Manna Dey was no stranger to Malayali audience. Though he had sung only two songs in Malayalam, the evergreen Manasa maine was more than enough to mark his inimitable style and ethereal rendition.
Moreover, despite belonging to another era and another industry, the man was a prominent influence for many Malayali playback singers. Composer M Jayachandran remembers him as a master of subdued melodies.
“Apart from a few, majority of his songs are based on Hindustani classical music. He was more of a follower of the traditional sect of music. He had a mellifluous voice as well. His voice was like a feather touch and was more suited for melodies and classical numbers. Other than the hit Yeh dosti from the iconic Sholay, and a couple of others you will not find him rendering fast numbers. He was a musician who always tried to protect the Indianness in music,’’ he said.
Singer M G Sreekumar said Dey was a complete musician who had a comprehensive awareness about all aspects of music. “He possessed a matchless talent as a playback singer. He has to his credit a slew of awards and titles, including Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. Moreover, he was one singer who could sing in almost all Indian languages and come up with hits be it Punjabi or Bengali,’’ he said.
Dey lent his voice to two songs in Malayalam - Manasa maine in Chemmeen and Chemba chemba in Nellu. “Manasa maine is a song cherished by all generations.