Indian Film music & Classical music singers

KJ Yesudas

Dr. KJ Yesudas was born in Fort Kochi, Kerala to Augustine Joseph and Elizabeth Joseph. His father, who was his first guru (teacher), was a well-known Malayalam classical musician and stage actor of his time. He joined the Music Academy in Thrippunithura and won a gold medal for music at a local competition in Fort Kochi at age seven. He later trained under the legendary Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar in Classical Music, and this training, abruptly cut short by the guru's demise in 1974, still stood him in good stead. His soul-stirring voice lends itself well to both Indian classical, devotional and popular songs. Some popular classical songs rendered by Yesudas are Vathapi Ganapathim, Krishna Nee Begane Baaro , 'Yentha Nedu Wo', 'Kshira Saagara'.

Yesudas, a talent discovered by Salil Chowdhury and nurtured by Ravindra Jain, has sung more than 40,000 songs for many languages including Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Russian, Arabic, Latin and English through his long career.

In 1965, he was invited by the Soviet Union government to perform at music concerts in various cities in the U.S.S.R. In 1971, Yesudas with his musical troupe travelled around Kerala to raise funds for the Indian Prime Minister's National Defense Fund during the Indo-Pakistani War. He also became Senate member in the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, an organization incorporated in the USA.

In November 14, 1999, Yesudas was presented an honorary award by UNESCO for "Outstanding Achievements in Music and Peace" at the "Music for Peace" event in Paris, a concert held to mark the dawn of the new millennium and whose attendees included artistes such as Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, Montserrat Caballé and Zubin Mehta.

Kishore Kumar
(August 4, 1929 - October 13, 1987), born as Abhas Kumar Ganguly, was a Bollywood film playback singer (Hindi, Bangla, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Oriya) and actor of Bengali Indian origin. Kishore is widely acknowedged as a true genius and is regarded as one of the finest ever Indian male playback singers of all times - along with Mohammed Rafi and Mukesh.

Although known primarily for his successes as a singer, Kumar also was a noted actor. His comedy work included Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Half Ticket (1962), Padosan (1968), Baap Re Baap (1955), Pyar Diwana (1973), Hungama (1971), and Badthi Ka Naam Dadhi (1974). As a straight actor he had roles in films such as Naukri, Bandi, Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein, and Door Ka Raahi.

Although he was known mainly as playback singer, Kishore Kumar was also a prolific music director who produced very melodious tunes in several films like Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein, Door Ka Rahi and Jhumroo. Some of the most famous songs where music was given by him are Koi Ham Dam Na Raha, A Chal Ke Tujhe Mai Leke Chalun, (Beqarar Dil Tu Gaye Ja]], Nayano Sarasi Keno (Bengali).


Mohammad Rafi

Mohammed Rafi (December 24, 1924 - July 31, 1980) was arguably the greatest of Hindi/Urdu playback singers in Bollywood - along with Kishore Kumar and Mukesh. Rafi still remains popular in Indian Subcontinent and in many other parts of the world such as the UK, Kenya, and theWest Indies, where people of Indian origin have settled. He continues to inspire new Bollywood playback singers like Sonu Nigam, Mohammed Aziz, Shabbir Kumar and Anwar.

Rafi sang many duets with Lata Mangeshkar, but he has also sung a large number of songs with Geeta Dutt and Lata's sister Asha Bhosle as well.

His songs ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawaalis to ghazals and bhajans, and from slow melancholic tunes to fast fun-filled songs.

He sung for Rajendra Kumar and Jeetendra, the tragedy heroes Dilip Kumar and Bharat Bhushan, comedian Johnny Walker, and many more. His voice personified the rebellious image of the star Shammi Kapoor and also gave expression to smaller and younger heroes like Biswajit and Joy Mukherjee. Rafi has also sung for singer-actor Kishore Kumar in a few movies like Raagini, Baaghi Shehzaada, and Shararat.

He provided Playback for actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Guru Dutt, Ashok Kumar, Joy Mukherjee, Biswajit, Kishore Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor,Bharat Bhushan, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Johnny Walker, Sanjay Khan, Feroz Khan, Pradeep Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Pran, Parikshit Sahni, Vinod Mehra, Vinod Khanna, Mehmood, I. S. Johar, Jagdeep, Gulshan Bawra, Govinda

Lucky Ali

Maqsood Mehmood Ali (born September 19, 1958), popularly known as Lucky Ali, is an Indian singer and celebrity. He has also acted in Bollywood movies. Lucky is best known for his soulful but strikingly simple ballad-style singing.

With Hrithik Roshan's debut movie Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, Lucky entered into the world of playback singing. The songs Na tum jaano na hum and Ek pal ka jeena became huge hits and he won the Filmfare award (best male playback singer) for Ek pal ka jeena.

