Hemant Mukherjee famously known as Hemant Kumar was a brilliant singer, composer, and producer in the Hindi and Bengali film industry. His music career began with All India Radio (AIR) in 1933, when he was barely 13! He was born on June 16, 1920 in Benares (Varanasi). Throughout his career, he recorded around 2000 songs! Out of which, many songs were composed also by him. Hemant Kumar was blessed with an intense and passionate voice. He understood music, and therefore sang some of the most iconic numbers which have set a benchmark in Hindi film industry. Listen to his songs just by closing your eyes, the songs take you in a different world…..his velvety voice is captivating.
Please note that the famous song ‘bande Mataram’ from film Anand Math, written by Bankim Chandra, sung by Lata Mangeshkar was composed by Hemant Kumar!
He was the voice of film star Dev Anand before Rafi and Kishore Kumar. He sang 12-13 songs for Music Director S.D.Burman and all were very popular and all of these songs were picturised on the super charming hero Dev Anand “Hai apna Dil to Awara…”, “Na Yeh Chand Hoga, Na Taare Rahenge…” or “Yeh Raat Ye Chandini Phir Kahan…”, “Na Tum Hame Jano Na Hum Tumhe Jaane…”. The famous Bengali film star Uttam Kumar used to demand that Hemant Kumar should be his voice on screen and he should be the music composer of his films. Both Uttam Kumar- Hemant Kumar made a successful actor-composer /singer pair.
Another facet of Hemant Kumar’s life was that he was studying engineering, but dropped out of engineering college to pursue his passion for music, both singing and composing. He learnt music from several teachers: the major portion of his training seems to have been under Sailesh Duttagupta. He also studied under Phani Banerjee, and received his training in Rabindra Sangeet under Anadi Dastidar. Much later, he even learnt music from Faiyaz Khan.
Close your eyes and listen to these melodious numbers, few of them are duets.
Yeh raat, yeh chandani phir kahan (Jaal) 1952 MD S.D.Burman