It is said that when Tagore heard Mullick sing one of his verses `Diner Sheshey Ghumer Deshey`, the `bard` hugged him and told him that he was free to set tune to those writings of his which he would not be able to accomplish during his lifetime.
The credit of taking Tagore’s songs and music, which have come to be known as 'Rabindra Sangeet', to the masses goes to 'Mukti'.
The unprecedented popularity of Kanan Devi & Pankaj Mullick songs in 'Mukti' played a major role in creating a mass appeal for this kind of songs which were hitherto unknown.
Pankaj Mallik was born on 10th May 1905 in Calcutta. He started his early training in Indian classical music under the tutelage of Durgadas Bandopadhaya. An important turning point in his life came when, after finishing his studies, he came in contact with Dinendranath Tagore, who was Rabindranath Tagore's great-nephew. This led to Pankaj Mullick's lasting interest in Rabindra Sangeet. Rabindranath Tagore, in turn, grew fond of him, and soon Mullick became known as one of the leading exponents of Tagore's songs.
He started his career with the Indian Broadcasting Corporation in Calcutta in 1927, the forerunner of All India Radio (AIR), along with composer R. C. Boral, where he contributed as a music director and artist for nearly fifty years.
Along with RC Boral, Pankaj Mullick helped New Theatres dominate the film industry in the 1930s. They worked together on a few films and one of the best examples of their combined brilliance was President.
He was a man of many talents. Other than composing music, he played the lead role in a few films and was an excellent singer. Undeniably, though, the highlights of his career were the songs he composed for KL Saigal.The two legendary songs in Zindagi were the musical opposites of each other. In ‘Main Kya Janoon Kya Jadoo Hai’and ‘So Ja Rajkumari’, on the other hand, was slow and sonorous.
Pankaj Mullick innovated not only the Tonga rhythm, but was also the first to breathe the locomotive breath into a Hindi film song. Amazingly, he did both in the same film, Doctor.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1970, followed by the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (India's highest award in cinema, given by the Government of India) in 1972 for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.He died on 19th Feb 1978.