Kumar Sanu

Kumar Sanu alias Kedarnath Bhattacharya is a Calcutta born Mumbai based leading playback singer of Bollywood. He has modelled his singing style on that of the legendary Kishore Kumar.

He had his first success in the film Aashiqui released in 1990. Since then has lent his voice to more than 7000 songs. He is a winner of 5 Filmfare Awards , won back-to-back between 1990-1995. He is also credited with the rare feat of recording 28 songs in a single day, which is a world record. Kumar Shanu, as he liked to be called, has reduced his immense recording schedule in recent times and is no longer the main male playback singer in Bollywood that he once was. He sung for the film Barsaat and the soundtrack has become a success. He has also turned his trade at making music for Indian films and also recently as a producer for a new Bollywood film, Utthaan.


born as Abhijeet Bhattacharya, is a singer from India. He was born in a middle-class Bengali family in Kanpur, the youngest of four siblings. Although his parents were against the idea, Abhijeet went against his parent's wishes and became a singer.


Hariharan (born 3 April, in Puthan Theruvu (Thiruvananthapuram), Kerala in 1955) is an Indian playback singer in Hindi and Tamil movies, an established ghazal singer, and one of the pioneers of Indian fusion music.

Hariharan grew up in Bombay (Mumbai) and has bachelor degrees in science and law. The son of renowned Carnatic vocalists, Shrimati Alamelu and the late H.A.S. Mani, Hariharan inherited his parents' musical talents. Alamelu was Hariharan's first guruji (mentor). From her he picked up Carnatic music skills. He was also exposed to Hindustani music from a young age. In his teens, inspired by the songs of Mehdi Hassan and Jagjit Singh, Hariharan developed a passion for ghazals and started training in Hindustani music from Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan. He used to put in nine hours of singing practice everyday. The committed Hariharan also put heart and soul into learning Urdu when he decided to become a ghazal singer. He has perfected his Urdu diction to such standards that even his audiences in Lucknow, the heartland of the language, have been wowed over.

In 1977, Hariharan bagged the top prize in the All-India Sur Singaar competition and was promptly signed on by the late music director Jaidev to sing for the Hindi film "Gaman". His ghazal "Ajeeb Saane He Mujh Par Qarar" in that movie became such a hit that it won Hariharan an Uttar Pradesh state award, and Hariharan's playback singing career took off.

In his early years, Hariharan did the concert circuit and also performed on TV. He sang for a number of TV serials (e.g., "Junoon") and has sung with many Pakistani musicians (e.g., in "Strings"). In addition, he cut several successful ghazal albums, writing most of the scores himself. One of Hariharan's first ghazal albums was "Abshaar-e-Ghazal" with Asha Bhonsle, which went gold in sales. Another outstanding ghazal album was "Gulfam", which not only hit double platinum in sales but also fetched Hariharan the Diva Award for the Best Album of the Year in 1994.

Hariharan entered the Tamil filmdom in 1992 with the patriotic song Thamizha Thamizha in Maniratnam's film Roja. He was judged best male playback singer in the 1995 Tamil Nadu State Government Film Awards for his soulful rendition of the song Uyire Uyire in Maniratnam's Bombay (Hariharan sung Uyire Uyire with Chitra). Uyire Uyire is better known as Tu Hi Re in its Hindi version. In the Hindi version he sang the song with Kavita Krishnamurthy. Krishnamurthy was judged best Hindi female playback singer for Tu Hi Re.

Anu Malik

Anu Malik is one of the most well known & successful music directors in the Hindi Film industry or Bollywood. He has created lovely music for the last two decade which include chart buster films like Baazigar(1993), Akele Hum Akele Tum (1996), Kareeb (1997), Border (1997), Refugee (2000), Fiza (2000), Asoka (2001), Aks (2001), Filhal (2002), LOC-Kargil (2003), Main Hoon Na (2004), Murder (2004) and others.

He is known to be the most versatile among the Indian music directors, giving music to almost all kinds of films, without being repetitive, which is said to be the reason for his success.

His versitality was best exhibited in 2001 when he gave movies like Aks, Fiza, Filhal & Mujhe Kuch Kehena hai (among others), all loved by their respective audience, yet being exclusive in their kind.

Another speciality of Anu Malik is his choice of singers & lyricists. Unlike his peers like Nadeem Shravan, who tend to prefer main stream singers like Kumar Sanu & popular lyricist Sameer in all their films, Anu Malik has always tried different singers & lyricist. He was the first to use singers like KK, and Sonu Nigham as lead singers in his films, thus adding variety. Many of his hit albumns don't have one single lead lyrisict, instead a host of individual lyricist.

