Whether it’s romance or soulful rendition captured varying sentiments, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that the rich timbre of Manna Dey’s voice unfailingly lifted the character of a song from good to great. In a career spanning over five decades, Dey, went on to sing over 3,500 songs in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada and Assamese films before quitting movies in the ’90s. Truly, Manna Dey epitomised the golden period of Hindi cinema with his inimitable style.
Here’s remembering some of Manna Dey’s greatest hits.
Must Listen: Dil ka haal sune dil wala
The simplicity of Shailendra’s lyrics and Dey’s free-flowing delivery blends seamlessly to create on screen magic with Raj Kapoor in the 1955 classic, Shree 420.
Must Listen: Tu pyaar ka sagar hai
Dey benevolently meditates over the almighty’s endless capacity for affection in Shankar-Jaikishan’s sublime devotional melody for Balraj Sahni’s kind-hearted soul in Seema.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
Must Listen: Babu samjho ishaare
Dey joins Kishore Kumar’s lively approach and compliments it perfectly with his own brand of humour, providing playback for his co-singer’s brothers – Ashok and Anup Kumar in its groovy title track.
Must Listen: Ae mere pyaare watan
The singer brings out the emotional side of patriotism through a common man’s ardour in Prem Dhawan’s poignant words (in Kabuliwala).
Must Listen: Yeh raat bheegi bheegi
Romance simply trickles in Dey’s dreamy rendition of Shankar-Jaikishen’s timeless love song in company of the mellifluous Lata Mangeshkar for the Raj Kapoor-Nargis dream combo on silver screen
Must Listen: Chalat musafir moh liya re
The magical team – Dey-Raj Kapoor-Shankar-Jaikishen-Shailendra- strikes to win over its listeners in Teesri Kasam’s sprightly folksy track.
Mera Naam Joker
Must Listen: Ae bhai zara dekh ke
The ever-effective pair of Manna Dey and Raj Kapoor direct us how to avoid bumps in life with this seemingly cheery but metaphor-rich Shankar Jaikishen creation from Mera Naam Joker.
Must Listen: Zindagi kaisi hai paheli
Everyone’s a winner between Salil Chaudhary’s immortal composition, Yogesh’s contemplative poetry, Manna Dey’s velvety smooth rendition and Rajesh Khanna’s breezy demeanour.
Manna Dey cast a spell on generations of listeners with his romantic ballads, intricate raga-based songs, qawwalis and fast-paced modern numbers, lending his voice to major film stars of yesteryear.