Udit Narayan Jha (born 1 December 1955) is an Indian playback singer whose songs have been featured mainly in Hindi films. He has also sung in various other languages including Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Bengali, Odia, Bhojpuri, Nepali, Malayalam, Assamese, Bagheli and Maithili. He has won four National Film Awards and five Filmfare Awards with twenty nominations among many others. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016 for his contribution towards arts and culture. As many as 21 of his tracks feature in BBC's "Top 40 Bollywood Soundtracks of all time".
Udit Narayan Jha
1 December 1955
|Alma mater||Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Tribhuvan University|
He got to sing with Mohammed Rafi in his Hindi playback debut in Unees-Bees in 1980 and also with Kishore Kumar in the 1980s. He finally made his mark in the 1988 film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla, his song "Papa Kehte Hain" was his notable performance which earned him his first Filmfare Award in the 1980s and he established himself in Bollywood Playback Singing. The soundtrack became one of the highest selling albums in the 1980s. The soundtrack was a breakthrough for the careers of Anand–Milind, as well as T-Series, one of India's leading record labels. after which he was one of the favourites of music directors. In the 1990s he sung for a thousands of songs including Hindi and Nepali languages.
Recognising his contribution,the King of Nepal Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev honoured him with the Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu in 2001 after his contribution to Indian cinema and music, and Chitragupta Cineyatra Samman 2015 for his contribution towards Bhojpuri cinema. 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 Jha was born on 1 December 1955 in an ethnic Maithil Brahmin family to Harekrishna Jha, a Nepalese national, and Bhuvaneshwari Jha, an Indian national. In 2009, when Narayan was awarded India's fourth highest 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 in Bihar at his maternal grandparents' home near the India-Nepal border. 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 (present-day Madhesh Province), Nepal on the border with India. 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 of Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal. His father Harekrishna Jha was a farmer and his mother Bhuvneshwari Devi was a folk singer who encouraged his career.
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 Gahatraj. He began his relationship with Deepa Gahatraj while he was still married to Ranjana Narayan. Narayan and Deepa were married in 1985. With Deepa Gahatraj, he has one son, Aditya Narayan, who is also a playback singer.
Narayan is one of the most prominent singers of Bollywood throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. He has been the on-screen singing voice for various Bollywood stars. He has sung for Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dev Anand, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn. 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.[unreliable source?] 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 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 films, 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 Bollywood film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, with Alka Yagnik, which earned him a Filmfare Award. In a 2014 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 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.com 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 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.
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 did not work and, considering old films in 1973, Narayan sang a song for a Nepali film called Sindoor. This was a comedy song for the 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 2010, Narayan with Madhushree sang for the English independent film When Harry Tries to Marry.
Narayan also sang the title song for the TV show Yeh Duniyan Gazab Ki, with Kumar Sanu. In 2015 he was involved in a mega series campaign Melancholy, where 421 Nepali artists had sung a 33 minutes 49-second long environmental song, in which 365 artists set a Guinness World Record on 19 May 2016 at Radio Nepal Studio, Singhadurbar, Kathamandu. It is written, 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
Udit Narayan Jha acted in and sang all the songs in a 1985 Nepali film called Kusume Rumal which is one of the All Time Classics in Nepali film industry starring himself with Bhuwan K.C. and Tripti Nadakar, which spent 25 weeks on the box office top ten list and became the highest-grossing Nepalese film of all time until overtaken in 2001 by another Tulsi Ghimire film, Darpan Chaya.
Work with other singers
Udit Narayan career 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 legendary singer Mohammad Rafi and then got opportunity to share songs with Kishore 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
Awards and nominations
Jury member of awards
In 2012, Narayan was 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.
- Prabal Gorkha Dakshina 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
- 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
- Dr. Ambedkar Awards in Mumbai, 2015
- Awarded for his exceptional performance Bhojpuri industry, 2015
- Received BIFA awards, 2015
- 1st, Chitragupta Cineyatra Film Award, 2015
- 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
- Big Entertainment Award 2017 Udit Narayan won the 92.7FM Suhana Safar Legend Award
- Mirchi Music Awards 2016 Jury Special Salute
International honours and awards
- International Brandlaureate Personality Award from Malaysia, 2011
Lifetime achievement awards
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