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Alka Yagnik (born 20 March 1966) is an Indian playback singer. She is noted in Indian cinema for a career spanning over three decades.[1] She is a record seven-time winner from a record of 36 nominations of the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer, a two-time recipient of the National Film Award[2] as well as several other music awards and honours listed below. Further, as many as twenty of her tracks feature in BBC's "Top 40 Bollywood Soundtracks of all time" review.[3]

Alka Yagnik
Alka Yagnik.jpg
Alka Yagnik
Born (1966-03-20) 20 March 1966 (age 53)
OccupationPlayback singer
Years active1980–present
Neeraj Kapoor (m. 1989)


Early life and backgroundEdit

Alka Yagnik was born in Kolkata on 20 March 1966 to a Gujarati family.[4] Her mother Shubha was a singer of Indian classical music. In 1972 at age six, she started singing for Akashvani (All India Radio), Calcutta.[5] At age 10, her mother brought her to Mumbai as a child singer. She was advised to wait until her voice matured, but her mother remained determined. On a subsequent visit, Alka got a letter of introduction to Raj Kapoor from his Kolkata distributor. Kapoor heard the girl and sent her with a letter to noted music director Laxmikant. Impressed, Laxmikant gave her two alternatives — an immediate start as a dubbing artist or a later break as a singer; Shubha chose the latter for her daughter.[1][6]


Alka is classically trained and began singing bhajans for Akashvani (All India Radio), Calcutta[5] at the age of six. Her first song was for the film Payal Ki Jhankaar in (1980), followed by Laawaris (1981) with the song "Mere Angane Mein", followed by the film Hamari Bahu Alka (1982). She got her big break with the song "Ek Do Teen" from the film Tezaab (1988). The song won her first out of seven Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer.

She has sung in many languages other than Urdu-Hindi, including Gujarati, Avadhi, Odia, Assamese, Meitei, Rajasthani, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, English and Malayalam.

She has worked with Indian composers such as Kalyanji–Anandji, Rahul Dev Burman, Laxmikant–Pyarelal, Rajesh Roshan, Nadeem–Shravan, Jatin–Lalit, Anu Malik, A. R. Rahman, Anand–Milind, Himesh Reshammiya, Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy, Ismail Darbar, Aadesh Shrivastava, Viju Shah, M. M. Keeravani, Sajid–Wajid, Bappi Lahiri, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sandesh Shandilya and many others.

In a career spanning over three decades she has sung many duet songs, most of these have been with Kumar Sanu and then Udit Narayan. She has also sung many duets with Sonu Nigam, Abhijeet, Hariharan, Vinod Rathod, and Shaan .

An interesting fact is that hundreds of her song recordings were found at Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad.[7]

She has such as "Tum Aaye" and "Shairana" in which she worked in close collaboration with award-winning lyricist Javed Akhtar and singer Hariharan. She has also rendered the Hanuman Chalisa and various devotional songs.

Alka shares the title with Asha Bhosle for the greatest number of Filmfare Awards won (7) by a single female playback singer.[8] Alka has also been the judge of various Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge shows, and Star Voice of India, both singing competition shows, in which children or adults of various age groups compete with one another to win the award for best vocals. She had recently judged Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs Season 5 {2014-2015} as a Maha Guru (also in previous 2 seasons). In addition to this, her song "Chamma Chamma" from China Gate was featured in the song "Hindi Sad Diamonds" from the soundtrack of the film Moulin Rouge!. She has also been performing in live concerts around the world.

In 2012 she along with Sonu Nigam sang a song 'Shiksha Ka Suraj' as part of National Literacy Mission of India for which she was felicitated by Union Minister For Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal.[9][10] Further in 2012, on occasion of 100 years of Hindi Cinema, her song "Taal Se Taal Mila" from the movie Taal was voted as the best song of the century in a poll conducted by DesiMartini, Hindustan Times and Fever 104.[11] Also her song "Choli Ke Peeche" from the movie Khalnayak was voted as the hottest song of the century in a poll conducted by Sanona.[12]

She has also been involved in various projects pertaining to empowerment of the girl child.[13] On 25 May 2014 she appeared as a special guest along with Kumar Sanu for the popular TV show Comedy Nights with Kapil.[14]

In 2014, she once again teamed up with Sonu Nigam to sing a song "Phool Khil Jayenge" for child health awareness.[15] She also sang a song titled "Maine Li Jo Angdai" for the album Women's Day Special: Spreading Melodies Everywhere. It was composed by Farid Sabri, Harish Chauhan and Gurudatt Sahil; and penned by Sudhakar Sharma.

