The Classical Music Giants contribute to Hindi Cinema – III

I welcome all the readers to the third and final part of the series. We are discussing the contribution of classical vocalist and musicians to Hindi cinema. So far we took an overview about their contribution as composers and singers. I’ve covered some of the singers in the last part. This part will continue to talk about the singers mainly in the post 70s era.

So let’s go the list at once.



She was a classical singer, well known as the Thumri queen. She was trained by Ustad Bhurji Khan, from the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. Later she also learnt from Ustad Ghamman Khan and Ustad Natthan khan. She is also popular for her Ghazals and Bhavgeet in Marathi, the latter being a form of light music. She was influenced by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan & Begum Akhtar.
Her full throated, slightly husky and thick voice had its own charm. She was offered playback in Hindi & Marathi films. She performed in concerts all over the world, including various capital cities abroad. She received a number of prestigious awards. Her Album with Mehdi Hasan in 1992 also received appreciation. She also sang for albums with her son, Trilok and were popular too. The fusion of Indian classical with western music was very much appreciated.
Coming to her Hindi film playback career, I think she was chosen by Naushad for Pakeezah when he was appointed for background score. The songs were played in the background to create an ambience. Later she sang for S D Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Shankar Jaikishan and many other composers like Sapan Jagmohan, Hemant Bhosle, Shiv Hari.

To choose from her songs,

Saiyan Ruth Gaye – Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978) / Laxmikant Pyarelal – Anand Bakshi
She was nominated at the Filmfare Awards for Best female playback singer. The song is a credits song, the titles run with it. A beautiful Mujra song, rendered excellently.

Nathaniya Ne Hay Ram – Sajjo Rani (1976) / Sapan Jagmohan – Jaan Nisar Akhtar
A good Mujra. The film had another couple of songs by Shobha Gurtu.


Hira devi

I couldn’t get much about her. She was a popular thumri singer from Banaras. She took her initial training under Pt Sarju Prasad Mishra and later under Ustad Ata Khan of Patiala Gharana. She sang for Jaidev, a very impressive song. The tune, the lyrics and the voice remain for a long time in our minds. Can’t be forgotten easily.

Ras Ke Bhare Tore Nain – Gaman (1978) / Jaidev
It’s an experience to listen to the song. It urged me to watch for her other songs. What excellent expressions, and very well supported by sarangi, tabla and flute.


Parveen sultana

She is Hindustani classical singer of the Patiala Gharana, famous for Khyal, Thumri and devotional songs. Her first Guru was her father and grandfather. But later she was trained by Pandit Chinmoy Lahiri and her husband Dilshad Khan. She has sung for Hindi films from the 1970s and made a mark there too. I think, she sang for films for the first time for Pakeezah. The song was, Kaun Gali Gayo Shyam. It was used by Naushad for creating ambience of Kothas in the movie. Later she sang for Parwana, Do Boond Pani, Razia Sultan, Sharda (1981), Anmol, Gadar Ek Prem Katha, and recently for the movie, 1920.
She was awarded Filmfare Best Female Playback Singer for Kudrat.

Humen Tum Se Pyar Kitna – Kudrat (1981) / R D Burman – Majrooh
No need to say anything about it. She is remembered always for the song.

Pital Ki Meri Gagari – Do Boond Pani (1972) with Minu Purushottam / Jaidev – Kaifi Azmi
The song is one of my all time favourites. It has featured on my Kaifi Azmi list, and will definitely feature again on my Jaidev list. Begum ji has captured the exact mood of the folk based song.



He is a classical vocalist of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana, now in his late 80s. He got music as an inheritance. His first Gurus were his parents, and later he was trained by Ustad Fida Hussain Khan and Nissar Hussain Khan. That’s why there is a blend of different Gharanas in his singing.
He lent his voice for Hindi films for the first time in Bhuvan Shome by Mrinal Sen. He again sang for Vijay Raghav Rao (who was the composer for Bhuvan Shome) in Badnam Basti in 1972. After nearly a decade, he was called for ‘Umrao Jan’ by Khayyam. And the songs were phenomenal. In 1992, he again sang for Rishi Kapoor starrer, Shreeman Aashique. Recently he sang for the film, 31st October in 2016. Meanwhile in 1998, he composed for a Hindi film, Aagaman.
He has also sung for Marathi and Gujarati films.
Ustadji has been teaching music for decades, and the list of his disciples includes some of the biggest names like Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt, Manna Dey, Hariharan, Shaan, Sonu Nigam, A.R. Rahman, Alisha Chinoy, Sagrika.

Coming to his Hindi film songs, I will choose,

Pratham Dhar Dhyan – Umrao Jaan (1981) / Khayyam – Shaharyar
I think, this is an obvious choice. A guru teaching his disciples. Well supported by the co-singers.

