Pankaj Mullick
Mullick in the film Doctor, 1940
Born(1905-05-10)10 May 1905
Died19 February 1978(1978-02-19) (aged 72)
Occupation(s)musical composer, singer and actor
Known forsinging, music direction, composition and acting

Pankaj Kumar Mullick (10 May 1905 – 19 February 1978) was an Indian music composer, playback singer and actor, who was a pioneer of film music in Bengali cinema and Hindi cinema at the advent of playback singing, as well as an early exponent of Rabindra Sangeet.[1][2][3][4]

He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1970,[5] followed by the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (India's highest award in cinema, given by the Government of India) in 1972 for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.[4][6]

Early life and training

Pankaj Kumar Mullick was born in Kolkata to Monimohan and Monomohini Mullick. His father Monimohan had a deep interest in traditional Bengali music. He started his early training in Indian classical music under the tutelage of Durgadas Bandyopadhyaya. He studied at the Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta.[7] An important turning point in his life came when, after finishing his studies, he came in contact with Dinendranath Tagore, who was Rabindranath Tagore's grand-nephew. This led to Pankaj Mullick's lasting interest in Rabindra Sangeet. Rabindranath Tagore, in turn, grew fond of him, and soon Mullick became known as one of the leading exponents of Tagore's songs.[1][8]


Tagore's song Nemecche Aaj Prothom Badal became his first commercial recording, with the Kolkata-based Videophone Company in 1926, at the age of twenty one. This was the first of many albums which made him a household name in Rabindra sangeet.[1]

He started his career with the Indian Broadcasting Corporation in Calcutta in 1927, the forerunner of All India Radio (AIR), along with composer R. C. Boral, where he contributed as a music director and artist for nearly fifty years. Apart from composing songs for movies, he also composed the programme called Mahishashur Mardini. This program was based on the triumph Maa Durga over the demon Mahishashur. The programme included Chandi Path by Birendra Krishna Bhadra and agomoni songs by various singers. This programme gained such a huge popularity that till date, the recorded version of this programme is played by All India Radio on the day of Mahalaya at 4:00 am.[1][3]

He contributed in various capacities to Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and Tamil language films for 38 years, starting in 1931. He worked as music director to artists like K.L. Saigal, S.D. Burman, Hemanta Mukherjee, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle. He acted with famous film actors like K L Saigal, P.C. Barua and Kanan Devi. Along with Nitin Bose and his renowned sound engineer brother Mukul Bose, Mullick introduced playback singing in Indian cinema.[3]

He worked with one of the early film studios, New Theatres Calcutta for 25 years.[3]


Mullick on a 2006 stamp of India

The Indian Postal Service released a postage stamp on his birth centenary in 2006 on 4 August, and on 10 May, Doordarshan, India's state television channel, telecast a special music programme to commemorate the occasion. Five decades earlier, it was he and Bharatanatyam danseuse Vyjayanthimala who were lead performers at the nationwide launch of the channel in 1959.[4]


Year Film
1955 Raikamal
1954 Chitrangada
1952 Yatrik
1952 Mahaprasthaner Pathey
1952 Zalzala
1950 Rupkatha
1949 Manzoor
1948 Pratibad
1947 Ramer Sumati
1945 Dui Purush
1944 Meri Bahen
1943 Kashinath
1943 Dikshul
1942 Meenakshi
1940 Doctor
1940 Nartaki
1940 Zindagi
1939 Badi Didi
1939 Dushman
1939 Kapal Kundala
1938 Abhagin
1938 Abhigyan
1938 Desher Mati
1938 Dharti Mata
1938 Jiban Maran
1937 Badi Bahen
1937 Didi
1937 Mukti
1936 Devdas
1936 Grihadah
1936 Karodpati a.k.a. Millionaire with R. C. Boral
1936 Maya
1936 Manzil
1933 Yahudi Ki Ladki
1931 Chasher Meye


See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Upperstall Profile". 10 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Rooted to the core". The Hindu. 20 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d Biography Archived 9 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c "Mullick again". The Hindu. 10 June 2005. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Padma Awards". Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
  6. ^ Recipients of Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
  7. ^ Some Alumni of Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. page 590.
  8. ^ "An unequalled music". Times of India. 22 May 2010.