A couple of weeks back, I published a post about a forgotten singer, Kamal Barot. While I was planning for that post, I accidentally came across the date of birth of Sudha Malhotra, 30th November. I went through a couple of her interviews, but she didn’t mention it. But as I was planning a post on her songs for long, I decided to go for it, let it be her actual birthday or not.
Today’s let’s have a look at the career of this beautiful and charming lady, who was once a popular playback singer.
Sudha Malhotra was born in Delhi in 1936, though she was brought up in Lahore. But it was in Lahore itself that the little girl showed her zeal for music. At a very tender age of 6 she sang for a charity show, where Master Ghulam Haider noticed her spark. He predicted about her bright future in singing. She also sang for All India Radio Lahore.
After the partition the family shifted to Delhi. But later they relocated to Bhopal. She joined formal training in singing.
It’s worth noting that even though Aarzoo (1950) is popularly taken as her debut, she actually had sung for the movie, ‘The Last Message’ alias Akhri Paigham (1949). But it wasn’t a popular movie and the songs were unnoticed. The composers were Abid Hussain Khan and Sushant Bannerjee. A couple of songs are available on YouTube, and her duet with Umadevi is good.
So the film Akhri Paigham (1949) should be taken as her debut. I want to thank Arunkumar Deshmukh for confirming the information.
But her first noticed and popular song was from Aarzoo that was released in 1950. According to her interview, she was in Bombay (now Mumbai) for a summer vacation with her maternal grandparents, when Anil Biswas heard her. He was impressed with the performance of the girl, who was still in her early teens. He offered her a song that was picturised on a newcomer.
Mila Gaye Nain – Aarzoo (1950) / Anil Biswas – Majrooh
Very young Shashikala is lip syncing to a very young Sudha’s voice. Though the latter was very young, her expressions are apt. We can make out the voice as that of a girl and not a lady’s.
The song was popular and she mentioned in the interview that she went back to Bhopal to continue the studies. But offers were coming her way and she used to travel to Mumbai for the recording.
Sudha Malhotra has not mentioned in the interviews about her moving to Mumbai as a full-time playback singer. But it could be around 1956-57 because she has sung for a lot of films during that period.
And it’s quite notable that a number of composers offered her solos right from the beginning. Her earlier associations include Ghulam Mohammed, N Datta, Dattaram. She sang solos, duets as well as trios with a number of popular playback singers.
Let’s have a look at some of her songs in the 1950s.
Mohabbat Ki Dhun Beqararon Se Puchho – Dil e Nadaan (1953) with Talat and Jagjit Kaur / Ghulam Mohammed – Shakeel Badayuni
A beautiful piano based song, that is counted among her most popular songs. The film perhaps revolves around a love triangle. While she sang this well known and popular trio, she was also offered a solo which was also picturised on beautiful looking Shyama.
Aawaz De Raha Hai Koi – Gauhar (1953) / Ghulam Mohammed – Shakeel Badayuni
Ghulam Mohammed was one of the composers, who offered her a good number of songs in the early phase of her career. She has three solos and a duet to her credit in the film, Gauhar. She has sung this poignant song with apt expressions, though she was still very young. Such a soulful song!
Ghir Ghir Chhayi Mast Ghataaen – Naata (1955) with Lata Mangeshkar / S Mohinder – Tanveer Naqvi
She has sung a number of duets with Mangeshkar sisters. The song is picturised on Madhubala and her sister Chanchal. What a soothing melody, still such a catchy rhythm. The song has a touch of Punjabi folk to it, or so it seems to me. Both the singers have done a great job.
Ruk Ja Ruk Ja – Chagez Khan (1957) / Hansraj Behl – Prem Dhawan
While the film is well known for Lata’s songs, this cute song was offered to Sudha Malhotra. Even though it’s not as popular as the other songs of the movie, it’s definitely one of Sudha’s best songs. Her sweet voice does complete justice to the song.
Peepal Tale Ghar Mera – Jeevan Saathi (1957) with Manna Dey / Bulo C Rani – D N Madhok
In the absence of the video, I guessed that it could be a stage dance performance or a folk based song of farmers. A good song.
