Music director born in Tripura. Classical training by his
father, sitarist and Dhrupad singer Nabadwipchandra Dev Burman;
later with ustad Badal Khan and Bhishmadev Chattopadhyay. Early
work for radio was based on East bengali and North eastern
In early 30s made a reputation in bengal as singer of folk and
light classical music, e.g. at the Allahabad Sangeet Sammelan
(Music Conference) in 1935. First record was of a Nazrul Islam
composition, leading to a long and productive releationship with
the writer/composer. Film debut singing for Pankaj Mullick in
Atorthy's Yahudi Ki Ladki (1933) but the songs were
scrapped and re-sung by Pahadi Sanyal.
First film as singer: Tinkari Chakraborthy's Sanjher Pidim
(1935); also acted in Dhiren ganguli's Bidrohi (1935).
Music director from 1939 onwards in Calcutta. Moved to Bombay
(1944) and worked at Filmistan (Eight Days, Shabnam),
Navketan (Afsar, Taxi Driver, Funtoosh, Guide) and for
Guru Dutt (Baazi, Jaal, Pyaasa, Kagaz ke Phool).
Remained Dev Anand's key composer for several years (Paying
Guest, Tere Ghar ke Saamne, Jewel Thief, Prem Pujari). Also
worked on films for Bimal Roy (Devdas, Sujata, Bandini).
Film compositions often influenced by his huge repertory of
folk-tunes from the Bengali Bhatiali, Sari and Dhamail traditions
of the North East. As a singer, his thin but powerful, accented
voice was often used as a bardic commentary: e.g. the Wahan
kaun hai tera musafir in Guide, Safal hogi teri
aradhana in the hit Rajesh Khanna movie Aradhana.
Wrote an autobiography: Sargamer Nikhad.