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Usha Uthup (born 7 November 1947) is an Indian pop, filmi, jazz, and playback singer who sang songs in the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. "Darling", which she recorded with Rekha Bhardwaj for the film 7 Khoon Maaf, won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 2012.
|Birth name||Usha Vaidyanath Someshwar Sami|
|Also known as||Didi|
|Born||7 November 1947|
Bombay, Bombay State, India
(present day Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)
|Genres||Indian pop, Filmi, Jazz, Indian classical music, Western|
|Years active||1966 – present|
She also sang the title song for the show Sarabhai vs Sarabhai in its first season.
She studied at St. Agnes High School, Byculla. When she was in school she was thrown out of music class because she didn't fit in with a voice like hers. But her music teacher recognised that she had some music in her and would give her clappers or triangles to play. Even though she was not formally trained in music, she grew up in an atmosphere of music. Her parents used to listen to a wide range from Western classical to Hindustani and Carnatic including Kishori Amonkar and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan on radio and she used to join them. She used to enjoy listening to Radio Ceylon.
Her next door neighbour was S.M.A. Pathan, who was then the deputy commissioner of police. His daughter, Jamila, influenced Usha to learn Hindi and take up Indian classical music. This fusion approach helped her to pioneer her unique brand of Indian pop in the 1970s. She is married to Jani Chacko Uthup who is from Manarcaud Painumkal family of Kottayam, and was formerly married to the late Ramu. They have a daughter Anjali and a son Sunny, named after the song, "Sunny". She is presently a resident of Kolkata, West Bengal.
Her first public singing occurred when she was nine. Her sisters, who were already exploring a career in music, introduced her to Ameen Sayani, then the most popular radio announcer in India. Ameen Sayani gave her an opportunity to sing in the Ovaltine Music Hour of Radio Ceylon. She sang a number called "Mockingbird Hill". After that, several appearances followed through her teenage years.
Usha Uthup started her music career in Chennai in 1969, singing in a small nightclub called Nine Gems in the basement of the erstwhile Safire theatre complex on Mount Road, wearing a saree and leg callipers. Her performance was so well received that the owner of the nightclub asked her to stay on for a week. After her first night club gig, she began singing in Calcutta at night clubs such as "Trincas". She met her future husband Uthup in Trincas. At about the same time, she also sang at "Talk of the Town", now known as "Not Just Jazz by the Bay" in Bombay (now Mumbai). After Trincas, her next engagement took her to Delhi where she sang at the Oberoi hotels. By happenstance, a film crew belonging to Navketan unit and Dev Anand visited the nightclub and they offered her a chance to sing movie playback. As a result, she started her Bollywood career with Ivory-Merchant's Bombay Talkies (1970) in which she sang an English number under Shanker-Jaikishan and then Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Originally, she was supposed to sing Dum Maro Dum along with Asha Bhosle for Hare Rama Hare Krishna. However, as a result of internal politicking on the part of other singers, she lost that chance but ended up singing an English verse.
In 1968, she recorded covers of two pop songs in English, "Jambalaya" and The Kingston Trio's "Greenback Dollar", on an EP, Love Story, and "Scotch and Soda", another Kingston Trio song, which sold very well in the Indian market. She also spent some time in London during this early period. She was a frequent visitor to Vernon Corea's BBC office at the Langham in London and was interviewed on London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London. Usha visited Nairobi as part of an Indian festival. She was so popular that she was invited to stay on. Singing and quite often nationalistic songs in Swahili made her extremely popular and the then President Jomo Kenyatta made her an Honorary Citizen of Kenya. She sang the famous song "Malaika" ('Angel') with Fadhili Williams who was the original singer. She produced a record "Live in Nairobi" with a local band Fellini Five.
Uthup sang several songs in the 1970s and 1980s for music directors R. D. Burman and Bappi Lahiri. She also reprised some of R. D. Burman songs that were sung by others such as "Mehbooba Mehbooba" and "Dum Maro Dum" and popularised them to a distinct end.
Uthup also sang for a two-volume collection of children's rhymes "Karadi Rhymes", which are "Indian Rhymes for Indian Kids", brought out by Karadi Tales (www.karaditales.com). The rhymes reflect the Indian ethos through the Sa-re-ga-ma, mangoes, Indian rivers, the train experiences, Indian festivals, indigenous trees, Cricket, Indian foods like bhelpuri and sambhar, Indian attire like the dhoti, sari, bindi and bangles and even some folk tales. With each rhyme set to an Indian raga, and sung in her characteristic voice with a feisty tempo, Usha creates the atmosphere for children and, surprisingly, even adults to sing along and dance to the toe-tapping beats.
She appeared as a judge on a singing reality show Bharat Ki Shaan: Singing Star – Season 2 (2012), aired on DD National channel, along with Ismail Darbar. She is the judge in the Season 3 of the show as well. She also appeared as a chief guest for Marathi singing reality show . She entertained the audience with Marathi songs.
