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|Died||17 July 1992 76) (aged|
Kanan Devi (22 April 1916 – 17 July 1992) was an Indian actress and singer.She was among the early singing stars of Indian cinema, and is credited popularly as the first star of Bengali cinema. Her singing style, usually in rapid tempo, was used instrumentally in some of the biggest hits of New Theatres, Kolkata.
Kanan was born on 22 April 1916 in Howrah, West Bengal. In her autobiography, entitled "Sabaray Ami Nami", Kanan has observed that those she considered as her parents were Ratan Chandra Das and Rajobala, who lived together. After the death of her adoptive father, Ratan Chandra Das, young Kanan and Rajobala were simply left to fend for themselves. Her life story is a true tale of rags to riches. Some say she did her schooling (not completed) from Howrah's St. Agnes' Convent School.
A well wisher, Tulsi Banerji, whom she called Kaka babu, introduced Kanan when she was only ten to Madan Theatres/Jyoti Studios, where she was cast in a small role in Jaidev (1926), followed by Shankaracharya in 1927. She was known as Kanan Bala.
Kanan did at least five films with Madan Theatres productions, (1926–1932) Rishir Prem (1931), Jorebarat (1931), Vishnu Maya (1932) and Prahlad, playing even male leads in the last two.
She then worked with Radha Films from 1933 to 1936, then with New Theatres from 1937 to 1941, with MP Productions 1942 to 1948 and finally set up her own label Shrimati Pictures, 1949 to 1965.
From silent film roles as a child artist, Kanan made the successful transition into talkie films and was noticed with Jorebarat (1931), Manomoyee Girls School, Khooni Kaun and Maa (1934).
Her films with Jyotish Bannerjee included Joydev (1926), Rishir Prem (1931), Jorebarat (1931), Vishnumaya (1932), Kantahaar (1935) and Manomoyee Girls School (1935). Her films with Prafulla Ghosh were Sree Gouranga (1933), Char Darvesh (1933), Maa (1934) and Hari Bhakti. Others with Radha Film Company were Kanthahar (1935), Krishna Sudama (1936), Bishabriksha (1936) and Char Darvesh (1933).
New Theatres's P.C. Barua wanted her to play the lead in his Devdas (1935),but, due to contractual reasons with Radha, she could not act in the film, a factor she regretted all her life.
The films of New Theatres, owned by Biren Sircar, established her as a superhit singer and her films ran to packed audiences.She had to travel under constant protection, given her huge fan following. During her years with New Theatres, Calcutta from 1937, she played the lead in Barua's Mukti (1937), which was perhaps her finest performance, making her the studio's top star. Apart from Mukti, she did Vidyapati , Saathi (1938), Street Singer (1938), Sapera (1939), Jawani Ki Reet (1939), Parajay (1939), Abhinetri (1940), Lagan (1941), Parichay (1941) and Jawab (1942). She became known as Kanan Devi from this point.
She came in contact with the music maestro Rai Chand Boral, who not only coached and familiarized her in the Hindi accent, but experimented with many classical Western and Indian forms in his music. She received her initial musical training under Alla Rakha. She was employed as a singer at the Megaphone Gramaphone Company, receiving further training under Bhishmadev Chatterjee. She later learnt Rabindra Sangeet under Anadi Dastidar. Kanan remained the top star of New Theatres until she resigned her contract in 1941 and began to freelance in Bengali and Hindi films.
She worked with the biggest names in Indian cinema with K. L. Saigal, Pankaj Mullick, Pramathesh Barua, Pahari Sanyal, Chabi Biswas and Ashok Kumar.
M.P. Productions's Jawaab was perhaps her biggest hit. Her song Duniya Yeh Duniya, Hai Toofan Mail was well received. She repeated the same feat in Hospital (1943), Banphool (1945) and Rajlakshmi (1946). Kanan Devi's last Hindi film was Chandrashekhar (1948), with Ashok Kumar.
Kanan turned producer with Shrimati Pictures in 1949 and later launched the Sabyasachi Collective with the film Ananya (1949). Her own productions were mainly based on the stories of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
Kanan married Ashok Maitra in December 1940. He was the son of the staunch Brahmo Samaj educationist Heramba Chandra Maitra. Despite their best intentions, the marriage could not withstand the severe condemnation by the then conservative society. Even the poet Rabindranath Tagore, who sent a token gift to the married couple received scathing criticism for blessing the couple. The main issue was that Kanan was not expected to be working in films after her marriage. She filed for divorce in 1945. Despite the pain of the divorce, Kanan expressed her immense gratitude towards her first husband for giving her social recognition through marriage for the first time in her life. To Kanan's credit, she maintained excellent relations with Rani Mahanalobis, sister to Ashok Maitra and her husband, the famous social scientist P.C. Mahanalobis and with Kusumkumari Devi, Ashok Maitra's mother, even after the marriage was severed.
Kanan married Haridas Bhattacharjee around 1949. Haridas Bhattacharjee was then ADC to the Governor of Bengal. He eventually left the naval service to join Kanan in her filmmaking venture and became a competent director. While raising their son Siddharth in Calcutta, she also formed and worked as the president of Mahila Shilpi Mahal, an organization to help senior female artists and other charitable and community causes, including those for the betterment of Bengali cinema.
