My tribute to singer, Sandhya Mukherjee, published in Indian Express.
Sandhya Mukherjee came to my listening universe inconspicuously. Growing up as a probashi Bengali in Delhi in the pre-digital age, I didn’t have Mukherjee as part of my early listening experience in the way Lata Mangeshkar or Geeta Dutt had been. I was two years away from hitting my teens when Mukherjee’s voice — unmistakable for its lilt and lalitya, Sanskrit/Bengali for sweetness or charm — entered my world as we moved to Chittaranjan Park in south Delhi. No Durga Puja went by without listening to songs by two legendary Mukherjees — Sandhya and Hemanta — being blared on loudspeakers. The pandals of the late 1980s were venues for the screening of black-and-white Bengali films on giant projectors. This was also when I found Sandhya Mukherjee’s voice merging with the screen persona of Suchitra Sen, even as Hemanta Mukherjee’s did with Uttam Kumar’s who often played her romantic interest. As I spent the past few days listening to the breathtakingly wide range of songs Mukherjee sang in her long and illustrious career, I found that the ability to adapt — to artistic idiosyncrasies, situational peculiarities and the basic demands of a piece of composition — was what made her such a versatile and gifted artist.