She is a stage performer and gave performances all over the world and is known for her lively stage presence. She has been felicitated with several awards over the years, some of which include Rajiv Gandhi Purashkar for National Integration for quality music, Mahila Shiromani Purashkar for international peace, and Channel [V] award for outstanding achievement. She appeared on the Kapil Sharma Show on 26 May 2019
She recorded her first album with Luis Banks for which she was paid Rs. 3500. Since then, she has recorded numerous albums. Usha's Hindi version of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough", titled "Chhupke Kaon Aya", can be found on the album Tom Middleton – The Trip (2004). A cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" is on another Tom Middleton album, Cosmosonica – Tom Middleton Presents Crazy Covers Vol. 1 (2005). She recorded a song called "Rhythm and Blues" with the Indian rock band Parikrama which appeared on Channel V on 23 April 2007. Uthup received a lot of recognition for having a unique voice that ranges between contralto and alto.()
She made a cameo appearance in the movie Bombay To Goa. In 2007, she appeared in Bow Barracks Forever directed by Anjun Dutt as herself. Again in 2007, she appeared in Hattrick music video as herself.
She appeared in disguise on Indian Idol 1 and 2. She was one of the co-judges of the 2007 and 2008 and Idea Star Singer Season V (2010).
She has a minor role in the 2010 Tamil movie Manmadan Ambu.
|1970||"Jogan Pritam Ki"||Devi||Laxmikant Pyarelal||Hindi|
|1971||"Hare Rama Hare Krishna"||Hare Rama Hare Krishna||R D Burman||Hindi|
|1974||"I am in love"||Kanyakumari||M B Sreenivasan||Malayalam|
|1974||"Love Is Just Around The Corner"||Chattakkari||G. Devarajan||Malayalam|
|1975||"Love is beautiful"||Melnaattu Marumagal||Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan||Tamil|
|1977||"Peethambara"||Siva Thandavum||M B Sreenivasan||Malayalam|
|1978||"Ek Do Cha Cha Cha"||Shalimar||R D Burman||Hindi|
|1978||"Where there is"||Randu Penkuttikal||M S Vishwanathan||Malayalam|
|1980||"Hari Om Hari"||Pyaara Dushman||Bappi Lahiri||Hindi|
|1980||"Doston Se Pyar Kiya"||Shaan||R D Burman||Hindi|
|1980||"Shaan Se..."||Shaan||R D Burman||Hindi|
|1981||"Tu Mujhe Jaan Se Bhi Pyara Hai"||Wardat||Bappi Lahiri||Hindi|
|1982||"Koi Yahan Aha Nache Nache"||Disco Dancer||Bappi Lahiri||Hindi|
|1984||"Oh my darling"||Oru Sumangaliyude Kadha||Herself||Malayalam|
|1990||"Naaka Bandi"||Naaka Bandi||Bappi Lahiri||Hindi|
|1991||"Uri Uri Baba"||Dushman Devta||Bappi Lahiri||Hindi|
|1991||"Vegam Vegam Pogum Pogum"||Anjali||Ilaiyaraaja||Tamil|
|1993||"Chalo Chalk"||Janam||S P Venkatesh||Malayalam|
|1994||"Njanee Rathriye"||Daivathinte Vikrithikal||L Vaidyanathan||Malayalam|
|1994||"Nanthyar Vilakkum"||Daivathinte Vikrithikal||Mohan Sithara||Malayalam|
|1995||"Jinka Ninja"||Kalamasseriyil Kalyaanayogam||Tomin Thankachari||Malayalam|
|1996||"Ladies college campusil"||Mazhayethum Munpe||R Anand||Malayalam|
|1997||"Daud"||Daud||A. R. Rahman||Hindi|
|1999||"Raja Ki Kahani"||Godmother||Vishal Bhardwaj||Hindi|
|2000||"Melam Lotto"||Rapid Action Force||sailesh||Malayalam|
|2000||"Manasilore"||Rapid Action Force||sailesh||Malayalam|
|2001||"Vande Mataram"||Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham||Jatin-Lalit, Sandesh Shandilya, Aadesh Shrivastav||Hindi|
|2003||"Kabhi Pa Liya Tho Kabhi Kho Diya"||Jogger's Park||Tabun||Hindi|
|2003||"Din Hai Na Ye Raat"||Bhoot||Salim-Sulaiman||Hindi|
|2006||"Vaave Makane"||Pothan Vava||Alex Paul||Malayalam|
|2007||"Wicket Bacha" (with Earl)||Hattrick||Pritam||Hindi|
|2007||"Teri Meri Merry Christmas"||Bow barracks Forever||Anjun Dutt||Hindi|
|2011||"Hai Ye Maya"||Don 2||Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy||Hindi|
|2011||"Viriyunnu"||Bombay March 12||Afzal Yusuf||Malayalam|
|2011||"Darling", "Doosri Darling" (with Rekha Bhardwaj)||7 Khoon Maaf (Filmfare Award for best playback singer)||Vishal Bhardwaj||Hindi|
|2012||"Ramba main Samba"||Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi||Jeet Ganguly||Hindi|
|2012||"Aami Shotti Bolchi"||Kahaani||Vishal–Shekhar||Hindi|
|2012||"Yeh Raat Mona Lisa"||Kaafiron Ki Namaaz||Advait Nemlekar||Hindi|
|2014||"Race gurram"||Race Gurram||S. Thaman||Telugu|
|2016||"Hoi Kiw/Chalo Chalo"||Rock On 2||Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy||Hindi|
|2016||"Dirty Picture"||Thikka||S. Thaman||Telugu|
|2019||"Empuraane"||Lucifer (film)||Deepak Dev||Malayalam|
In addition, she has also sung playback for the Bollywood movies Revolver Rani (2014), Dhol (2007), June R (2005), Joggers' Park (2003), Jajantaram Mamantaram (2003), Ek Tha Raja (1996), Dushman Devta (1991), Bhavani Junction (1985), Hum Paanch (1980), and Purab Aur Paschim (1970) among others. She has also sung two English songs "We have got" and "How can I tell you" in the 1977 Kannada film Sangharsha.
