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Udit Narayan Jha, credited as Udit Narayan (born 1 December 1955), is an Indian playback singer whose songs have been featured mainly in Bollywood movies of Hindi language. He has also sung in various other languages including Maithili, Nepali and Bhojpuri. He has won 4 National Film Awards (3 as a singer 1 as a producer) and 5 Filmfare Awards with 20 nominations and many other awards. He is the only male singer in the history of the Filmfare Awards to have won in over three decades (the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s). Udit Narayan was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009, and in 2016 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, an honour that has been awarded to only a handful of singers, in recognition of his achievements in various film industries across India. He was awarded the Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu by the King of Nepal Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 2001 and Chitragupta Cineyatra Samman 2015 for Bhojpuri Cinema. As many as 21 of his tracks feature in BBC's "Top 40 Bollywood Soundtracks of all time".
Udit Narayan at Rampur Ke Lakshman music launch
Udit Narayan Jha|
1 December 1955
Baisi, Supaul district, Bihar
|Children||Aditya Narayan (son)|
Udit Narayan was born in 1955 to Nepali father Harekrishna Jha and Indian mother Bhuvaneshwari Jha. In 2009, when Udit Narayan was awarded India's civilian honour Padma Shri, there were reports questioning his Indian citizenship, claiming that he was born in Nepal. However, Udit Narayan himself branded these reports as "completely false", and stated that he was born in the Baisi village of Supaul district of Bihar at his maternal grandparents' home. When his acceptance of the Padma Shri led to his criticism in Nepal, he told the Nepalese daily Kantipur that he was "from Nepal but his mother's home was in Bihar." In a 2017 interview with the Indian magazine Outlook, he clarified that he was born in Baisi, and clarified that his father Harekrishna was a native of Bhardaha, Saptari District, Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal. In September 2018, Udit Narayan revealed at a ceremony held by the Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America, that he identifies as a Bihari.
Narayan studied at Jageshwar High School, Kunauli, Supaul, Bihar, India, where he finished his SSC and later obtained his intermediate degree from Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal. His father Harekrishna Jha was a farmer and his mother Bhuvneshwari Devi was a folk singer. His mother encouraged him to pursue music as a career.
Personal life and popularity
In 2006, Ranjana Narayan claimed to be the Narayan's first wife, but Narayan consistently denied it. Later, he accepted her as his wife and promised to provide for her maintenance. Narayan has been married twice, first to Ranjana Narayan Jha and then to Deepa Narayan Jha. He began his relationship with Deepa Narayan while he was still married to Ranjana Narayan. Narayan and Deepa were married in 1985. With Deepa Narayan, he has one son, Aditya Narayan, who is also a playback singer.
Narayan's work has been praised by his contemporaries Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy and music director Ankit Tiwari. Mid Day included him in the list of notable 90s playback singers. Narayan is considered one of the most prominent singers of his generation.
He was one of the most prominent ustads (teachers) of Bollywood singers throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. He has been the on-screen singing voice for various Bollywood stars. He has also sung with Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna and Dev Anand. Most of his duets are with Alka Yagnik. He began his career in 1970 as a Maithili folk singer (staff artist) for Radio Nepal, singing mostly popular folk songs in Maithili and Nepali. Gradually, he started singing modern Nepali songs. After eight years, Narayan moved to Bombay on a musical scholarship for Nepalese from the Indian Embassy in Nepal to study classical music at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan.
Narayan started his Bollywood career in 1980 when he was noted by music director Rajesh Roshan, who asked Narayan to playback sing for the Hindi film Unees-Bees. Narayan was given the opportunity to sing with the legendary singer Mohammed Rafi. He sang for Devanand a couplet in Swami Dada.His first duet was in the film Sannata. Soon after, Narayan sang for a number of other movies, including Bade Dil Wala in 1983, where he sang a duet with senior singer Lata Mangeshkar, composed by senior music director R. D. Burman. In the same year, Narayan sang with Kishore Kumar in the film Kehdo Pyar Hai. Another singer he sang with was Suresh Wadkar with music composed by Bappi Lahiri. A significant milestone in his career occurred in 1988 when Anand-Milind gave him the opportunity to sing all the songs for the successful Bollywood movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, with Alka Yagnik, which earned him a Filmfare Award. In an interview with The Times of India, Narayan said: "The song I've sung, "Manzilein", is the best song of my career after "Pehla Nasha", which gave me superstardom!". Narayan remained prolific through the 2000s, singing popular numbers in films such as Pukar, Dhadkan, Lagaan, Devdas and Veer Zaara.
