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Dhananjay Bhattacharya

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Dhananjay Bhattacharya

Dipankar Bhattacharya


September 10, 1922West Bengal (

Adhunik Bangla Gaan (Bengali Modern Songs), Shyama Sangeet

December 27, 1992, Kolkata

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Surendranath Bhattacharya

Top 10 Shyama Sangeet | Dhananjay Bhattacharya Collection | Bengali Devotional Songs

Dhananjay Bhattacharya was one of the finest modern Bengali singers. He was a great versatile Shyama Sangeet singer. He was eight years elder than his younger brother Pannalal. He studied in Rivers Thompson School, Bally, Howrah.


Dhananjay Bhattacharya A Tribute to Dhananjay Bhattacharya Ogo Sucharita

Dhananjay bhattacharya pannalal bhattacharjee collection bengali songs

Singing career

He started his career by singing modern Bengali as well as Hindi songs. His first song was "Jodi bhule jao more/janabo na abhiman..." in the year 1940, recorded from Pioneer Company. His first playback however was in the year 1943. He was best known for singing Shyama Sangeet. Out of the total 24 songs in the movie Sadhak Ramprasad(1956), Dhananjay sang 23 songs. He was versatile in singing major types and forms of songs including Modern Bengali, Hindustani Classical Music, Rabindra Sangeet, Kirtan, Bhajan, Baul, Ramprasadi(of Ramprasad Sen), Nazrul Geeti, Shyama Sangeet etc. His singing career lasted more than fifty years. No. of records of his songs is 500. He was also a lyricist and wrote near about 400 songs in the name of "Shri Partha" and "Shri Ananda". He acted in a few films like "Nababidhan", "Pasher Bari", etc. In the film 'Pasher Bari'his song 'Jhir Jhir Jhir Jhirjhiri Baroshay' composed by Salil Chowdhury was an instant hit. 'Matite Janmo Nilam', 'Ei Jhir Jhir Jhir Batase',Jhanana Jhanana Baje' were some other major hits and still popular.

In his prime, his voice was mellifluous, his versatility, an un-inked watermark. ‘Niche’ audience he captured. With irreproachable style and sabeki accent. With ease, without the slightest hint of body movement. Not exactly a cock-a-hoop for the aam admi. His brand equity though was adamantine for those who accepted him. Strangely, even at the zenith of his career, many of his numbers were never broadcast over the AIR…A case in point was a chartbuster from a 1952 film; music composed by Salil Chowdhuri. The action defied logic. One wonders if it is because he had terminated his contract with the AIR earlier for his alleged difference of opinion. By any reckoning, it was a daring step, for the AIR was the only mass media channel available those days. What followed, however, was quite incredible. Heaps of protest letters from his fans started piling up on the tables of hapless AIR officials…They had had to back track and offer him a fresh contract.

Around the same time, he was summoned to Bombay. By R C Boral. Through a brief telegram: Come sharp… No reason given.

On arrival, he found out to his dismay, that it was for a two-month assignment, all cut and dried. His immediate reaction: nothing doing. He was hell bent on returning the very next day. However, his respect for RC finally won over but not before he extracted a promise from him that never again would he be called to come to Bombay. His assignment embraced: a solo; a duet with Lata; a chorus with Lata and Rafi; and help pick up nuances of devotional and kirtan styles for stalwarts like Lata, Asha, Mukesh, Rafi. Talat and Geeta. The duet with Lata deserves a special mention in that it shows his immense respect for other singers. After a day’s practice, Lata came to the studio for recording. Her rendering was so impeccable that Dhanajay later confided that had Lata not been junior to him in age, he would have touched her feet as Devi Saraswati. Lata apart, S D Burman, Salil Chaudhuri and many others asked him many times over to come over to Bombay. A fabulous job offer too came his way but to no avail. Lure of money could not sway him. For he always felt more at home, at home – in Bengal.

Some little-known facts

Here’s one instance how he marked his footstep in the world of classical music…Film: Tansen. Pt Bhimshen Jhosi, chosen as the original playback singer, recorded a Dhrupad number. Somehow, Robin Chattopadhya, the Music Director, wasn’t 100% satisfied. Ramesh Bandopadhya of Vishnupur Gharana was called in. Somehow this too went amiss. However, the next take was ‘fit’. By you know who.

His excellence stood out in many other ways. When Hemanta Mukherjee created a sensation with his composition and songs for Sapmochan bagging the Gold Prize as the Best Music Director for the year, the Gold Prize as the best play-back singer went to Dhanajay for his devotional songs in Rani Rasmoni