Anu Malik is one of the 3 judges in the TV show Indian Idol. He has won Filmfare Best Music Director Award twice (Main Hoon Na 2004 and Baazigar 1993). In 2001, he won The National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the film Refugee.

Daler Mehndi

Daler Mehndi, born August 18, 1967, is a bhangra/pop singer from India. Mehndi was a student of traditional Punjabi music and his first album broke sales records in India.
Since 1995 he has recorded several highly successful albums in India, and also appeared and sang in several Bollywood movies. His song Tunak Tunak Tun has helped to build his international popularity especially in the United States.

Allah Rakha Rahman

A.R.Rahman, born on January 6, 1966 as A.S. Dileep Kumar in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India) is a hugely popular Indian music composer. He is a native Tamilian. He made his debut in 1992 with Mani Ratnam's Tamil movie, Roja (Rose), which was subsequently dubbed into many languages. Yodha marked his debut in Malayalam, also in 1992 and Ram Gopal Verma's Rangeela (Colorful) (1995) was the first Hindi movie to have Rahman as the music director. He is a recipient of the Padma Shri, which is one of India's highest civilian national honours.

In 1991, Rahman began his own studio (attached to his house), called the Panchathan Record Inn. He initially composed music for use in advertisements, the title music on popular Indian Television channels and music in documentaries, among other projects. Rahman was, at first, hesitant about composing music for the Indian film industry primarily because most film makers at the time used songs as "fillers" - a means by which the audience was given a break from the movie's plot. In 1991 he was approached by film director Mani Ratnam, who offered Rahman the job as composer of music for his upcoming film Roja, at a price of Rs. 25,000. Rahman accepted, and the movie's superhit debut made him a household name in Tamil Nadu virtually overnight and led Rahman to receive the Rajat Kamal award for best music director at the Indian National Film Awards, the first time ever by a debutant. Rahman has since then gone on to win the award 3 more times (for Minsaara Kanavu (Electric Dreams, Tamil) in 1997, Lagaan (Tax, Hindi) in 2002 and Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek, Tamil) in 2003), the most ever by any composer.

Mukesh Chand Mathur (formal name Zoravar Chand), (July 22, 1923, Delhi, India - August 27, 1976), popularly known as Mukesh, referred to as the man with the golden voice, was one of the finest Indian playback singers along with Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar.

Mukesh's voice was noticed by Motilal (a popular actor in Hindi films, also a distant relative of Mukesh) when he sang at his sister's wedding. Motilal took him to Bombay, let him stay with him and even arranged for singing lessons for him. During this period, Mukesh managed to bag a role in a Hindi film, Nirdosh (Innocent) (1941). He got his break as a playback singer in 1945 with the film Pehli Nazar (First Look). The first song he sang for a Hindi film was Dil Jalta Hai to Jalne De (If the heart burns, let it burn) , which was incidentally picturised on Motilal.

He is best known for the songs he sang as a playback singer for Raj Kapoor, a legendary actor/director of Bollywood in 1950s and 1960s.In 1974, Mukesh received a National Award for the song Kain baar yoon bhi dekhaa hai from Rajnigandha (1974), and Filmfare Awards for the songs Sab Kuch Seekha in the movie Anari (1959), Ganga Ram Ki Samajh in Pehchaan (1970), Jai Bolo in Be Imaan (1972) and Kabhie Kabhie in the film of the same name (1976).

He died of a heart attack on August 27, 1976 in Detroit, Michigan, USA where he had gone for a concert. His body was carried back to India with Lata Mangeshkar, where a grand funeral ceremony took place as many famous actors, personalities of the Indian film industry, and fans paid tribute to the late singer. When the news of his death reached Raj Kapoor, he remarked that he had lost his soul, which is a testimony to the timeless and unforgettable association of Mukesh's voice (in playback) to the immensely popular songs of Raj Kapoor's films.
After Mukesh's death, his newer unreleased songs came out in 1977 with films like Dharam Veer, Amar Akbar Anthony, Khel Khilari Ka, Darinda, and Chandi Sona. The year 1978 also featured a good number of Mukesh songs , films like Aahuti, Paramatma, Tumhari Kasam, and Satyam Shivam Sundaram, where Mukesh sang his last film song "Chanchal Sheetal Nirmal Komal." From 1980 onward, Mukesh's voice was heard in many late films like Shaitan Mujarim, Premika, Patthar Se Takkar (1980), Sanjh Ki Bela, Maila Anchal (1981), Aarohi (1982), Chor Mandali (1983), Nirlaj (1985), Love and God (1986), Shubh Chintak (1989), and his last known release of Chand Grahan (1997).



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