Maula Maula – 31st October (2016) with Vijay Verma / Vijay Verma – Moazm Azim
See his energy and his pronunciation even at the age of 80+. Hats off Ustadji!


arati ankalikar

Accomplished classical vocalist of Agra Gwalior Gharana, she is a disciple of Pandit Vasantrao Kulkarni, and later was trained under Kishori Amonkar. She is active mainly in Marathi and Hindi songs. She has received two National Film Awards for best female playback singing, first for a Konkani film, Antarnaad. And the second for a Marathi film, संहिता (The script).
She was the main playback singer for Shyam Benegal’s Sardari Begum.
She also sang for Dil Dosti etc in 2007.
My choice would be

Ghire Ghir Aayi Badariya – Sardari Begum (1998) / Vanraj Bhatia – Javed Akhtar
Aarti Ankalikar is remembered for her excellent rendition in the songs is Sardari Begum. If you listen to it, you can’t agree more.


sanjeev abhyankar

He is a young classical vocalist of the Mewati Gharana. His talent was spotted by his parents and they started his formal training with his mother, Dr Shobha Abhyankar and later with Pandit Gangadhar Bua Pimpalkhare. After he was old enough, he took training from Pandit Jasraj ji. He impressed the stalwarts by his performance at the age of 11 and all encouraged him to move ahead with his passion. He now has become an inspiration for the younger generation to take up Indian Classical music as their career. In general, the classical singers tend to have a heavy voice, but Sanjeev’s voice is soft yet powerful. His Marathi Bhajans soothe your mind and touch the soul. His clear pronunciation and excellent rendition can be easily appreciated in the songs, I have selected for the post.
Sang for Vishal Bhardwaj, firstly in Maachis (1996), where he lent voice for Alaaps in the song, ‘Tum Gaye Sab Gaya’. He won the National Film Award for Best Male playback singer for the song, ‘Suno Re Suno Re’ from the movie, Godmother (1999) under composer Vishal Bhardwaj. The song is surprisingly absent on YouTube.
And later he sang for him in ‘Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar’, Maqbool (2004). He also sang for, Dashavtar, and Bansars (2006).

I would choose,

Lai Ja Re Badra – Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar (2000) / Vishal Bhardwaj – Abbas Tyrewala

Ret Udave Re Naina Rukhe – Maqbool (2004) / Vishal Bhardwaj – Gulzar


devki pandit

She was born in a musical family, where classical music was there from her maternal side. No wonder her earlier years saw her training under her mother, Usha Pandit. Later she took tutelage of Kishori amonkar & Jitendra abhisheki. She is mainly associated with the Agra Gharana. She is fully dedicated to music and her commitment to music id unshakable. She has sung for a number of devotional & spiritual songs in Marathi and other languages. There is a thehrav in her voice that offers a feeling of relaxation and calm. She also is popular for the title tracks of Marathi daily soaps, which are still popular in Maharashtrian household. I am a fan of her voice.
She started her career in Hindi films in the late 80s for an obscure film. In the 1990s, though she sang for Parampara & Darr in 1993 (both under Yash Raj Banner & for composer dou Shiv-Hari), I think ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’ that was released in 1994 was one of her first popular Hindi films. She was a part of Quadruple song in Darr and couldn’t create a mark of her own and Parampara was a flop and songs were not much talked about.
Later she sang for a few films, like Gopalaa (1994), Ikke Pe Ikka (1994), Paandav (1995), Guddu (1995), Daayara (1996), Betabi (1997), Saaz (1998), Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns (2013). The songs from ‘Saaz’ were very much popular and still continue to be. A couple of songs from ‘Guddu’ were popular too, but Nasuhad could not create the same magic with his songs. The film also could not perform well at the box office, so the songs disappeared in the dark.
She couldn’t get much opportunity in Hindi films. The song from ‘Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster Returns’ is a good song, but such films never promote songs vigorously. So they don’t reach the audience in a proper way. But she was a part of successful Hindi music albums in later part of her career.

Let me choose now,

Woh To Hai Albela – Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na (1994) with Kumar Sanu / Jatin Lalit – Majrooh
She sang for Shah Rukh’s mother and sister’s character in the film and the song appears at a crucial situation in the film and manages to be memorable. If you know the plot of the film, the song’s significance is evident.

Phir Bhor Bhayi Jaga Madhuban – Saaz (1998) / Zakir Hussain – Javed Akhtar
The song has appeared already in the series in the first part, but I like it so much so that I won’t mind repeating it.

