him with ‘Banga Bibhushan’ award in 2011. Condolences to his family and fans”,” she tweeted.
With the family’s consent, his mortal remains were brought to Rabindra Sadan, the city’s cultural centre around 4:30 p.m., for people to pay their last respects.
The last rites were performed with full state honours.