She has sung 2,486 Hindi songs in 1,114 films. She is the fifth most prolific Bollywood singer of all time after Asha Bhosle (7886 songs), Mohammed Rafi (7405 songs) [16]Lata Mangeshkar (5596 songs) and Kishore Kumar (2,707 songs).[17]

Significant collaborations with music directorsEdit


Composers Laxmikant–Pyarelal created several musical songs with her in movies such as Coolie, Tezaab, Hum, Khalnayak, Khuda Gawah, Agneepath, Rajkumar and many others.[citation needed]


Alka Yagnik's significant collaborations with Nadeem–Shravan over the years include movies such as Saajan (1991),Phool Aur Kaante (1991), Deewana (1992), Dil Ka Kya Kasoor (1992), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), Rang (1993), Dilwale (1994), Raja (1995), Andolan(1995), Barsaat (1995), Jeet (1996), Raja Hindustani (1996), Pardes (1997), Sirf Tum (1999), Dhadkan (2000), Kasoor (2001), Raaz (2002), Andaaz (2003), Dil Hai Tumhaara (2003), etc.

Jatin Lalit

Alka Yagnik has often collaborated with Jatin–Lalit in popular movies such as Khiladi, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman,Fareb,Ghulam, Khamoshi: The Musical, Sarfarosh, Yes Boss, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,Dil Kya Kare, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Chalte Chalte, Hum Tum.

Anu Malik

Alka's collaborations with Anu Malik over the years has yielded several songs in films such as Baazigar, Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee, Imtihaan, Refugee, Vijaypath, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Duplicate, Soldier, Aarzoo, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega, Asoka, Yaadein(2001), Umrao Jaan, Fiza, Josh, Ishq Vishk, LOC Kargil.

A. R. Rahman

Alka's collaborations with A. R. Rahman in movies such as Taal, Lagaan, Zubeidaa, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Swades, Yuva, Guru, Yuvvraaj, Ada... A Way of Life, Slumdog Millionaire & Tamasha are critically acclaimed.

Rajesh Roshan

Alka has created popular scores with Rajesh Roshan in films such as Kaamchor, Karan Arjun, "Dastak", Sabse Bada Khiladi, Koyla, Papa Kehte Hai, Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, Koi... Mil Gaya, Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage, Krrish .


Alka has worked in several films with Anand–Milind notably Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Laadla, Gopi Kishan,Anjaam, Anari, Suhaag, Aaj Ka Goonda Raj, Coolie No.1, Army, Lootere, Loafer, Mr. Bechara, Jaan, Rakshak, Ajay, Hero No. 1, Sanam, Mrityudand, Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate, Chal Mere Bhai & Jaanwar.

Himesh Reshammiya

Alka gave Himesh Reshammiya his first break in the movie Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya. Thereafter the duo has worked together creating popular scores in several movies such as Hello Brother, Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye, Humraaz, Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne, Tere Naam, Bardaasht, Aitraaz, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya?, Kyon Ki, Banaras, 36 China Town, Milenge Milenge, etc.


Alka's collaboration with Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy in notable films such as Dil Chahta Hai, Mission Kashmir, Armaan, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Lakshya & Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Alka Yagnik has won several music awards for best female playback such as Filmfare Awards, National Awards, Lata Mangeshkar Award,[18] Bollywood Movie Awards, IIFA Awards, Star Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards, etc. She also holds the record for most awards won (7) as well as maximum nominations (36) for Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Alka Yagnik married Shillong-based businessman Neeraj Kapoor in 1989 and has a daughter named Syesha Kapoor.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Iconic Alka Yagnik". IBN Live. 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-10-07. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
  2. ^ "National Award For Alka Yagnik". TOI. 2000. Retrieved 2001-05-03.
  3. ^ "BBC Top 40 tracks of all time". BBC Asia. 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  4. ^ "Alka_Yagnik". Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  5. ^ a b Number, A Hit (16 October 2011). "Fine Tuning". The Telegraph, Calcutta, India. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  6. ^ "About Me". Alka Yagnik. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  7. ^ "Alka Yagnik Fan". 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  8. ^ a b "Filmfare Award Archive" (PDF). 2005. Retrieved 2005-03-20.
  9. ^ "Shiksha Ka Suraj". TOI. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  10. ^ "Felicitations". The Hindu. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
  11. ^ "Song of The Century". 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  12. ^ "Hottest Song of The Century". 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  13. ^ "Save the Girl Child". 2012. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Comedy Nights with Alka & Sanu". 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  15. ^ "Child Health Awareness". 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  16. ^ "Facts you should know about Mohammed Raf". Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Most Songs by Singer - Bollywood MuVyz". Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  18. ^ "Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan to get Lata Mangeshkar Award - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  19. ^ "Alka Yagnik Marriage: Two Decades Of Long Distance Relationship, Zero Regrets - The Bridal Box". 16 November 2016.

External linksEdit