Daddy Se Puchhunga – Guddu (1995) with Kumar Sanu / Naushad – Majrooh
Though the film was full of stars in majority of the departments, Naushad’s attempts to revive the magic failed. But I remember, the song was very popular and used to feature in one of the first five positions on countdown shows.


Shubha Mudgal

She is Hindustani classical singer, known for Khyal, Thumri and Dadra. She is also acclaimed as a pop singer and her albums experimenting with fusion of Indian classical & Pop are hugely popular.
Her parents had a deep interest in classical music and Kathak. Shubha was sent to Kathak classes, but later chose Indian classical music as her career. She was trained under Ramashreya Jha and later Pandit Vinay Chandra Maudagalya. She was his disciple and later daugher in law as well.
She sang for a number of films and had many hits down the line. It was a difficult task to choose, but finally,
Piya Tora Kaisa Abhimaan – Raincoat (2004) / Debjyoti Mishra – Gulzar
She received limelight for the songs and the songs are now considered classics.

Bolu Main Maula Ali Ali – Nazar (2005) / Anu Malik – Shakeel Azmi
The film was talked about for many other things, but for me the most memorable was this song by Shubha Mudgal.



He was a classical vocalist of Sikar Gharana and a Sarangi Player. He started his career at Rajkot radio station, but later joined Mumbai station. His disciples, Vishal Bhardwaj, Sandesh Shandilya are popular composers of Bollywood.
His first Bollywood playback was for Vikram Gokhale, who played a classical vocalist in the movie, ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’. The song and the film were immensely popular. Later he sang for, Kachhe Dhage, Rahul, Agnivarsha, Gangajal, Maqbool, Big Brother etc. His Hindi song albums, ‘Piya Basanti’ & ‘UStad & the Divas’ were also popular. He sang for a few other albums too. He performed with eminent musical personalities in India and abroad, he was also associated with Hollywood projects.
I chose,

Albela Sajan aayo Ri – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) with Shankar Mahadev & Kavita Krishnamurthy / Ismail Darbar – Traditional Lyrics
A song still popular, now even after twenty years. Ustad sahab sounded so much like Vikram Gokhale that when I heard it for the first time, I felt it to be his own voice.

Ae Kash Aisa Na Hota – Rahul (2001) / Anu Malik – Anand Bakshi
A song that touches the soul and overwhelms the mind. Feelings of a kid, who’s fade up of the arguments of his parents and now regrets his existence.


ajoy chakrborty

He is classical vocalist and learnt music from his father in his early days. He is known for Khyal, Tappa, Thumri and folk music. He won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 1989 for a Bengali Film. His Daughter, Kaushiki continues his legacy and she is a renowned classical singer too.

He sang for Hindi films, in Gadar, Ek Prem Katha and Taj Mahal, An eternal Love Story.

Aan Milo Sajna Re – Gadar Ek Prem Katha (1998) with Begum Parveen Sulatana / Uttam Singh – Anand Bakshi
A song that was famous and deservingly continues to be.


Rashid Khan

He is a classical vocalist of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana. He is Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s nephew, and it was the former who noticed the musical talents in the boy and trained him as well. But his main education was with Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan. He is considered as master of tarana. He is also known for his experimentation with fusion of Sufi and Inidan music. And he also performs Jugalbandis with other musicians.
His entry in Hindi film happened with the movie, ‘Kisna’ which was composed by Ismail Darbar. His best known song is perhaps from ‘Jab We Met’, though he continued working as a singer and composer for Hindi films.

I would choose,

Aaoge Jab Tum Sajna – Jab We Met (2007) / Sandesh Shandilya – Irshad Kamil
It was the first time that I came across his mesmerizing voice. And no wonder, the song was equally popular with the other songs of the movie.

Sakhi Ri – Vodka Diaries (2018) with Rekha Bhardwaj / Sandesh Shandilya – Alok Shrivastav
Another masterpiece by the singers. The film ran unattended, but the song sprang up, while researching for the post.


Shubha joshi

She is a popular classical singer, who is a disciple of Pandit Pandurang Ambekar of Bhendi Bazar Gharana. After her post graduation in music, she learnt Thumri and Dadra from Shobha Gurtu. Ustad Taj Ahmed Khan gave her lessons to enrich her knowledge in Ghazal singing.
She has sung for a number of Hindi movies, but is still remembered for the songs of Sardari Begum.
She also performs at the सवाई गंधर्व महोत्सव and other concerts. Her Ghazal programs are also popular. She also sings Marathi films and भावगीत, भक्तिगीत.
There was a lot of confusion between classical singer Shubha Joshi and playback singer Shobha Joshi. The latter has sung ‘Kagaz Kalam Davaat’ from Hum.
Internet credits some songs to both the singers.