Darshan Do Ghanshyam – Narsi Bhagat (1957) with Hemant Kumar and Manna Dey / Ravi – G S Nepali
One of my favourite bhajans. It’s just so soothing! Sudha Malhotra sings with Hemant Kumar and sings it very well. I think the mukhda of the song has been adapted from a traditional bhajan.
Kaun Rang Mungwa Kawan Rang Motiya – Heera Moti (1959) with Suman Kalyanpur / Roshan – Prem Dhawan
What a sweet and soothing song! Bhabhi and Nanad are playfully teasing each other. I couldn’t understand the exact meaning of a few words. I request knowledgeable readers to help me understand it. But it’s a gem really.
Main Padh Rahi Hoon – Captain India (1960) with Talat / Hemant Kedar – Rajaram Saki
A romantic song from a B grade movie. But it’s very melodious and sweet.
Na Main Dhan Chahoon – Kala Bazar (1960) with Asha Bhosle / S D Burman – Shailendra
It’s one of the popular bhajans, Sudha Malhotra sang for Hindi films. Sudha Malhotra sang for Nanda who was in a supporting role. Devotional songs sound very apt for Sudha Malhotra. She sings devotional songs and Bhajans with equal dedication.
Meanwhile she also sang for child artists and her voice was very much suitable. Her tender and expressive voice was really a perfect choice for a child. In addition to the couple of songs that I’ve added, her song with Rafi from Love in Simla is my favourite too.
Malik Tere Jahan Mein – Ab Dilli Door Nahin (1957) / Dattaram – Shailendra
She was offered a couple of songs for the child artist Romi. Both the songs were popular and nearly got her typecast for children’s playback.
Aankhon Pe Bharosa Mat Kar – Detective (1958) with Rafi / Mukul Roy – Shailendra
A good song with meaningful lyrics. Sudha Malhotra sings for the little cute Daisy Irani. It’s picturised in an interesting way on a boat.
There came a turning point in her career, which is said to have an impact on her professional and personal life as well. She sang for N Datta for the film Bhai Behen, which was perhaps her first film with the lyricist, Sahir. It is said that they also shared a personal relationship, in addition to professional. She also mentioned in the interviews that Sahir used to recommend her name for playback.
Mere Nadeem Mere Humsafar – Bhai Behen (1959) / N Datta – Sahir
Sudha Malhotra sang a couple of songs. One of the songs is picturised on Daisy Irani. I’m adding the other one here. As I said already, it was perhaps her first association with Sahir. A very good song of optimism and inspiration.
Kase Kahoon Man Ki Baat – Dhool Ka Phool (1959) / N Datta – Sahir
Sudha Malhotra again sang for a child’s playback, which was a duet with Mahendra Kapoor. But the other song was a dance performance by an unknown dancer. The latter resembles Baby Naaz, but I don’t think I’m right. A semi classical song rendered very nicely by Sudha Malhotra.
While N Datta was the original music director for the movie, Didi, he couldn’t compose one song due to health issues. Sudha Malhotra told in her interviews that Sahir encouraged her to compose the song herself. She tried and an immortal song was created.
Tum Mujhe Bhool Bhi Jao – Didi (1959) with Mukesh / Sudha Malhotra – Sahir
I think we can take this one as her most popular song, which was composed and sung by her. She rendered it later many times in mehfils as well. The tune is good and lyrically the song is very good. Very subtle orchestration, but singers have done an excellent job. Sudha’s expressions are fabulous. It was the only incident that she ever composed for a Hindi film.
It was now Roshan’s turn to offer her songs. She was a part of all the Qawwalis in Barsaat Ki Raat. While I love the most popular qawwali from the movie, I’m equally enchanted with ‘Nigahen Naaz Ke Maaron Ka Haal‘
Na To Karwan Ki & Ye Ishq Ishq Hai – Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) with Manna Dey, Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Batish & Chorus
Sudha Malhotra proudly mentions about this Qawwali being one of the best Qawwalis of Hindi cinema and very rightly so. She was a part of all the Qawwalis of the movie and her playback was for Ratna Bhushan. Her part is mainly remembered in the later half of the song. Indeed an amazingly wonderful qawwali.
