Bengali music legend Sandhya Mukherjee, whose songs stirred up patriotic fervour among Bangladeshis during the Liberation War, has been hospitalised with complaints of breathlessness and lung infection, bdnews24.com reports,
She was taken to the state-run SSKM Hospital from her south Kolkata residence on Thursday, Indian media report.
The singer, who is suffering from Covid-19, was later transferred to Apollo Hospital through a green corridor created by the Kolkata Traffic Police.
She also suffered a mild cardiac arrest, according to Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal. "We will take all measures to ensure the safety of the singer,” she said after visiting the singer in hospital.
Highlighting her precarious heart condition, doctors said three treatments would be conducted simultaneously to help her recover.
According to her family, Mukherjee fell in the washroom and got hurt on Jan 23. She was then taken to the hospital after her condition started to deteriorate on Wednesday.
Mukherjee was born and brought up in Kolkata and learned music from A T Kannan and Chinmoy Lahiri before training under Patiala Gharana legend Ut Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. She began her musical career in film music in Mumbai with the Madhubala-Dilip Kumar starrer Taraana (1951) under composer Anil Biswas. She sang a duet ‘Bol papiha bol’ with Lata Mangeshkar in the film.
Mukherjee left her mark on Bangladesh's struggle for independence with songs that helped motivate the Mukti Bahini soldiers and played a crucial role in mobilising the common man to rise up against the forces of oppression.
On his return to a newly independent Bangladesh in January 1972, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was greeted by the song “Bangabandhu phire elo tomar, swapner swadhin Banglay" on Swadhin Bangla Betar.
Written by Abidur Rahaman and composed by Sudhin Dasgupta, the gentle yet powerful song was made all the more memorable by the effervescent voice of Sandhya Mukherjee.
The 90-year-old recently made headlines after refusing to accept the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honour in the country, for her contributions to music.
Mukherjee, a recipient of 'Banga Bibhushan', and National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer said it would be "demeaning for her to accept the award at her age".
“After so many years, I have been selected for the award. I will not accept as it is demeaning for me to take the award at this age when I am old and almost immobile. I am a disciple of Bade Gulam Ali Saheb and I have performed with him in stage shows. The whole country and my audience loves me, that is my greatest prize."