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September 24, 2016
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Suman Kalyanpur (aka Suman Hemadey) (born 27 January 1937) is a Bangladeshi descent Indian singer. She is one of the best-known and most respected playback singers in India. Her greatness is such that her voice was often mistaken to be that of Lata Mangeshkar. She Kalyanpur's career started in 1954 and was very popular singer in the 1960s and 1970s. She recorded songs for movies in several languages besides Hindi, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Bengali, Oriya and Punjabi. She was bit unfortunate as she never won the National Film Awards or Filmfare Award for singing but is still considered among the popular singers of her prime time. She has sung total 857 Hindi songs and is considered a music icon in her native country Bangladesh

Early life[edit]

Suman Kalyanpur (সুমন কল্যানপুর) was born on 27 January 1937 in Dhaka which is the capital of Bangladesh. She is a Bangladeshi descendant Indian singer. In 1943, her family moved to Mumbai, where she received her musical training.

Suman Kalyanpur's first film song was a duet with Talat Mahmood in Darwaza (1954). Talat Mahmood heard Kalyanpur singing in a musical concert and was highly impressed by her singing. A rank newcomer, her career hit the big league when Talat agreed to sing the duet with her, making the film industry sit up and take notice of her.

She sang for the movie, Mangu (1954), Koi Pukare Dheere Se Tujhe. Kalyanpur provided playback singing for Miyan Bibi Razi (1960), (1962), (1963), Dil Hi To Hai (1963), Shagoon (1964), (1964), Sanjh Aur Sawera (1964), Noor Jahan (1967), (1968) and (1971). She sang for composers Shankar Jaikishan, Roshan, Madan Mohan, S. D. Burman, Hemant Kumar, Chitragupta, Naushad, S. N. Tripathi, Ghulam Mohammed, Kalyanji Anandji and Laxmikant-Pyarelal singing the most songs for the first two in the list. She has sung over 740 movie and non-movie songs. She sang over 140 duets with Rafi in the 1960s.

Suman's first song in Marathi was the super-hit "Bhaatuklichaa khel maandila" for Vasant Prabhu, for the film Pasant Aahe Mulgi. After that she never looked back for over 20 years. Putra Vhawa Aisaa, Ekti, Manini and Annapoorna were but a few of her memorable films. But even outside films, her hits are legion and include over 50 timeless gems of Marathi films, bhavgeet and bhaktigeet.

Kalyanpur sang with Lata Mangeshkar the duet "Kabhi Aaj, Kabhi Kal, Kabhi Parson" under the direction of composer Hemant Kumar. She recorded some popular duets with male singers Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, and Hemant Kumar. Some of her memorable duets with Rafi are "Parbaton Ke Pedon Par Shaam Ka Basera He", "Ajahuna Aye Balama", "Tumane Pukara Aur Hum Chale Aye", "Bad Muddat Ke Yeh Ghadi Ayee", "Mujhhe Yeh Bhool Na", "Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya", "Tujhko Dilbari Ki Kasam" and "Chand Takata Hai Idhar". With Manna Dey, she sang the popular duet "Na Jane Kahan Ham The" under the music direction of Dattaram. With Mukesh she has sung many popular duets like `Yeh Kisne geet chheda', "Akhiyon ka noor hai tu", "Mera Pyar bhi tu hai", "Dil ne phir yaad Kiya", "Shama se koi Kehde" etc.

Kalyanpur also recorded some memorable songs with a classical base, including "Manamohan Man Mein Ho Tumhi", "Mere Sang Gā Gunguna" and "Gir Gayi Re More Mathe Ki Bindiya".

Similarity of voice with Lata Mangeshkar[edit]

Kalyanpur's voice was very similar to the great singer Lata Mangeshkar. Many of her songs are indistinguishable from Lata's style, because she was subconsciously imitating her style. The example includes "Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche" from the flim Bramhachari of the year 1969. With this, music directors were viewing her essentially as Lata's replacement. Kalyanpur becomes very uncomfortable regarding the similarity between her voice and Lata’s. She had once answered "I was quite influenced by her. In my college days, I used to sing her songs. Meri aawaaz nazuk aur patli thi (My voice was fragile and thin). What could I do? Also when Radio Ceylon relayed the songs, the names were never announced. Even the records sometimes gave the wrong name. Maybe that caused more confusion." In the era of 1950s and 1960s, the period was referred as the golden era of Hindi film music where the time when female playback singing was dominated by the Mangeshkar sisters Lata and Asha Bhosale. When Lata was not available for recording, or if the producers could not afford her rate of Rs 100 per song, the song used to be sung by Kalyapur. During the similar period, Lata had refused to sing with Rafi over royalty issues and those songs were recorded by Kalyanpur with Rafi. She sang over 140 duets with Rafi in this period.

Personal life[edit]

She married Ramanand Suman Kalyanpur who accompanied her for every recording session after her marriage.

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