Among his basic records, one Raag based composition by Salil Chowdhuri released as a Saradiya Number was such a hit that it kept on selling during the next Puja too. Probably one of his best kept secrets was that he was a prolific lyricist too, all written under different pseudo names. Many hit numbers of Pannalal Bhattacharya in particular were penned by him as well as music composed. One for the fraternity Satinath Mukherjee, struggling for a breakthrough, came along with Shyamal Mitra with a request if he would care to record one of his compositions which he sang out. After a prolonged silence, he declined and then added… “This song is meant for you”. He ensured that HMV complied with his request. That was the breakthrough that was for Satinath who shortly afterward composed the year’s best selling Puja Number for him:’ Sunya Ghare Phire Elam’. Mrinal Chakrabarti’s breakthrough too makes for an interesting reading. He was singing as a local guy in a function when he was spotted by Dhanajay and was asked to call on him the next day without being told the nature of the call. Two of them then proceeded to a small ‘practising room’ and Mrinal Chakrabarti was asked to sing a song. Immediately afterward, he was told that his audition was over and that he would be signed up by HMV. Pralhad Bramhachari’s case was even more interesting. He approached him if he could be considered by the Gramophone Company. Then and there he made a request over the phone to HMV but the person on the other side said it would be absolutely impossible. Not only all the Puja records were ready but also the booklet, Saradiya Arghya, had also been sent to the printer. “In that case, please exclude my record”, was the stern diktat. HMV could not chance it and Pralhad Brahamachari was ‘in’. Pintu Bhattacharya too was backed to the hilt, first being coached classical music by him, free of cost and later helped out with his career as he began to establish himself as a singer. The first opportunity for Arati Mukherjee cutting a disc was also created by him. She was far too young then. On the spot, he asked the film director to include her as a playback singer. Since there was no such scope in the film, naturally the answer was in the negative. Not to be undone, he insisted that a situation could always be created and so it was. The very next day, Arati sang for a small boy in the film in a duet with him in a father’s role. Strong and soft He was asked to sing for the Prime Minster’s Relief Fund. “ Sorry, where is the Prime Minister’s letter?”, he questioned. The persons who carried the message were flummoxed. They rushed to Dr B C Roy, for the programme was virtually finalized with the list of the artistes participating. Dr Roy, instead of getting upset, muttered “ If only we Bengalees had such guts”. He arranged to get a special letter of invitation from Panditji; after all the trouble was created by Dr. Roy’s “golden voice”, as he used to call him. Quite early on in his career he had sat in a dharna fighting for better compensation. Now, the softer side. On being told that Shyampukur Bati was crumbling down, where Sri Ramakrishna had stayed for some time for treatment of cancer, he put in an incredible effort along with Gautam Gupta, Mahendra Gupta’s grandson, to salvage the situation though he was almost nbeearing his active singing career then. A fairly substantial donation apart, he took it upon himself to provide ‘technical assistance’ in rebuilding the civil construction at his own cost. Despite his Spartan lifestyle, his charities were legion. To mark the 50th year of his singing career, HMV arranged for a felicitation programme at the Rabindra Sadan,Calcutta, attended by Jyoti Basu, Hemanta Mukherjee, Salil Chowdhuri, Shyamal Mitra, V Balsara and other luminaries. There he was given a munificent sum as a token of his contribution. Straightaway, he distributed the money among various charities. His another trait was to entertain friends and guests with delicacies he would cook himself. Though a vegan, he had many non-veg recipes up his sleeves. And there were very few artistes in his era who had not savoured his preparations.

Dhananjay was married and had three sons and out of them only Dipankar has taken the onus upon him to carry the legacy of his father. Some people say that he and Pannalal both wanted to please Kali by offering her their songs. According to them Dhananjay received the grace of the divine mother, but Pannalal didn't, and so he committed suicide, and after his death, Dhananjay bore the responsibility of Pannalal's family, along with his own. In his last days, Dhananjay stayed in a mess away from his house due to some unknown reasons.

(The content of the last few lines is slightly dubuious. Because his home was a flat in a hotel in Kolkata's College Street, confusion may have crept in. According to his biography, "Annanao Dhananjay", he was taken from his home to a Nursing Home when he fell sick and died five days after) A street in Kolkata has been named after him in Kankurgachi area

As Playback singer

  • Mahaprasthaner Pathey (1952)
  • Yatrik (1952)
  • Swamiji
  • Naba Bidhan (1954)
  • Rani Rashmoni (1955)
  • Shreebatsa Chinta (1955)
  • Godhuli(1955)
  • Sadhak Ramprasad (1956)
  • Tansen (1958)
  • Bandhan (1962)
  • Debitirtha-Kamrup(1967)
  • As Playback Singer
  • Ardhangini (1955)
  • Chalachal
  • Bardidi
  • Mejdidi
  • Babla
  • Kalo Bou
  • Dhooli (1954)
  • Behula Lakshindar
  • Badsha
  • Sati Kankabati
  • Sahar Theheke Durye
  • Aleya
  • Jai Ma Tara (1978)
  • Rupasi (1980)
  • Sadhak Banakhyapa
  • Chandranath
  • Debtirtha Kalighat
  • Tamasha
  • Asampta
  • Maharaj Krisnachandra
  • Bireswar Vivekanada
  • Kamalakanta
  • Yata Mat tata Mat
  • Adya Shakti Mahamaya
  • Chaitali etc.
  • Saheb Bibi Golam
  • Nastanir
  • Banka Lekha
  • As Actor

  • Naba Bidhan(1954) as Abinash
  • Sharey Chuattor(1953)
  • Pasher Bari
  • Shoshur Bari
  • As Playback Singer

  • Badshah (1963)
  • Bhagwan Sri Krishna Chaitanya
  • Adrysha Manush
  • abire rangano
  • Chaitali

    As Music Director in Films

  • Ladies Seat
  • Joy Ma Tara (1978)
  • References

    Dhananjay Bhattacharya Wikipedia

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