Legendary playback singer Manna Dey, the last of Bollywood's "Golden Voices", has died aged 94.
The Kolkata-born singer was suffering from ill health for several months and had been admitted to hospital in Bangalore due a respiratory infection.
Born Prabodh Chandra Dey in 1919, Dey was popularly known as Manna and will be inextricably linked to Balraj Sahni's character of Abdur Rehman Khan in the unforgettable "Kabuliwala".
Manna made his first foray into Bollywood in 1941 with the help of his uncle, the blind singer s9kna Chandra Dey.
Aged 22, Manna sang for the sage Valmiki and was paid 150 rupees. But he was immediately "typecast" as the voice of an "old man".
The young singer really came to prominence in 1953 with his rendering of “Chaley Radhey Rani” in Bimal Roy's Parineeta.
The performance opened many a door for the budding singer with legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor inviting him to sing for Shree 420.
Manna, along with Lata Mangeshkar, sang “Pyaar hua iqrar hua”, written by the poet Shailendra, and composed by Shankar-Jaikishan; though recorded more than 60 years ago, this romantic ballad remains a radio staple to this day.
Despite his popularity with audiences, the film industry itself didn't embrace Manna Dey wholeheartedly; given his classically trained voice, Dey was deemed "unsuitable" to lend his voice to the thrusting actors of his time, stars such as Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor.
In later years Dey would lament that he was "given songs others couldn't sing".
Whilst work was steady, Dey didn't experience the superstardom enjoyed by the likes of Mohammed Rafi.
That's not to say that he didn't leave his mark. Not many duets to this day can rival the four ballads he sang with Lata Mangeshkar for Chori Chori, the 1956 Bollywood adaptation of the Hollywood romance 'It Happened One Night': “Panchi banu udti phiru”, “Ye raat bheegi bheegi”, “Jahan meye jatee hoon”, and “Aja sanam madhur chandni meye hum”.
Among his later hits were the movies 'Sholay' and 'Amer Akbar Anthony'.
Over a career spanning more than six decades, the singer lent his vocals to nearly 4000 songs in Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Marathi, Kannada, Bhojpuri and Punjabi.
Among the accolades that he was honoured with are the Padma Shri (1971), Padma Vibhushan (2005) and the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2007, an honour many said was long overdue.
Dey was the last of Bollywood's "Golden Quartet" - the others being Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Mukesh - who dominated Bollywood music from the 1950's right up to the 1980's with their extraordinary range and versatility and whose talents continue to resonate with audiences young and old alike.
It is doubtful if the likes will ever be seen again.
TWITTER REACTIONS TO MANNA DEY'S DEATH:
AMITABH BACHCHAN, actor
Manna Dey, stalwart of the music world, passes away. Flooded with memories and his songs. In particular his rendition of Madhushala.
MAHESH BHATT, filmmaker
Manna Dey passes away. His voice shall linger forever.R.I.P.
SHABANA AZMI, actress
Manna Dey had a unique voice. He will live on through his songs Ai Meri Zohra Jabeen/ dil ka haal suney dilwala/ poocho na kaise maine RIP
MANOJ BAJPAYEE, actor
MANNA DEY is no more!a great singer!lets pray for him!my condolences to his family!his music will live for 1000 yrs.RIP
SHREYA GHOSHAL, singer
Rest in peace Manna Dey saab.. You and your voice are immortal.. Your songs will continue to inspire millions forever..
KUNAL KOHLI, director
#mannadey last of the greats,along with Kishore,Rafi & Mukesh,passes away.RIP.'ek chattur naar' to 'ae mere pyaare watan' what a range
HARSHA BHOGLE, cricket commentator
oh no. such terrible news to get up to. manna dey no more? less melody in the world. #mannadey