Shyamal Mitra (14 January 1929 – 15 November 1987) was a Bengali singer, composer and producer. Along with Hemanta Mukherjee and Manna Dey, he was the most notable musician of the golden era of Bengali music industry. His baritone voice reflected a range of emotions. Beside recording a huge number of popular Bengali basic songs, he also worked as a playback singer in more than a hundred Bengali movies and directed music in more than fifty Bengali films. He also sang in various other Indian languages, like Hindi, Assamese and Oriya.
Shyamal Mitra was born in Naihati, a city near Kolkata, India. His father, Dr. Sadhan Kumar Mitra, was a reputed doctor there. The father wanted his son to follow in his footsteps and to become a doctor, but the son was very keen about music and always inspired by his mother and the local singer Mrinal Kanti Ghosh. People associated with the I.P.T.A. movement used to visit Sadhan-babu's house and this gave the chance to young Shyamal Mitra to come in contact with Salil Chowdhury. Young Shyamal Mitra and his youngest sister Reba used to sing "O Aalor Pathajatree" on the road for I.P.T.A.
Shyamal Mitra went to Hooghly Mohsin College, then affiliated with the University of Calcutta, for his graduation degree. There he met Satinath Mukhopadhyay, another prominent exponent of modern music. Satinath inspired him. Then Shyamal Mitra came to Kolkata and met Sudhirlal Chackraborty. That was the turning point of his life. He started struggling till he got a chance to playback in "Sunandar Biye" with Supriti Ghosh in 1949, and recorded his first basic songs from H.M.V. under the supervision of Sudhirlal Chackraborty. After the sad demise of Sudhirlal Chackraborty in 1952, he recorded "Smriti Tumi Bedonar". That was the turning point and he never looked back after that. He became one of the leading singers and composers of the country.
Shyamal Mitra started working as a singer and music composer for the Bengali music industry. During the fifties and early sixties he composed music for hit films like Joy Maa Kali Boarding, Jamalaye Jibonto Manush, and Bhranti Bilash. During this period he also worked as playback singer in many Bengali films.
In 1963, he produced a film called Deya Neya,another milestone of his career. Then he produced more films like Rajkanya, Kheya, and Ami Se O Sakha. He was also the distributor and producer of "Gorh Nasimpur".
Shyamal Mitra went to Mumbai in the early fifties with Salil Chowdhury. He worked in three films: Musafer, Biraj Bou, and Naukri. In 1973, he again went to Mumbai. He worked in Shakti Samanta's films, like Amanush, Anand Ashram, F.C.Mehra's film Bandi, Basu Chatterjee’s films like Safed Jhoot, and Mamta. He came back to Kolkata again and created many hit tracks in both Bengali basic and film songs.
Shyamal Mitra got a long association with All India Radio. He also sang in the famous Mahisasura Mardini programme of All India Radio.
Beside modern Bengali songs and film songs, Shyamal Mitra worked with many other different forms of Bengali music like Rabindrasangeet, Nazrul Geeti, "Chotoder Gaan", and Atul Prasadi. As a music composer, he also worked in a Yatra Pala called "Bibi Anondomoyee".
As a music composer, Shyamal Mitra worked with many major artists like Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyay, Tarun Bandyopadhyay, Dhananjay Bhattacharya, Pratima Bandyopadhyay, Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, Satinath Mukhopadhyay, Ila Basu, Supriti Ghosh, Gayatri Basu, Talat Mahmood and Kishore Kumar.
As an actor, Shyamal Mitra, worked in Bengali movies like Sharey Chuattar and Saapmochan.
Shyamal Mitra died on 15 November 1987, leaving behind his wife Protima Mitra, son Saibal Mitra and Saikat Mitra, daughter Monobina.
The Bengali audience will never forget his songs like "Tomar Samadhi Phule Phule Dhaka", "Gaane Bhubon Bhoriye Debe", "Amar Sopne Dekha Rajkonyya", "Ami Tomar Kachei Phire Ashbo", "Ke Jane Kobe Abar", "O Mon Kokhon Suru", "Tinti Montro Niye Jader Jibon", "O Shimul Bon", "Emono Din Ashte Pare", "Sediner Sona Jhora Sondha", "Naam Rakhechi Bonolata", "Ei Sundor Prithibi Chere", and many others.