|1973||Bombay to Goa||Hindi|
|2006||Pothan Vava||Kurisuveettil Mariamma||Malayalam|
|2007||Bow Barracks Forever'||Herself||English|
|2011||7 Khoon Maaf||Maggie Aunty||Hindi|
|Keymon Ache & Nani in Space||Nani (voice role)||Hindi|
|2015||X: Past Is Present||Mrs. Baker||Hindi|
|2016||Rock On 2||Herself (cameo)||Hindi|
|2019||If Not for You (2019)||Herself||English|
|2012||Bharat Ki Shaan: Singing Star – Season 2||Doordarshan||Hindi|
|Gaurav Maharashtracha||ETV Marathi||Marathi|
|Kuyil patu||Kalaignar TV||Tamil|
|2013||Bharat Ki Shaan: Singing Star – Season 3||Doordarshan||Hindi|
|2015||The Voice (Indian TV series)||Guest||&TV||Hindi|
|2016||Phir asar gaan||Judge||Star Jalsha||Bengali|
|Onnum Onnum Moonu||Guest||Mazhavil Manorama||Malayalam|
|2018||Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala||Herself||Star Plus||Hindi|
|2019||The Kapil Sharma Show||Guest||Sony TV||Hindi|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|1979||Filmfare Awards||Best Female Playback Singer||"One Two Cha Cha Cha"||Shalimar||Nominated|||
|1981||"Hari Om Hari"||Pyara Dushman||Nominated|
|2011||"Darling"||7 Khoon Maaf||Won|
|2012||IIFA Awards||Best Female Playback Singer||"Darling"||7 Khoon Maaf||Nominated|
|2012||Screen Awards||Best Female Playback Singer||Nominated|
|2012||Mirchi Music Awards||Female Vocalist of The Year||Nominated|||
|2017||Lifetime Achievement Award||N/A||N/A||Won|
|2006||Asianet Film Awards||Best Character actress||N/A||Pothan Vava||Nominated|
|1999||Kalakar Awards||Best Audio Album (Bangla)||"Darling"||N/A||Won|
|2002||Chai Silpir Samman||N/A||Won|
|2004||Best Playback Singer for the film||"Kabhi Pa Liya To Kabhi Kho Diya"||Joggers Park||Won|
|2013||"Ramba Mein Samba"||Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi||Won|
- Bose, Devaki (15 November 2008). "Original diva of Indi-pop". The Tribune. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "I'm thrilled beyond comprehension: Usha Uthup". The Times of India. 26 January 2011. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011.
- "Usha Uthup". Last.fm.
- "It's Great To Be Me: Usha Uthup". India Today. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Profile: My bad girl voice". Tehelka. Vol. 8 no. 8. 26 February 2011.
- "Midnight's Children". Hindustan Times. 14 August 2012. Archived from the original on 15 August 2012.
- Kumar, Anuj (4 December 2003). "Tea, croissants and Usha Uthup". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2 January 2004.
- Dcosta, Melissa; Solani, Dhvani (11 August 2010). "It's a full circle for Usha Uthup". Mid Day.
- Rajendra, Ranjani (30 May 2019). "There's magic about Madras: Usha Uthup". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
- Suganth, M. (2 February 2011). "Padma Shri is icing on cake for Usha Uthup". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 17 September 2011.
- Frank, Naveen (18 February 2006). "'I am completely a people's person...' – Usha Uthup". Daijiworld. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- Nadadhur, Srivathsan (14 September 2015). "Usha Uthup wears dignity in her tone". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
- "If Not for You (2019)". IMDb. 24 May 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
- World, Republic. "Usha Uthup Quiz: Find out how well you know the 'Darling' singer on her birthday". Republic World. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
- "Before Darrrling, Usha Uthup sang these hit songs!". Rediff.com Movies. 17 February 2011.
- "Nick's Keymon Ache to make its theatrical debut on 9 November". indiantelevision.com. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- "Usha Uthup, Girish Kasaravalli to get Padma Shri". TopNews.in. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
- "Filmfare Awards" (PDF). Dhirad. 2006.
- "Nominations - Mirchi Music Award Hindi 2011". Radio Mirchi. 30 January 2013. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
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