I’ll choose,

Sanwariya Dekh Zara – Sardari Begum (1996) / Vanraj Bhatia – Javed Akhtar
Iddan bai (Surekha Sikri-Rege) recites the song to Amrish Puri. What a beautiful composition! Shubha ji received appreciation for the song.

Raah Mein Bichhi Hai Palke – Sardari Begum (1996) with Aarti Ankalikar / Vanraj Bhatia – Javed Akhtar
Another gem from the same film. It’s a stage performance by Kirron Kher and Rajeshwari. Both of them complement each other excellently.



He is a renowned classical singer, famous for Khyal gayaki. He is a disciple of Pandit Kumar Gandharv. He had performed in various music concerts and festivals.

In Hindi films, he sang for a couple of films. Incidentally both the songs are duets with Asha Bhosle. In the film, ‘Lekin’ his contribution was the fantastic aalaps in the song, ‘Joothe Naina Bole’.

And, the other song is,
Man Anand Anand Chhayo – Vijeta (1983) with Asha Bhosle / Ajit Verman – Vasant Dev



She is Ajoy Chakraborty’s daughter, and is a well known classical singer. Her forte is Khyal and Thumri singing.

She received training from her father and Jnan Prakash Ghosh. She also sings other musical forms including western music.
She has sung for Gulabi Gang (2014), Mirzya (2016).

I have chosen a song from,

Kaga Re Kaga – Mirzya (2016) / Shankar Ehsaan Loy – Gulzar
A beautiful song, excellent composition.

Before I end this series, I’ll mention some of the classical singers. Hirabai Badodekaren has acted and sung in a few Hindi films, but I couldn’t find the songs. So I didn’t include her name.
I particularly enjoyed the third part, because barring a few well known songs from the 90s, I had never listened to other songs with attention. And each and every song was a precious gem.
If I have missed any singer, readers are welcome to add the information.

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners.

15 Replies to “The Classical Music Giants contribute to Hindi Cinema – III”

  1. Anup ji,
    A very thorough compilation! I don’t think you have missed any major contributor’s names.
    Well researched and well presented and
    Bharat Ratna M S Subbulakshmi could have been included in the post . She was the singing star of MEERA,1947.


    1. Thanks for the appreciation Pradeepji!
      M S Subbulakshmi can be regarded as a singer actress. I was mainly focusing on playback singers. So I didn’y include her name. Actually in the concluding remarks of the third post, I mentioned about Hirabai Badodekar, who also has been singer actress for a few films. So I should add M S Subbulakshmi’s name to that list.
      Thanks for adding her name. I couldn’t recollect it.


  2. Hame tumse pyaar kitna song has Aruna iraini – never thought of or known before
    I thought it was sung in movie by some top star as it’s sch a popular song !!
    Anyways nice songs 👌🏻👏🏻


  3. Anup,
    I don’t know that you had a third part up your sleeve. This is excellent, and contains many singers I didn’t know who sang for films. There is something eternal about pure classical songs, and these songs prove that musically-minded producers and directors can always find opportunity for such songs.


    1. Thanks AKji for the appreciation.
      And , I agree with you, the classical based songs have a charm and magic of their own. They have a special character!
      Those sensitive producers -directors have always included such songs in the film.


  4. Shambhu Sen, son of Jamal Sen, was a maverick…a dancer, singer, lyricist, composer and instrumentalist, has given music to two Hindi movies ( MRIG THRISHNA,1975 and BANNO,1987) and half a dozen Rajasthani movies.
    MRIG THRISHNA has the lovely Rafi song Nava kalpana nava roop se rachna rachi jab naar ne ,a few good songs by Lata and one by Asha. Interestingly, the movie has a Mehdi Hassan song, Aas ka bandhan jhootha, probably his only song in a released Hindi movie. Much later,in 1991 he recorded a duet with his disciple Talat Aziz for DHUN under LP. But the movie was not released.


    1. Thanks a lot Pradeepji!
      Thanks for adding one more to the list of composers. Already I’m going to add, Pannalal Ghosh & Ghulam Mustafa Khan to the list of composers in first part of the series. This would be the third composer to add.
      I was aware of the ‘Mrig Trishna’ song, but didn’t know about Shambhu Sen in details.
      You have been really kind to add his name to the list. Do you have some more details about him?

      Let me add the Rafi song, Nav Kalpana Nav Roop Se


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rekha's Sousaphone

"Geet, beet, bazao baajaa!"


The spice of life

Evergreen Indian film music

Great film music and great music directors

Conversations Over Chai

A Journey Through Golden Era Of Hindi Film Music

Songs Of Yore

A Journey Through Golden Era Of Hindi Film Music

%d bloggers like this: