Suchitra Mitra (19th September, 1924 - 3rd January, 2011) is an Indian singer-composer, and a well respected exponent of Rabindra Sangeet or the songs of Bengal's poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore. As an academic she remained a Professor and the Head of 'Rabindra Sangeet Department' at the Rabindra Bharati University for many years. She has also done playback singing and acted in a Bengali films as well, and for many years remained associated with IPTA
She studied at the Scottish Church College , the University of Calcutta and at Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal, India. She has also remained the Sheriff of Kolkata (2001) . She died of a cardiac ailment on 3rd January, 2011, in Kolkata.
Her father, the celebrated littérateur, Saurindra Mohan Mukherjee, was a close associate of the Tagore family of Jorasanko. Suchitra Mitra's natural aptitude in music was recognized by Pankaj Mullick, who gave her, her first lesson in Rabindra Sangeet. From her childhood as the youngest member of her family, Suchitra cultivated her love for the songs and poetry of Tagore. She had an unerring ear for music and had a natural gift of voice and expression.
In 1941, Suchitra Mitra received a scholarship to Sangeet Bhavan in Santiniketan, where she had the rare privilege of learning from some of the greatest exponents of Rabindra Sangeet - Indiradevi Chaudhurani, Shantidev Ghosh and Shailajaranjan Mazumdar. Having obtained her Diploma from Santiniketan, Suchitra Mitra returned to Calcutta in 1945. An in 1946, she received her Master's degree in Bengali from Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta. In the same year, her inherent love and commitment to Tagore's music encourage her to found the 'Rabitirtha' (which was named by renowned historian and Tagore scholar Professor Kalidas Nag), which today stands out significantly as one of the leading schools of Rabindra Sangeet in Kolkata, and which was named in honor of the Nobel laureate. Founder and Principal, Suchitra Mitra is still an active figure and inspiration behind this establishment. Her dedication, sincerity and comprehension of the subtle nuances underlying Tagore's songs is indeed praiseworthy.
She proved herself equally successful as an exponent and an interpreter of Tagore's musical compositions. Her other interests include performing arts including theatrical performances, film-acting, painting etc. She has also been producing Rabindra Nritya Natyas (or Tagore's dance dramas); she has acted and danced in many of them. She has also acted in stage-plays and in films. Her other intellectual pursuits include reciting poetry, writing short stories, poems and children's rhymes, publishing essays and books on more thought provoking subjects such as the grammar and techniques involved in rendering Rabindra Sangeet or on the aesthetics of the music of Tagore. She is the author of many books in Bengali on Rabindra Sangeet, and has recently directed her efforts towards compiling an encyclopedia of Tagore's songs for students and researchers. Suchitra Mitra's repertoire and expertise, coupled with her ability to inculcate in others the love of Rabindra Sangeet is unparalleled and establishes her as one of the greatest names in the world of performing arts in India.
Her versatile personality is projected when she sings songs of different moods. Her songs evoke visions of beauty and wonderment, color and fragrance, love and pain, memories and longing, joy and freedom. Suchitra is considered as one of the most versatile exponents of Rabindra Sangeet and in recognition thereof she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1974.
She has been the subject of multiple biographic documentary films. One of them, titled Suchitra Mitra (1993) by Raja Sen, went on to win the National Film Award for Best Cultural Film.