Vani Jayaram (born November 30, 1945 in Tamil Nadu) is a prominent Indian singer. She is best known as a playback singer in Indian cinema, primarily in South Indian languages, although she has a wider repertoire. Vani's career started in 1971 and has spanned over four decades. She has done playback singing for over a thousand movies. In addition, she has recorded several private albums and participated in numerous solo concerts in India and abroad.
She was the most sought after singer to sing many of the most difficult compositions by legendary music directors. Songs like Ezhu Swarangalukul, Keliviyin Nayangane, Ennulil Engo, Yaaradhu sollamal, Naanae Naana, Megamae Megamae, Kavidhai Kelungal, Nadhamenum are very few such examples.
She believes in musical quality and very well known for her musical ethics. She never has diluted music in any form and for anybody and never for the sake of entertainment. Music directors had always known that and had always approached her with right songs filled with challenging musical substances.
Renowned for her voice range, Vani's work includes film music, pop, ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian classical music and folk songs. Apart from Hindi, she has sung in several Indian languages, such as Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Gujarati and Bengali languages.
Apart from State Government awards from the states of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, Vani has thrice won the National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer.
Personal life and background:
Vani Jayaram was born in Vellore in Tamil Nadu, in a Tamil Brahmin family of musicians. Her mother Padmavathi is the disciple of Ranga Ramunaja Iyengar, a great veena exponent. Kadaloor Sreenivasa Iyengar, who taught Vani's sister music, was fascinated by her observation and grasping power. He taught her a few Dikshitar kritis when she was hardly five. The fifth daughter in a family of six daughters and three sons, Vani always secretly yearned for a career in film playback singing. Considered to be a child prodigy, Vani Jayaram claims to have recognized the different ragas of Indian classical music before the age of five. Her voice was first heard on All India Radio, Madras, at the age of eight.
Vani Jayaram studied Carnatic music under the tutelage of Cuddalore Srinivasa Iyengar, T. R. Balasubramanian and R. S. Mani. Her Hindustani classical music guru was Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan.
After her marriage to Jayaram she settled in Mumbai, where she realized her dream.
In 1971, she realized her childhood ambition of becoming a playback singer when Hindi film music director Vasant Desai chose her voice for the Hindi feature film Guddi. She recorded three songs for Guddi, and "Bol Re Papi Hara," a song based on the Hindustani raga "Miyan Malhar", instantly made her an household name in India. For that song she was awarded the Tansen Samman (for best classical-based song in a Hindi film), the Lions International Best Promising Singer award, the All India Cinegoers Association award, and the All India Film-goers Association award for the Best Playback Singer in 1971. She went on to sing a few songs each for music directors of Hindi cinema, including Chitragupt, Naushad (a classical song in Pakeezah and a duet with Asha Bhosle in Aaina), Madan Mohan (a duet with Kishore Kumar in the film Ek Mutthi Aasmaan), O.P. Nayyar (several songs from the film Khoon Ka Badla Khoon including duets with Mohammed Rafi and also with Uttara Kelkar and Pushpa Pagdhare), R. D. Burman (a duet with Mukesh in Chhalia), Kalyanji Anandji, Laxmikant Pyarelal, and Jaidev (a duet with Manna Dey in Parinay and a solo in Solwa Saawan). Her songs in Meera (1979), composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar, won her the Filmfare Award.
Around 1974, she shifted her base to Madras and soon became a sought-after singer in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam cinema. In 1981, she sang a evergreen song Kanana Poikayil Kalabham along with K.J. Yesudas in the composition of M.K. Arjunan for the film Ariyapedatha Rahasiyam (1981) directed by P. Venu. She worked with almost all the leading music directors of south namely M. S. Viswanathan, M. B. Sreenivasan, K. V. Mahadevan, M. K. Arjunan, Jerry Amaldev, Salil Chowdhary and Ilayaraaja. With the future Academy award winner, A. R. Rahman, she recorded a duet with S. P. Balasubramanyam in the song "Sugam sugam athu" for the film Vandicholai Chinnarasu in 1994.
Besides Hindi and Tamil, Vani Jayaram has recordings in other languages of India. These include some songs in Gujarati, Marathi, Marwari, Haryanvi, Bengali and Tulu, and a huge repertoire in Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Oriya. For her work in some of these languages, she has been awarded many prestigious awards, among them are Best Female Playback Singer for states of Gujarat (1975), Tamil Nadu (1980) and Orissa (1984).
One of her most famous Marathi songs, "Runanubandhachya," is a duet with the classical Hindustani singer Kumar Gandharva. This song was composed by Vani's mentor Vasant Desai for a Marathi drama called Dev Deenaghari Dhaavlaa. The lyrics were written by Bal Kolhatkar.
National Film Awards:
1975 - Best Female Playback Singer - Various songs (Apoorva Raagangal),
1980 - Best Female Playback Singer - Various songs (Sankarabharanam),
1991 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Anathineeyara Hara" (Swathi Kiranam),
2013- The 60th South Indian Film Fare Award for Lifetime Achievements,
1980 - Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer - "Mere Toh Giridhar Gopal" (Meera),
1972 - Gujarat State Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer - Ghoongat,
1979 - Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback - Azhagae Unnai Aradhikkiren,
1979 - Nandi Award for Best Female Playback Singer - Shankarabharanam,
1982 - Orissa State Film Award for Best Singer - Debjani,
1972 - Mian Tansen Award Best Film Playback Singer of 'Classical Song' in Films for "Bol Re Papi Hara" given by Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai.,
1979 - Her songs in the Pandit Ravi Shankar scored film Meera brought her the Film World (1979) Cine Herald (1979) for "Mere To Giridhar Gopal".,
1991 - Kalaimamani Award from Tamil Nadu State for her contribution to Tamil film music.,
1992 - The youngest artist to be awarded the "Sangeet Peet Samman",
2004 - M.K. Thyagarajar Bhagavathar - Life Time Achievement Award from Tamil Nadu Government,
2005 - Kamukara Award for her outstanding contribution to film music in general and in all the four South Indian languages in particular.,
2006 - Mudhra Award of Excellence from Mudhra Academy, Chennai.,
2012 - Subramanya Bharathi award for her contribution to music.,
2004: Kamukara Award,
2007: South Indian Meera