South Asia

Indian singer Suchitra Mitra dies of cardiac arrest

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One of India's most famous singers, Suchitra Mitra, has died after suffering cardiac arrest, aged 86.

Celebrities, politicians and admirers have been paying their respects at her south Calcutta home.

A leading exponent of legendary Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore's music, her appeal cut across national boundaries.

Mitra's rendition of the song which became Bangladesh's national anthem during that country's 1971 independence struggle won the hearts of millions.

Born in 1924 in undivided Bengal, she died while eating lunch on Monday.

She took music lessons at West Bengal's Visva Bharati University, which she joined shortly after Tagore's death in 1941.

Her first long-play records of the poet's songs were released in 1945.

She was awarded one of India's highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, in 1973 for her contribution to Indian music.

India's partition in 1947 scattered millions of Bengalis between the eastern Indian state of West Bengal and over the border in East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh.