BIOGRAPHY
 

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Born – 10th May, 1905
Died – 19th February, 1978


Training – Sri Durgadas Bandopadhyay for classical & light classical music
Sri Dinendranath Tagore (Rabindranath Tagore’s grand nephew) for Rabindrasangeet

 

 

 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

RADIO – 

  • He joined All India Radio (AIR), Kolkata [initially known as the Indian Broadcasting Corporation] in 1927, within a month of its inception. 

  • He was an integral part of AIR for nearly 50 years

  • At AIR he set music to the immortal ‘Mahishasuramardini’, a programme that has become a part of Bengali culture and synonymous with Durga Puja. It is heard every ‘Mahalaya’ morning even till today. It has had an uninterrupted run since its beginning in 1931.

  • He conceptualized and started the immensely popular live-music class titled – ‘Sangeet Shikshar Ashar’ which he did for a record 47 years on the trot.

  • He was part of innumerable Feature Programmes as music director & artiste during his lengthy tenure at AIR

CINEMA – 

  • He became a part of Indian cinema right from the silent era, since 1931

  • He was a part of the star studded New Theatres Studio team for nearly 25 years

  • Luminaries like K L Saigal, S D Burman, Hemanta Mukherjee, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle sang under his music direction as did several other prominent artistes from Bengal and the rest of the country

  • He was the first music director who introduced Rabindrasangeet successfully in films 

  • He introduced interlude and interlinking music for the first time in Indian film-songs

  • At a time when movie-making was not as prolific as it is now, he sang in, composed music for and occasionally acted in close to 100 movies

  • He was a part of Indian cinema from 1931 to 1969, a period of about 38 years

  • The movies he was associated with were in Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and Tamil

  • He along with director Sri Nitin Bose was instrumental in the introduction of playback singing in Indian cinema

SALIENT FACTS – 

  • He recorded his first song when he was only 18 years old

  • He was the first person to popularise Rabindrasangeet by unleashing the magic of Tagore’s songs amongst the masses

  • His music career spanned an awe-inspiring 50 years 

  • He officially composed over 5,000 songs in those 50 years

  • Singers like K L Saigal, S D Burman, Hemant Kumar, Kanan Devi, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle amongst others sung his compositions

  • His co-stars in films included K L Saigal, P C Barua and Kanan Devi amongst others

  • He was appointed as the Honorary Advisor to the Folk Entertainment Section of the Government of West Bengal, from 1953 to 1968, by the Chief Minister of West Bengal

  • He was regarded as one of the founding fathers of Bangla Adhunik Gaan, a sub-genre of Bengali songs

  • He had several popular non-film songs in Hindi, Urdu and Bengali to his credit

  • He was the first to introduce elements of Western Music to Indian cinematic & non-cinematic songs 

MAJOR AWARDS – 

  • He won the National Award for Best Music Direction in movies on quite a few occasions

  • He received the BFJA award for his work as music director

  • He received Life Time Achievement Awards from AIR and HMV (now Saregama)

PRESTIGIOUS TITLES – 

  • Title of “Surosagar” in 1931

  • Title of “Sangeet Ratnakar” in 1962

  • Padmashree in 1970

  • DADASAHEB PHALKE PURASKAR in 1973 – the highest award presented by the Government of India in the field of Indian Cinema. He was the first music-director to be honoured so.

  • Title of Rabindra Tattacharya in 1977

RARE HONOURS – 

  • Rabindranath himself allowed him to set tune to a few of his poems, the most popular instance of which is “Diner sheshey ghumer deshey…”

  • He was invited to sing the inaugural song during the launch of television (Doordarshan) in the country

  • At the behest of Sri Sarat Bose, Netaji’s elder brother, he sang “Kadam kadam barhaye jaa…”, set to his version of the tune, with Prime Minister J L Nehru being present during the recording. Other members of Netaji’s family too lent their voices to this record

  • On Prime Minister Nehru’s request he sang and recorded the Indian National Anthem – “Jana gana mana…” in a style that was deemed to set the parameters to be followed during the singing of the anthem by all Indians. The recording was also played nation-wide at almost every public place to familiarise every Indian citizen with the anthem of their newly formed independent country

  • In the days when ‘globalisation’ was quite unheard of, he enjoyed great fame and popularity both nationally and internationally

POSTHUMOUS HONOURS – 

  • The Government of West Bengal renamed Ritchie Road as Pankaj Mullick Sarani in his honour

  • The Department of Information and Culture of the Government of West Bengal celebrated his birth centenary in 2005 with great pomp and splendour

  • The Government of India, paid tribute to his memory by issuing a commemorative postage stamp in 2006

  • The Kolkata Municipal Corporation declared his residence at Sebak Baidya Street a Heritage Site in 2007

  • The Kolkata Municipal Corporation supported the erection of a statue in his honour at Maddox Square Park on Pankaj Mullick Sarani in 2010

 

 

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