Classical singers had been neglected in Bengali films.
Classical singers were always neglected in Bengali films, especially during the 50s, 60s and 70s. In the 50s Dhanonjoy Bhattacharya, who dominated the world of modern songs with landmark classical songs like “ruma jhuma jhum”, “matite jonmo nilam”, “shilpi moner bedona”, “kobir kheyale” etc., got rare opportunities to sing in Bengali films excepting films related to mythology. His notable songs in Bengali films include “jhir jhir jhir jhir jhir jhorona” composed by Salil Choudhury in the film Paser Bari, “gaya ganga probasadi” composed by Anil Bagchi in Rani Rashmoni, “bondhu re” composed by Robin Chatterji in Shilpi, “hori haraye nomo krishno” composed by Raichand Boral in Nilachole Mahaprobhu.
Eminent singer and composer Satinath Mukherjee, a legend of numerous songs like “bonopatho majhe”, “pasaner buke”, “jibone jodi deep”, etc., did not have any scope of composing music in films inspite of being a successful student of Bare Ghulam Ali Khan. Akhilbondhu Ghosh, a notable singer having classical records like “aji chandini rati go”, “keno prohoro na jete”, “o doyal bichar koro”, “bashoriya”, “emni dine maje amar” had been hardly used in Bengali films both as a singer or as a composer.
Manobendra Mukherjee due to his sheer brilliance could not be ignored in Bengali films and his composition in Bengali films like Mayamrigo, Bodhu, Joyjoyanti, Godhuli Belai had been considered landmarks in film music. He had the rare record of both dominating the world of modern songs with super hit discs like “ami eto je tomay bhalo besechi”, “emni kore porbe mone”, “seto naam dhore”, “rimjhim baje”, “bare bare ke jeno dake”, “nai chondon lekha”, “tomar pother prante moner”, etc., and Bengali film songs like “metidi americar kabyo”, “dole dodul dole jhulona”, “godhuli belay”, “rojoni pohale”, “jogonnath jogot bondhu”, etc.mostly in films of Uttam Kumar and Biswajeet.
Manna Dey was initially ignored in the 50s but stormed into the arena replacing Hemant Kumar as the dominating singer in the mid-60s with his stylish performance in the film Shonkhobela with songs like “ami agantuk” and “ke prothom kache esechi”, composed by Sudhin Dasgupta. He created history with legendary songs in the film Antony Firingi with songs like “ami je jolsaghare”, “ami jamini”, “chompa chameli”, etc. His songs in the film Stri like “jemon sapinike”, “hajar takar jhar batita”, “ose jotai kalo hok”, and Sonyasi Raja with songs like “shashikanto tumi dekhchi”, “bhalobasar agun jalao”, etc. brought the royal culture of Kolkata in the 18th century back in films. Besides he sang huge number of hit songs for Uttam Kumar including “ami kon pathe je choli”, “bachao ke acho” from the film Choddobeshi, “phool pakhi bondhu amar chilo”, “manush khun hole pore”, “lal nil sobujeri” from Chirodiner, to name a few.
The male playback arena in Bengali films were dominated by Hemant Kumar and Shyamal Mitra in the 50s and 60s and due to individual skills Manna Dey and Manobendra Mukherjee kept their mark in Bengali film music. Otherwise the trend was the voice which suited Uttam Kumar the most use to be considered the ideal voice to be used in all bollywood films. In fact in the 70s, Kishore Kumar got break in Bengali films like Amanush and Ananda Ashram only because he could adapt his style for the superstar Uttam Kumar.