Suman Kalyanpur

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Suman Kalyanpur
Birth name Suman Hemmady
Born Dhaka, British India
Genres Indian classical music, playback singing
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active 1954–1981

Suman Kalyanpur (aka Suman Hemadey) (Born: 27 January 1937) is an 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. [1]She Kalyanpur's career started in 1954 and was very popular singer in the decade of 60s and 70s. She recorded songs for movies in several languages besides Hindi, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Bengali, Oriya and Punjabi.[2] 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.[3]

Early Life[edit]

She was born on 27 January 1937 in Dhaka which was part of British India that time and now a capital of Bangladesh. In 1943, her family moved to Mumbai, where she received her musical training. [4]


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), Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962), Dil Ek Mandir (1963), Dil Hi To Hai (1963), Shagoon (1964), Jahan Ara (1964), Sanjh Aur Sawera (1964), Noor Jahan (1967), Saathi (1968) and Pakeezah (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 period of 60s.

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. [5] 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.” [6] In the era of 1950s and ’60s, 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 S. Kalyanpur who accompanied her for every recording session after her marriage.

Kalyanpur's popular songs[edit]

  • "Na Tum Hamen Jano" (Baat Ek Raat Ki)
  • "Chhodo, Chhodo Mori Baiyann" (Miya Biwi Razi)
  • "Dil Gham Se Jal Raha" (Shama)
  • "Yun Hi Dil Ne Chaha Tha" (Dil Hi To Hai)
  • "Bujha Diye Hain" (Shagoon)
  • "Mere Sang Ga" (Janwar)
  • "Mere Mehboob Na Ja" (Noor Mahal)
  • "Tum Agar Aa Sako To"' & "Zindagi Doob Gai Dard Ke Toofano Mein" (Ek Sal Pehle)
  • "Zindagi imtehan leti hai " (film Naseeb)
  • "Jo Ham Pe Guzarti Hai" (Mohabbat Isko Kehten Hain)
  • "Sharabi Sharabi Yeh Sawan Ka Mausam" (Noor Jehan)
  • "Behena Ne Bhai Ki Kalai Main" (Resham Ki Dori), for which she was nominated for the Filmfare Best Female Playback Award in 1975.
  • "Aajkal Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche" from Brahmachari, which was one of her most famous songs, is usually thought to be sung by Lata Mangeshkar but it was in fact sung by her. (The confusion results from the fact that the quality of her voice is similar to Lata Mangeshkar's at times).
  • "Aansoo ki ek boond hoon main" from Ek Paheli (1971) shot on Tanuja & Feroze Khan is a compelling number. Both the versions are beautifully sung.


  1. Received three times the prestigious "Sur Sringar Samsad" award for the best classical song in a Hindi movie.
  2. Lata Mangeshkar Award 2009 by the Maharashtra government [7]

Songs in other languages[edit]

Her recordings include devotional songs, ghazals and thumris.

In Marathi, Kalyanpur recorded for composers Sudhir Phadke, Dashrath Pujari, Kamlakar Bhagwat and Ashok Patki.

Well-known Marathi songs[edit]

  • "Rimjhhim Jharati Shrāwan Dhara"
  • "Shabda Shabda Japun Thhewa"
  • "Re Kshanichya Sangateene Mi Ashi Bharawale"
  • "Keshava Madhava Tuzya Namat Re Godawa"
  • "Omkar Pradhan Roop Ganeshache"
  • "Jethe Sagara Dharanee Milate"
  • "Bhaktichya Phulancha Goad To Suwas"
  • "Navika Re Vara Vahe Re"
  • "Ketakichya Banee Tethe Nachala Ga Mor"
  • "Yaa Laadkya Mulino".
  • "Samadhi Gheun jayee dnyandev".
  • "Mrudul Karani Chhedit Tara".

See Also[edit]


External links[edit]