Hemanta Kumar Mukherjee (1920-1989) Aka Hemant Kumar. Bengali-Hindi composer and singer. Born in Varanasi. Left school to become a professional singer. Studied under Phani Banerjee and Shailesh Duttagupta. Early songs for All India Radio. Released his first record in 1937, with the still popular Bengali number Janite jadi go tumi and Balo go balo more. One of the most popular Rabindrasangeet singers of his time, starting under the tutelage of Anadi Dastidar, initially singing mainly in the tradition of Pankaj Mullick. Changed his style in context of a brief but fruitful collaboration with Salil Chowdhury(1949-52) associated with the Indian People's Theatrical Association(IPTA). Debut as singer in Bengali film with Phani Burma's Nimai Sanyasi(1940) and in Hindi with Iraada(1944). Early compositions for Hemen Gupta (Bhuli naai, '42, Anandmath, Kashti). Established himself as a Bengal composer with Ajoy Kar's Jighansa. Although he went on to become one of the most popular Bengali composers, his main fame derives from playback singing for Uttam Kumar, his baritone becoming a key ingredient of the star's romantic dramas; e.g., classic hits like 'Jhor uthechhe' in Sudhir Mukherjee's Shapmochan; 'Nir chhoto khati nei' in Niren Lahiri's Indrani; 'Ei path jadi na shesh hoi' in Ajoy Kar's Saptapadi; etc. Often partnered Sandya Mukherjee, female playback usually for Suchitra Sen. From the 50's onwards his voice incarnated Bengali middle-class romanticism, having an enduring influence on all male playback singers in that language since. Became a star singer in Hindi with 'Ye raat ye chaandni' in Guru Dutt's Jaal(1952) picturised on Dev Anand on the beach among the fishing nets. Collaborated extensively with Dutt, e.g. 'Jaane vo kaise log the' in Pyaasa and scored the hauntingly beautiful numbers of Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam. First hindi hit as composer is Nagin adapting a tune from Bijon Bhattacharya's play Jivan kanya for the sinous snake dance number Man dole a landmark in the introduction of electronics into Hindi film music. Composed extensive for Tarun Majumdar and the early Mrinal Sen, producing Sen's Neel Akasher Neechey. As producer he often worked with set designer turned director Biren Nag, showing a penchant for thrillers like Bees Saal Baad (adapted from The Hound of the Baskervilles) and Kohraa borrowed from Daphne du Maurier's(and Hitchcock's) Rebecca. Also produced Pinaki Mukherjee's Faraar, Tarun Majumdar's Rahgir and Asit Sen's Rajesh Khanna psychodrama Khamoshi. Autobiography Amar gaaner swaralipi(1988).