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'Manna Dey loved Marathi theatre, songs'

Expressing anguish on the death of legendary singer Manna Dey, city-based veteran film music and critic Sulabha Teranikar said his death was a personal loss. Dey passed away after a prolonged illness in the wee hours of yesterday at a private hospital in Bangalore.

Manna Dey,  Suvarna Mategaonkar and Sulabha Teranikar
Manna Dey, Suvarna Mategaonkar and Sulabha Teranikar

Teranikar, who has penned several articles about Dey’s work, said, “I have spent a lot of time with him. When I heard about his death, it felt like a personal loss. He was a versatile singer. He loved to sing and was good at singing qawalis. He had a strong classical base, and hence could sing any song with aplomb.”

“Dey loved Marathi songs and has also sung a few. He was a lover of Marathi theatre songs too. Bhakarwadi and Shrewsbury biscuits from Pune were his favourite, and he would always tell me to bring some whenever I was scheduled to meet him. He was a good person by heart. He liked to eat pooran poli and basundi. Moreover, he liked coming to Pune. Three years ago, he was here for an event and I had spent some time with him,” said Teranikar.

Conveying similar sentiments, veteran classical singer Suvarna Mategaonkar said, “He was a family man and whenever he used to come to Pune, he used to always ask enquire about my family”. Mategaonkar has assisted Dey during a lot of programs in the city. Shedding some light on the multi-lingual singer’s routine before an event, Mategaonkar said that Dey would always get up early in the morning and practice even if he was tired due to the previous day’s commitments.  “He used to treat every person equally and was never self-centered,” added Mategaonkar.

Fan of Kishoreda
“I once asked him who his favourite singer was, and he replied it was Kishore Kumar. In fact, Kishoreda was junior to him, but Dey appreciated everything that was good and did not hesitate to make it known. At an event at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch where Dey was invited to perform, he was having some problems with his throat, and was not keeping well, so he was upset. I made green tea for him, which made him feel better, thereafter he would every time ask me to get it for him in a thermos.

However small the event was, he would always rehearse and ensured other singers joined him during the rehearsals,” said Mategaonkar. In a career spanning seven decades since 1943, Dey sang over 3,500 songs. His repertoire boasts of a range of songs — from romantic numbers to classical to fun songs. “I used to be nervous while singing with him, but he always made me feel comfortable,” concluded Mategaonkar.  

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