Tuesday 28 June 2022
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Sandhya Mukhopadhyay dies at 90

With the passing of Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, Bengali film music that had lost Hemanta Mukherjee, Manna Dey, Shyamal Mitra and Manabendra Mukherjee earlier lost the last star of the 20th century

The last star among the performing artists of the golden age in Bengali songs fell today with Sandhya Mukhopadhyay (Mukherjee) breathing her last this evening at the age of 90. Hemanta Mukherjee (Hemant Kumar in Bollywood), Manna Dey, Shyamal Mitra and Manabendra Mukherjee were among the most repeated singers in playback singing for Bengali films.

The singer of yesteryears had fallen ill in the evening of Wednesday, 26 January. The next day, she was admitted to SSKM Hospital on a privileged basis referred to as the “green corridor”. According to hospital sources, she had had a lung infection. Coincidentally, two days earlier, she had turned down the Padma Shri award offered by the union government.

Sandhya Mukhopadhyay was admitted to the Woodburn Ward of the SSKM. A medical board to treat her was formed in a hurry. The singer’s family told the doctors the artiste had got injured after falling in the toilet and then became very ill.

She was suffering from shortness of breath. Hospital sources said she had an infection in both her lungs. But following the treatment, her physical condition was gradually stabilising. However, by this evening, the physical complications suddenly aggravated.

Governor and Leader of the Opposition Shuvendu Adhikari tweeted condolences in the evening.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, currently on a tour of northern Bengal, said she was distressed by the news of Sandhya Mukhopadhyay’s passing. The chief minister said, “I did not think she would die. I had received the news after the surgery last night that she had recovered from Covid-19. I did not realise that this would happen so soon. We decided to send a liver specialist. After her release (from the Covid ward), everything was fine until this morning. What happened? She was an artist of the golden age. Everyone of that era is gone.”

Banerjee said, “There is no one left of the past century. This loss is irreparable. I think Sandhya Mukhopadhyay is Bharat Ratna. I will issue an order to keep her at Peace World tonight. She will be laid to rest at Rabindra Sadan on Wednesday at 12 noon. I will be there by 5 o’clock to pay my respects. I will try my best to reach there by any means. After that, she will be buried with the highest honour and a song salute of the state. “

Referring to the artist, the chief minister said, “She used to ask me to sing. I had to sing sometimes. I was surprised that Sandhya Mukhopadhyay wanted to listen to me. I called her on her birthday. Then she asked me to sing.”

In the words of artist Usha Uthup, “We thought she would recover. But that did not happen. The music world has suffered irreparable damage.”

Pandit Ajay Chakraborty said, “I lost my guru sister.”

Singer Shibaji Chattopadhyay said, “We are younger than her. She used to call us and inquire. I am very saddened by her death. Whenever she called, the conversation would not end in less than an hour and a half.”

Actress Madhavi Mukherjee said, “When I went on a tour somewhere with Sandhya, she would ask me to sing. I would say, ‘Would you listen to me daring to sing before you?’ She would say she certainly would. I visited her place on her daughter Jhinuk’s birthday. We had this kind of relationship. This death is that of the mother of music. Mother is the one who teaches. Who is left to teach? I feel so terrible I can’t say. “

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