In 2002, Narayan sang "Bairi Piya" with newcomer Shreya Ghoshal, from the film Devdas, of which Rediff mentioned: "Narayan successfully captures the eternal romanticism of Devdas". In 2014, Narayan sang a song titled "Naa Hum Jo Kah De" along with Shreya Ghoshal, for the album Women's Day Special: Spreading Melodies Everywhere. The song was composed by Ram Shankar and penned by A. K. Mishra.
Narayan's friend Jiyand Nawab Deedag suggested he change his work from old to modern in order to be selected as a playback singer, but this didn't work and, considering old films in 1973, Narayan sang a song for a Nepali film called Sindoor. This was a comedy song for the famous Nepali comedians GopalRaj Mainali (Chankhe) and Basundhara Bhushal (Nakkali). Narayan sang this song with Sushma Shrestha, now known as Poornima in Hindi films. Narayan has also acted in two Nepali films – Kusume Rumal and Pirati in 1985. In 2004, he released his first non-movie Nepalese album, Upahaar, in which he sang duets with his wife Deepa Jha. Narayan has many solo albums as well, such as Bhajan Sangam, Bhajan Vatika, I Love You, Dil Deewana, Yeh Dosti, Love is Life, Jaanam,Jhumka de Jhumka, Sona No Ghadulo, Dhuli Ganga and Ma Tarini.
Narayan has performed in many stage shows in India and abroad and is the recipient of many awards. These include Screen Videocon Award, MTV Best Video Award and Pride of India Gold Award.
In 2015 he involve a mega series campaign Melancholy where 421 Nepali artists had sung 33 minutes 49 seconds an environmental song in which 365 artists set an Guinness World Record on 19th may 2016 at Radio Nepal Studio, Singhadurbar, Kathamandu is written, music composed and directed by environmentalist Nipesh DHAKA.
Narayan was on the panel of judges on Sony TV for Waar Parriwar, a reality show based on the bringing together of a singing gharana (family of singers). He shared judging duties with fellow playback singer Kumar Sanu and Jatin Pandit of the music duo Jatin-Lalit.
As an actor
Narayan acted in and sang all the songs in a 1985 Nepali movie called Kusume Rumal, which spent 25 weeks on the box office top ten list and became the highest-grossing Nepalese movie of all time until overtaken in 2001 by another Tulsi Ghimire film, Darpan Chaya.
Jury member of awards
In 2012, Narayan was the one of the jury members of the film music jury for the Global Indian Music Academy Awards. In 2015, he was one of the jury members in Mirchi Music Awards, and the same year he was the judge of the Jagran Film Festival.
- Padma Bhushan: third highest civil honour from Indian Government, 2016
- Madhya Pradesh government's National Lata Mangeshkar Award, 2015
- National Bravery Award from Maharashtra at Raj Bhavan 2016
- Padma Shri: fourth highest civil honour from Indian Government, 2009
- Honoured at Swabhimani Mumbaikar Awards, 2016
- Special Jury Salute Award from Radio Mirchi Award, 2016
- Receiving the Kishore Kumar Memorial Award for Music from S. Krishna Kumar
- Dadasaheb Phalke Film Foundation Awards, 2015
- Dr Ambedkar awards in Mumbai, 2015
- Awarded for his exceptional performance Bhojpuri industry, 2015
- Received BIFA awards, 2015
- 1st, Chitragupta Cineyatra Film Award, 2015
- Bhojpuri award, 2014
- Maharashtra Ratna Awards from Government of Maharashtra 2011
- First Mohammed Rafi award, 2010
- 2nd Medscape India National Awards
- Chitragupta Cineyatra Samman for Bhojpuri Cinema, 2015
- Received Samrat Vikramaditya Sangeet Alankaran Samman, 2006
Outstanding honours and awards
International Honours & Award
- Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu, Fourth Class of Prestigious Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu (Order of Gorkha Right Arm), one of the highest civil honours in Nepal, by the King of Nepal Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, 2001
- International Brandlaureate Personality Award from Malaysia, 2011
Lifetime achievement awards
Awards and nominations
Work with other singers
Udit Narayan carier started in 1980 and flourished during 90's. During the huge span of playback singing, other than the duet songs with notable female playback singers, Udit Narayan was fortunate to collaborate with playback singers from all generations. Udit Narayan debuted with legendry singer Mohammad Rafi and then got opportunity to share songs with Kishor Kumar, Amit Kumar, Suresh Wadkar, Mohammad Aziz and others during 80's. Most of his male duets are with Kumar Sanu & Abhijeet. Some of the selected and notable songs are as follows
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'They say I was born in Nepal, but that's completely false. I was born in a village called Baisi on the Supaul district of Bihar in 1955 at my maternal grandparents' home,' Udit had said in a recent interview with IANS.
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