BiographyHemant Kumar was not just music director for a slew of films in the 1950s and '60s -- he was also a beloved singer who gave nearly definitive interpretations of Rabindrasangeet (the songs of Rabindranath Tagore). Born Hemanta Kumar Mukherjee in Varanasi in 1920, Kumar moved to Bombay in the 1940s after years of singing regional music on Air India Radio. He started out as a singer, recording his first Hindi film song in 1944, but he eventually moved into composition. Some of his most memorable soundtracks from this period include Jaal, Nagin, Bees Saal Baad, Khamoshi and Anupama. He sang many of his compositions and dueted with the great singers of the day; it was said Lata Mangeshkar thought he had the voice of a sadhu, or holy man. Kumar died in 1989.
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