Suchitra Mitra passes away at 86: Kolkata mourns

Kolkata, Jan 5, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS) Suchitra Mitra was a rockstar in every sense and the original pillar of Bengali culture, said pop singer Usha Uthup who visited the residence of the legendary Rabindra Sangeet singer to pay her last respects on Monday.

[ReviewAZON asin=”B003Y5H3MG” display=”inlinepost”]”I am the only pop singer perhaps who learnt Tagore song from her,” said Usha Uthup as singers, actors, writers and politicians poured in to pay their tribute to the exponent of Rabindra Sangeet.

“She used to rock. Her movements, her way of turning the head, it was so powerful, so bold,” said the singer.

An era in the cultural life of Bengal came to end on Monday with the passing away of  Suchitra Mitra. She was 86 and is survived by a son.

Mitra had a cardiac attack while having lunch at her Gariahat Road residence. The singer who immortalized Tagore songs worldwide and taught generations of singers died at 1.30pm.

The body of Mitra would be cremated at 2 pm on Tuesday at the Keoratala crematorium in south Kolkata. She would be kept in the morning at Jorasanko in north of Kolkata,  the ancestral home of the Tagore family that now hosts the Rabindra Bharati University campus.

Her body would be then taken to Rabindra Sadan auditorium premises for tribute by the common people and followers. Her body would also be taken to Rabitirtha, the centre for Tagorean thoughts and culture and a music academy founded in 1946 by Dwijen Chowdhury and Suchitra Mitra.

Everyone was asked to avoid paying tribute with white flowers to the late music exponent since she could not endure the while flowers that symbolizes death.

She was taken to funeral parlour ‘Peace Haven’ on Monday as her tearful students sang songs encircling round her body at her residence.

As an academic, Mitra remained a professor and the Head of ‘Rabindra Sangeet Department’ at the Rabindra Bharati University for many years.

“She had dedicated her life to Tagore. Her bold bearing was matchless,” said singer Indrani Sen.
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee sent his condolences which was conveyed by his emissary at her residence.

While the cultural royalty of Bengal head for the south Kolkata apartment of Mitra, there were tears in the eyes of her students and countless followers.

Rabindrasangeet singer Sumitra Sen said: “I cannot really accept it though I know we are mortal. We grew up on her songs. She was a towering personality and a very responsible person. She was perless.”

“She was like an elder sister. She was a caring person too. She used to guide us too,” she recalled.

Noted litterateur Sunil Gangopadhayay said it was his personal loss.

Actor Mithun Chakraborty said he was heart broken.

“She was always with us. We miss her. I am too small a person to speak on her. The void is hard to fill, it is a great loss,” said Chakraborty.

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