Rabindra Sangeet Icon Padma Shree Suchitra Mitra passes away

The winding up of 2010 and the advent of 2011 is showing signs of great loss and grief, at least in the cultural world of Calcutta. a week ago we lost one of the most gifted theatre/film personality Ramaprasad Banik quite suddenly.
And today, the Rabindrasangeet legend, Suchitra Mitra died suddenly at her Calcutta residence after a cardiac arrest family sources said. She was 86.

Mitra died around 1:30 pm while she was having lunch.
Born in 1924, Suchitra Mitra had for six decades kept music lovers enthralled with her mellifluous rendition of Tagore songs, and her records and CDs top the popularity ratings even today.
Daughter of litterateur Saurindra Mohan Mukherjee, she received her first lessons from eminent singer-composer Pankaj Mullick and then went to Santiniketan with a scholarship.
Her singing skills were sharpened under the guidance of experts like Shantidev Ghosh and Shailajaranjan Mazumdar. She made her first recording in 1945.
Her rendition of Tagore songs like "Gramchara oi Ranga Matir Path", "Krishnakali", "Hridayer ekul okul du kul bheshey jaye" have capitavated music lovers for decades.

She was a former sheriff of Kolkata (2001) and long time professor and head of the Rabindra Sangeet department at the Rabindra Bharati University.

Mitra received the Padma Shri in 1973.

Acclaimed as one of the leading exponents and authorities on Rabindra Sangeet, Suchitra Mitra was surrounded by the aura of Rabindranath Tagore and his music from a very early age. Her father, the celebrated litterateur, Saurindra Mohan Mukherjee, was a close associate of the Tagore family of Jorasanko. Suchitra Mitra's natural aptitude in music was recognized by Pankaj Kumar Mullick , who gave her her first lesson in Rabindra Sangeet.

In 1941, Suchitra Mitra received a scholarship to Sangeet Bhavan in Santiniketan, where she had the rare privilege of learning from the greatest names in the world of music - Shrimati Indradevi Chaudhury, Shri Sahntidev Ghosh and Shri Shailajaranjan Mazumdar. Having obtained her Diploma from Santiniketan, Suchitra Mitra returned to Calcutta in 1945. Later in her life, she received her Master Degree in Bengali from Calcutta University. Shrimati Mitra's inherent love and commitment to Tagore's music encourage her to found, Rabitirtha, which today stands out significantly as one of the leading schools of Rabindra Sangeet in the city. Founder and Principal, Suchitra Mitra is still an active figure and inspiration behind this establishment. Shrimati Mitra's dedication, sincerity and comprehension of the subtle nuances underlying Gurudev's songs is that of a 'sadhak'.

Suchitra Mitra's reputation as a successful artiste resulted in her appointment as Lecturer in Rabindra Bharati University, where she held the prestigious office of Head of the Department of Music. In recognition of her creative talents, Suchitra Mitra received a number of awards, amongst them were the Tagore Hymn Prize in 1945 from London. Suchitra was honored with the Padma Shri in 1973 by the Government of India and in 1986 received the Sangit Natak Academy Award, and has the distinction of the recipients of the HMV Golden Disc Award, Shiromoni Puraskar from Asian Paints , Desikottam from Viswa-Bharati, Allauddin Puraskar from the Govt. of West Bengal and accolades apart. Suchitra's greatest achievements has been in her ability to immortalize Tagore's songs both at home and abroad to people of all ages. Invited to the USSR and Hungary, Suchitra Mitra spread the message of Gurudev to the western audience. With the Rabitirtha troupe, she performed Tagore's dance dramas in the USA and Canada. Suchitra Mitra is the author of many books in Bengali on Rabindra Sangeet, and has written a book of poems for children. She has directed her effort towards compiling an Encyclopedia of Tagore's songs for students and researchers. Suchitra Mitra's repertoire and expertise, coupled with her ability to inculcate in others the love of Rabindra Sangeet is unparalleled and establishes her as one of the greatest names in the world of performing arts.

She was conferred D.Litt.degree by Rabindra Bharati University & Burdwan University. She retired in 1984 from Rabindra Bharati as a Professor and the Head of Rabindra Sangeet Department.