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With Sweetness in her Vani – Vani Jairam

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“Bole Re Papi Hara” from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi, set to tune by none other than composer Vasant Desai, catapulted her to dizzying heights overnight. It was a dream come true for her since this was what she told her mother when she was a child. She had made up her mind to pursue singing in Hindi films when she was barely in her teens, as a fan of Bollywood songs and tirelessly listening to hit numbers on Binaca Geetmala, a popular radio music programme.

Born on 30th November 1945, in Vellore,Tamil Nadu, hers was a family of musicians. She first sang on the All India Radio, Madras (Chennai) at the age of eight. She studied Carnatic music under the guidance of Cuddalore Srinivasa Iyengar, T. R. Balasubramanian and R. S. Mani. Her Hindustani classical music guru was Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan. She shifted to Mumbai after her marriage.

In 1970, music director Vasant Desai introduced her into Hindi films. Her songs became hit and she won the prestigious Mian Tansen Award. Another song of hers in the same film – `Humko man ki shakti dena’ went on to become an all-time favourite prayer among school children. In the years that followed, she sang for all popular Hindi music directors of the time – Chitragupt, Naushad, Madan Mohan, O.P. Nayyar, R.D. Burman, Kalyanji Anandji, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Jaidev and others. She was also singing for regional films in Marathi, Gujarati, Bhojpuri and Oriya.

Another feather in her cap was Gulzar’s Meera that had Hema Malini playing the title role. Working with none other than Pandit Ravi Shankar, the album of songs that comprised of bhajans explored her forte-Hindustani music. Her songs in the film, won her the Filmfare Award. Over the years she has bagged over 25 awards including three national awards. She sings in 18 Indian languages and is proficient in both Carnatic and Hindustani genres.

The petite playback singer admits that, she is still open to offers and she continues to do concerts on invitation. Her smooth seamless voice never falters even at this age and she attributes her splendid voice to 18 hours of daily ‘riyaz’.
Here are a few nuggets from Vani Jairam’s kitty:

1. Bole re papi hara…..

2. Mere to Giridhar Gopal –

3. Mora saajan souten –

4. Pyar kabhi kam na –

5. Mitwa more mann mitwa –

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

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