Kanan Devi

Kanan Devi

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Kanan Devi

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Kanan Devi () (22 April 1916 – 17 July 1992) was an Indian actress and singer. She was among the early singing stars of Indian cinema, and is credited popularly as the first star of Bengali Cinema. Her singing style, usually in rapid tempo, was used instrumentally in some of the biggest hits of New Theatres, Kolkata.


Kanan Devi was born as Kanan Dassi in Howrah, West Bengal in or around 1916. In her autobiography, Kanan Devi has observed that she was born illegitimately. She belonged to a poor family and after the death of her adoptive father, she and her mother were left to earn and live on their own and had to do all sorts of work to drag on their lives.

Her name was soon changed to Kanan Bala. When she was only ten, a well wisher introduced her to Jyoti Studios where she was cast in a small role in Joydev (1926). She later worked with Radha Films, in films mainly by Jyotish Banerjee. After being noticed in Khooni Kaun and Maa (1934), she entered New Theatres, Calcutta. She came in contact of maestro Raichand Boral who coached her and familiarized her in the Hindi accent. She received her initial musical training under Ustad Alla Rakha. She was employed as a singer at the Megaphone Gramaphone Company, receiving further training under Bhishmadev Chatterjee. She later learnt Rabindra Sangeet under Anadi Dastidar. Her name was soon again changed to Kanan Devi for the purpose of films.

New Theatres's P.C. Barua wanted her to play the...
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