Memories Come Alive: An Autobiography

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Penguin Random House India Private Limited, May 21, 2007 - Literary Collections - 448 pages
For over sixty years now, Manna Dey has been synonymous with music and melody. Excelling across a variety of genres—film songs, ghazals, bhajans, classical and pop—he has regaled generations of listeners with his romantic ballads, zany rock ’n’ roll numbers, playful qawwalis and intricate raga-based songs. In Memories Come Alive: An Autobiography, Manna Dey takes a nostalgic trip down memory lane—his early passion for wrestling and football; adolescent pranks which involved shoplifting sweets from a confectionery and pole-vaulting into the neighbour’s terrace to swipe pickle jars; and the influence of his uncle and guru K.C. Dey (the celebrated singer and composer of the 1930s). He recounts his early days in Mumbai as an assistant music director to his uncle and to composers like S.D. Burman and vividly recalls the struggle to carve a niche as a playback singer in Hindi films, competing with stalwarts like Rafi, Mukesh and Kishore Kumar. He also discusses at length his foray into the world of Bengali film and non-film music where he came to be regarded as the undisputed king of melody. Peppered with interesting anecdotes like his kite duels with Rafi, priceless nuggets on how some of his famous songs came to be written and composed, stories of his enduring relationships with people like Raj Kapoor and Majrooh Sultanpuri, Pulak Bandopadhyay and Sudhin Dasgupta, and boasting of the most comprehensive list of his songs ever compiled, Memories Come Alive is a must-read not only for the legions of Manna Dey fans but also for connoisseurs of popular music in India.

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About the author (2007)

Manna Dey was born in Kolkata on 1 May 1919 and received his education at Scottish Church Collegiate School, Scottish Church College and Vidyasagar College, Kolkata. In 1942, he accompanied his uncle, the renowned singer and musician Krishna Chandra Dey, on a visit to Mumbai, thus embarking on a career in music. He started working as an assistant music director, first to his uncle and later to S.D. Burman. Manna Dey began his career as a playback singer with the film Tamanna in 1943. Since then he has recorded over 3500 songs in a number of languages. A versatile singer with an in-depth knowledge of classical music, he has enthralled listeners all over the world over the last sixty years with his dulcet voice and impeccable command over the medium. Manna Dey is the recipient of a number of awards including the Lata Mangeshkar Award of the Government of Madhya Pradesh (1985), the Padma Shri (1971) and the Padma Bhushan (2005). He has also been honoured with the title of National Singer of India by the Government of India. He lives in Bangalore with his wife Sulochana.

Sarbani Putatunda (née Mukherjee) is an academician who teaches English in a reputed girls’ college in north Kolkata. She completed her PhD in 1996 and has published a number of research papers in various literary journals.

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