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Singer / Music Director / Composer Hindi

Hemant Kumar

Hemant Kumar Biography

Birth Name: Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyay

Born : 16 June 1920, in Varanasi, Benares State, British India (now in Uttar Pradesh, India)

Death : 26 September 1989, in Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyay alias Hemant Kumar was a singer, composer and producer in the Bengali and Hindi film industry. He was born in the city of temples - Banaras (now Varanasi) on 16th June 1920. His family was originally from West Bengal, but shifted to Calcutta, (now Kolkata) when the talented Kumar was still young. There he attended Nasiruddin School, but was later moved to Mitra Institution School in Bhawanipore. After completing his intermediate examinations, Kumar secured admission in Bengal Technical School at Jadavpur to study engineering. However, it is no secret that later he quit engineering and chose music as his career. He also tried his luck with Literature and published short stories in a Bengali Magazine known as ‘Desh’.

Kumar began his music career by recording a song with All India Radio in 1935, with help from his friend Subhash Makopadhya. In 1937, he recorded his first non-film disc; the songs were written by Naresh Bhattacharya and music composed by Sailesh Duttagupta. Starting then till 1984, the gifted singer recorded non-film songs every year for Gramophone Company of India (GCI), the same company which had recorded his first disc. His initial Hindi songs “Kitna dukh Bhulaya Tumne” and “O Preet Nibhanewali” were released under the same label GCI in 1940. Kumar made his singing debut in the film industry with a Bengali Film ‘Namai Sanyas’ (1941). He then moved to Hindi film industry through Irada (1944) under music direction of Pandit Amarnath. In 1947, he worked for a Bengali film ‘Abhiyatri’ as music director. The film’s music was noted by some of the eminent critics and composers of the Bengali film industry.

By the mid-1950s, Kumar had amalgamated his position as a prominent singer and composer. In Bengal, he was one of the leading advocates of Rabindra Sangeet and among the most sought-after male singers.

He then ventured into film production by introducing his own banner ‘Hemanta-Bela Productions’. The first film under this banner was titled ‘Neel Akasher Neechey’ (1959) in Bengali, directed by Mrinal Sen. The film was awarded the President’s Gold Medal by the government of India. He re-named his production company to Geetanjali Productions, which produced several hit Hindi films including Bees Saal Baad (1962), Kohraa (1964), Biwi Aur Makan (1966), Faraar (1975) and Khamoshi (1969). Kumar composed music for all these films.

Family Tree

Bela Mukherjee (1945 - 26 September 1989)