Kanan Devi, as the first lady of the Bengali screen, received many honours for her contribution to Indian cinema. An honorary degree from Vishwabharati, the Padma Shree in 1968 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1976.
She died on 17 July 1992 in Bellevue Clinic, Calcutta when she was around seventy-six years of age.
She was awarded the Padma Shri Award in 1968. She was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1976. A postage stamp, bearing Kanan's likeness, was released to honour her by India's Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology in February 2011.
|1927||Shankaracharya||D.G. Kali Prasad|
|1931||Rishir Prem||Jyotish Bannerji||Actor|
|1931||Jore Barat||Jyotish Bannerji||Actor||Short|
|1932||Vishnu Maya||Jyotish Bannerji||Actor|
|1933||Sree Gouranga||Prafulla Ghosh||Actor|
|1933||Char Darvesh||Prafulla Ghosh||Actor||Fantasy|
|1934||Hari Bhakti||Prafulla Ghosh||Actor|
|1935||Manmoyee Girls School||Jyotish Bannerji||Actor|
|1936||Krishna Sudama||Phani Barma||Actor|
|1936||Khooni Kaun||G. R. Sethi||Actor|
|1937||Mukti||Pramathesh Chandra Barua||Actor|
|1937||Vidyapati in Hindi||Debaki Bose||Actor|
|1937||Bidyapati (Bengali)||Debaki Bose||Actor|
|1938||Street Singer||Phani Majumdar||Actor|
|1940||Haar Jeet||Amar Mullick||Actor|
|1942||Shesh Uttar||Pramathesh Chandra Barua||Actor|
|1942||Jawab||Pramathesh Chandra Barua||Actor|
|1945||Path Bendhe Dilo||Premendra Mitra||Actor|
|1945||Raj Lakshmi||Premendra Mitra||Actor|
|1946||Tumi Aar Aami||Apurba Kumar Mitra||Actor|
|1946||Krishna Leela||Debaki Bose||Actor|
|1946||Arabian Nights||Niren Lahiri||Actor|
|1947||Faisla||Apurba Kumar Mitra||Actor|
|1950||Mej Didi||Ajay Kar||Actor|
|1959||Indranath Srikanta O Annadadidi||Haridas Bhattacharya||Actor|
Pankaj Mullick, also known as Pankaj Kumar Mullick, was a popular Bengali Indian music composer, playback singer and actor, who was a pioneer of film music in Bengali cinema and Hindi cinema at the advent of playback singing, as well as an early exponent of Rabindra Sangeet.
New Theatres is an Indian film studio. It was formed in Calcutta by producer B. N. Sircar. It was formed on 10 February 1931. Motto of this company was– Jivatang Jyotiretu Chhayam. Sircar preferred to function
roughly analogous to what in USA was known as an executive producer. He built a processing laboratory... and got around him a devoted band of people.... Having decided on or approved a story or a subject for a film and the team to make it [Sircar] ensured that adequate funds were provided... but refrained from interfering with its execution. He made New Theatres a symbol of Bengali cinema's artistic good taste and technical excellence.
Pramathesh Chandra Barua was an Indian actor, director, and screenwriter of Indian films in the pre-independence era, born in Gauripur.
Anil Krishna Biswas was an noted Indian film music director and playback singer from 1935 to 1965, who apart from being one of pioneers of playback singing, is also credited for the first Indian orchestra of twelve pieces and introducing orchestral music and full-blooded choral effects, into Indian cinema. A master in western symphonic music was known for the Indian classical or folk elements, especially Baul and Bhatiyali in his music. Out of his over 90 films, most memorable were, Roti (1942), Kismet (1943), Anokha Pyaar (1948), Taraana (1951), Waaris (1954), Pardesi (1957) and Char Dil Char Rahen (1959).
Nitin Bose was an Indian film director, cinematographer and screenwriter of the nation's film industry. He was born in Calcutta and died in the same city. In the 1930s and early 1940s, he worked with New Theatres, who made bilingual movies: in both Bengali and Hindi. Later, he moved to Bombay and directed under the banners of Bombay Talkies and Filmistan.
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Birendranath Sircar was an Indian film producer and the founder of New Theatres Calcutta. He made Bengali-language films that were noted for introducing many film directors who later became famous. He was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1970 and the third highest civilian award in India, the Padma Bhushan, in 1972.
Lagan is a 1941 Indian Hindi language film. It was the fifth highest grossing Indian film of 1941. The film was directed by Nitin Bose for New Theatres Ltd. Calcutta. The film was a bilingual with K. L. Saigal and Kanan Devi acting as the lead in its Bengali language version, Parichaya. The music for both versions was by R. C. Boral. This was the last film Saigal did for New Theatres, Calcutta, before his move to Bombay to make films for different studios there.
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Manmoyee Girls' School is a 1935 Indian Bengali-language romantic comedy film directed by Jyotish Bannerjee. It is based on Rabindranath Maitra's 1932 play of the same name. The film stars Tulsi Chakraborty, Jahar Ganguly and Kanan Devi. It was a success, and was remade again in Bengali under the same title in 1958.
Krishna Dasgupta was a renowned Bengali classical singer and music teacher from West Bengal, India, who sang numerous songs in Bengali language movies and non-film as well, particularly during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. She is widely known for lending voice in Mahisasuramardini, the popular early Bengali special dawn radio programme that has been broadcast since 1931 on All India Radio (AIR) in West Bengal.
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