Written by Shivangi Chawla
Legendary singer Sandhya Mukherjee received Banga Bibhushan in 2011, which is the highest civilian honor of West Bengal. Sandhya Mukherjee’s daughter was quoted as saying that with a singing career spanning over about eight decades, being chosen for Padma Shri is demeaning for a singer of her stature.
On Tuesday, Singing legend Sandhya Mukherjee also known as Sandhya Mukhopadhyay refused an offer of a Padma Shri award when she was contacted by the central government officials telephonically for her acquiesce. Daughter Soumi Sengupta said Mukherjee told the senior official who called from Delhi that she was not willing to be named as a Padma Shri recipient on being contacted seeking her consent to being named a Padma Shri in the Republic Day awards list.
“At the age of 90, with a singing career spanning over about eight decades, being chosen for Padma Shri is demeaning for a singer of her stature.” She further added, “Padma Shri is more deserving for a junior artiste, not `Gitasree’ Sandhya Mukhopadhyay. Her family and all the lovers of her songs feel.”
Interestingly, Mukherjee’s long-time collaborator and acclaimed singer and composer Hemanta Mukhopadhyay had also rejected the Padma awards. The singer had refused both Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.
The legendary singer is considered for long a prima donna of music in Bengal. Her collaboration with singer Hemanta Mukherjee has given the Bengali film industry some evergreen songs like Ei Path Jadi Na Sesh Hoy, E Shudhu Ganer Din, Aaj Holi Khelbo Shyam, and Raag Je Tomar Mishti among others. Mukherjee has also sung for a number of Hindi movie music directors including S D Burman, Anil Biswas, Madan Mohan, Roshan, and Salil Choudhary. Mukherjee received Banga Bibhushan in 2011, which is the highest civilian honor of West Bengal.
The veteran singer also received the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1970 for the films Jay Jayanti and Nishi Padma.
Meanwhile, veteran Bengali actor Victor Banerjee was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the nation’s third-highest civilian award. Banerjee, 75, is known for several remarkable films and has worked with directors including Satyajit Ray, David Lean, and Roman Polanski among others.