She got married to Mr Giridhar Motwani sometime in the early 1960s and decided to accept a lesser number of songs. So she was heard comparatively less frequently in the 1960s. Nevertheless she had a few memorable songs in the period.
Kashti Ka Khamosh Safar Hai – Girlfriend (1961) with Kishore Kumar / Hemant Kumar – Sahir
Another masterpiece! It’s not only well written, but is set to tune in an interesting way. Both the singers sing it with apt expressions.
The girl is very shy and avoids eye contact with her beloved. But she later insists him to speak up, who’s beating about the bush. I am not aware of the picturisation of the song. But it must have been interesting. Sahir is usually remembered for his rebellious songs, but his soft and romantic side should also be appreciated.
Salam e Hasrat Qabool Karlo – Babar (1962) / Roshan – Sahir
Another of her popular songs. It’s picturised primarily on Shubha Khote, who lip syncs to the song. It is apparently addressed to Sulochana Chatterjee, who shyly listens to it. The song is mainly remembered for its lyrics, though it’s full of Urdu words. But Sudha Malhotra has sung it in an excellent way. It’s worth noting that she was the main singer for the movie.
Payam e Ishq Mohabbat – Babar (1960) / Roshan – Sahir
Sudha Malhotra also sang for the main lead, Sulochana Chatterjee. This song appears less popular than the one mentioned above. Perhaps because it’s full of heavy Urdu words and really difficult to decipher. The tune is quite similar to a song from the film Aarti, also by Roshan.
She continued her journey till the late 60s, but as she was accepting less offers, the number of popular songs were less.
She shared a trivia in her interview about the song, ‘Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein Khayal Aata Hai’. The song was originally recorded as a duet between Sudha Malhotra and Geeta Dutt by Khayyam for a film that was never completed and the song was never released. I tried searching for the song on YouTube without success. I couldn’t get the year of the recording. If anyone knows about it, please share the information.
It was after about a decade that Raj Kapoor approached her for a song from Prem Rog. He insisted for her voice and she finally agreed to sing after her husband welcomed the offer from Raj Kapoor.
Ye Pyar Tha Ya Kuchh Aur Tha – Prem Rog (1982) with Anwar / Laxmikant Pyarelal – Santosh Anand
A song that is picturised like a Mujra on Asha Sachdev. Sudha’s rendition is perfect. The male singer has a small part to sing at the end.
She has also sung a number of Bhajans that have been popular over the years. Her voice is suitable for bhajans and devotional songs. She puts apt expressions and dedication in these songs. Her soft, sweet and soothing voice makes us forget all our worries.
Shyam Piya Mori Rang De Chunaria – Sudha Malhotra / Lyrics – Meerabai
Really very well sung. She is really impressive in her Bhajans.
She also sang non-film songs, some of which have been popular. I’ll share a couple of songs.
Bahut Din Hue Tumko Dekha Nahi – Sudha Malhotra (non-film song) / Govind Prasad Jaipurwale – Ibrahim Ashq
Really wonderful lyrics and very expressive voice of Sudha Malhotra. A treat to ears.
Khwab Tha Ya Khayal Tha – Sudha Malhotra (non-film ghazal) / Lyrics – Musahafi Ghulam Hamdani
This ghazal is perhaps more popular than the one mentioned above. Again due to heavy Urdu, I had to look for its meaning on the internet.
And, though I know, the post is getting lengthier, I can’t end it without her Marathi songs.
Her भावगीत with popular Marathi singer Arun Date have been very popular and are still considered masterpieces. Let me add a couple of Marathi songs before I conclude.
शुक्रतारा मंद वारा – अरूण दाते आणि सुधा मल्होत्रा / श्रीनिवास खळे – मंगेश पाडगावकर
A song that has maintained its appeal for 50 years. It’s still considered a classic. A very romantic duet, sung with apt expressions. It’s noteworthy that in spite of being Punjabi her Marathi pronunciation is quite correct. The song talks about a couple on a romantic night. There’s a cool breeze, the moon and the stars accompany us. There’s a dreamy romantic song to sing, let’s be together. (Forgive me, can’t translate in more romantic words)
हात तुझा हातातून धुंद ही हवा – अरूण दाते आणि सुधा मल्होत्रा / श्रीनिवास खळे – मंगेश पाडगावकर
A similar romantic song. A couple on a romantic date in the evening. We’re together, holding hands. There’s romance in the air. The moon seems so fresh and brighter than usual! (Pardon again! My English vocabulary)
I wish Sudha Malhotra a very happy birthday & a long and healthy life.
