Veteran singer Sandhya Mukherjee falls ill in Kolkata; rushed to hospital

Sandhya Mukherjee’s relatives told the media that she expressed her refusal when a central government official called her up on Tuesday afternoon. She said accepting the Padma Shri, the lowest in the rank of the civilian awards, would be demeaning for her.
Sandhya Mukherjee, 90, who refused to accept the Padma Shri award on Tuesday, was rushed to hospital in Kolkata on Thursday after complaining of illness. (TWITTER/@AITCofficial.)
Sandhya Mukherjee, 90, who refused to accept the Padma Shri award on Tuesday, was rushed to hospital in Kolkata on Thursday after complaining of illness. (TWITTER/@AITCofficial.)
Updated on Jan 28, 2022 12:34 AM IST
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KOLKATA: Legendary singer Sandhya Mukherjee, 90, who refused to accept the Padma Shri award on January 25, tested positive for Covid-19 at the state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on Thursday afternoon, hours after she was rushed there with signs of lung infection and breathlessness. Doctors at SSKM hospital found that Mukherjee also has a serious heart problem that complicated her condition.

Mukherjee suffered an injury on her waist a few days ago after a fall in her room, members of her family said. The veteran singer rarely interacted with outsiders but received many phone calls after the controversy over the Padma award.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who instructed the administration to take Mukherjee to SSKM Hospital through a green corridor around noon, said the government decided to shift her to Apollo Hospital in Kolkata.

“Sandhya Di (elder sister) is in critical condition because of the heart problem. She also suffered an injury due to the fall. Since treatment for Covid-19 cannot be done at SSKM, we got in touch with Apollo Hospital and decided to shift her. She could have been taken to any of the other state hospitals in Kolkata. Her daughter was also ready for that but we decided to opt for Apollo,” the chief minister said after visiting Mukherjee.

“Let’s all pray for her recovery. She is a national asset,” the chief minister added.

Members of Mukherjee’s family said in the morning that she was running fever since Wednesday night and had signs of congestion.

“She was feeling drowsy and had a breathing problem. Our family physician advised that she should be hospitalised,” a member of the family, who did not want to be named, said.

Former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Sandhya Mukherjee and tabla maestro Anindya Chatterjee refused the Padma awards offered by the central government on the eve of Republic Day.

The focus of most people was on the Centre’s decision to confer the Padma Shri award on 90-year-old singer whose illustrious career spans over 70 years. Sandhya Mukherjee, a student of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, has sung thousands of songs for Indian cinema and her albums of modern, classical and semi-classical music. She received the national award in 1970 for play-back singing.

Mukherjee’s relatives told the media that she expressed her refusal when a central government official called her up on Tuesday afternoon. She said accepting the Padma Shri, the lowest in the rank of the civilian awards, would be demeaning for her.

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