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An Ode To The Legend: Akshaya Mohanty

12 October 2019


Bhubaneswar: Today marks the 82nd birth anniversary of Odia music’s iconic singer, lyricist, songwriter, music director, and composer Akshaya Mohanty. The man whose music captured the hearts of many and lives on for generations to come.

Born at Bankimundai (today’s Cuttack district) and fondly called Khoka Bhai, Mohanty never received any formal training in music. But solely rose to fame with his determination and sheer love for music. And since he had received no training, he experimented freely breaking the traditional bounds of music. His ideas were a breath of fresh air for the Odia music aficionados.

At 22, he joined a Government job at Cuttack but left it after seven years to pursue his love for music. He recorded his first song Gadiala Bhai Dharichhi Sura Re in 50s. His first song as a playback singer was Gori Gori Gori in the 1959 Odia movie Maa. Mohanty went on to compose memorable music for astounding 75 movies with composing over a thousand songs and penning hundreds of them.

He contributed in genres such as film scores, folk music, Odissi music, bhajan, ballad music, and non-film modern light songs. His few famous romantic numbers are Smruti Tume, Ja Ja Re Bhasi Bhasi Ja, Nanda Mundia Driver, Tik Tik Tik Ghanta Chale. His few famous bhajans are Eka To Bhakata Jibana, Kene Gheni Jauchha Jagannathanku, Dasavatara (Gita Govinda), Jaya Jaya Jagannatha. Mohanty also penned three ballads in his lifetime- Kanchi Abhijana, Randipua Ananta, and Konarak Gatha.

In addition to Odia music, he also wrote several short story collections, novels, a travelogue and a semi-autobiography.

Not just hearts, Akshaya Mohanty also won several accolades. He bagged the Jayadev Award (highest State Award in the Odia movies). He also won the State Award for Best Playback Singer seven times and State Award for Best Composer two times. Additionally, he also received several awards from Orissa Cinecritic Association. He had also recorded a popular drama, Patent Medicine, which went on to win the best radio drama award from the All India Radio (AIR).

His sad demise occurred on November 17 2002. He is survived by two sons and two daughters. His wife Prabina Mohanty breathed her last on June 1 this year.