Please add your favourite Sudha Malhotra song.
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 listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.
13 Replies to “Salam e Hasrat Qabool Kar Lo – Sudha Malhotra”
Sudha Malhotra has some great songs to her credit and you have done justice to the article about them.
I like this song from KAISE KAHOON, 1964.
ManMohan man mein ho tumhi..
With S D Batish and Rafi.
ManMohan Krishna gets to voice the words ManMohan…along with Nanda and Biswajeet.
If I’m not wrong, the female playback singer in the song is Suman Kalyanpur.
Perfect compilation of this great artist.
Thank you Rabindraji.
Lovely songs, Anupji, including two bhajans and a qawwali which are among my favourite songs of those genres. 🙂
And yes, I am quite sure the dancer in Dhool ka Phool is Naaz.
Thank you Madhuji. Glad you liked it.
And thanks for confirming the dancer in Dhool Ka Phool song.
LikeLiked by 1 person
You are going great guns! Another good post covering the best songs of Sudha Malhotra. ‘Ruk ja ruk ja’ is a discovery for me. A great song. In many songs she sounds like Ash Bhosle, even more indistinguishable than Suman Kalyanpur from Lata Mangeshkar. That might be a reason why she didn’t become mainstream singer.
Thank you AKji for your appreciation. The Changez Khan song was a discovery for me too. I heard it for the first time during the research.
“In many songs she sounds like Ash Bhosle, even more indistinguishable than Suman Kalyanpur from Lata Mangeshkar”
Yes, I agree. Actually I was going to mention it in the post, but forgot to add. It’s more pronounced in the later part of her career, say post 70s. Thanks for mentioning it.
An excellent post on Sudha Malhotra with a nice selection of her most popular as well as melodious songs.
Really appreciate your efforts on these much-needed posts on the second level singers of the golden era who unfortunately have been largely forgotten today.
While I heard a couple of songs for the first time, I am happy to see my favorite songs from Detective, Girl Friend and Babar.
And of course, the timeless evergreen Marathi bhav geet – Shukra tara mand vaara. I can never tire of listening to this classic.I
As already mentioned, it is not always easy to identify her voice.
When Prem Rog was released, I had just passed my SSC exams.
I remember I was curious to know the singer of Ye Pyar tha, as Lata had sung all the other songs and I couldn’t recognize this voice.
Here’s one of her duets with Asha Bhosle, which I really like..
More so, it is picturized on two legendary dancers – Cuckoo and Helen.
Hum tumhare hai zara ghar se nikal kar – Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi 1958
And a duet with Manna Dey
Chori chori mat dekho – Amar Singh Rathod 1957
Thank you for your kind words of appreciation.
Sudha Malhotra has so many popular and melodious songs to her credit. If she would have continued her singing after marriage, the story perhaps would have been different.
But we have her excellent Marathi songs as well to cherish. She is very good in nonfilm songs as well.
Thanks for adding the songs. Chalti Ka Naam Gadi was a part of female dance duets, so I preferred not to repeat it immediately.
I heard the song from Amar Singh Rathore for the first time and liked it a lot at once.
A very apt post that does full justice to the potential of Sudha Malhotra.
Whist, searching for her some more songs, I landed upon this version song
Interestingly, the comments to that clip also mentions a version song of Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil Dhadke (Madhumati, 1958) in Sudha Malhotra’s voice
That was quite interesting! Never knew Sudha Malhotra did sing these version songs. Thanks for adding the information Ashokji. And I did like the song, she has rendered it quite impressively.
yes, the comments do mention about the Madhumati song as aversion sung by Sudhaji. But unfortunately the links given in the comment are no longer active. The link shows an error.
Thanks a lot again for adding the song.