Veteran singer and Padma Bhushan recipient Vani Jayaram dies aged 77

Shortly before her death, she won India's third-highest civilian award

Vani Jayaram recorded more than 10,000 songs during her illustrious career. Photo: Twitter
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Veteran Indian singer Vani Jayaram, a recipient of India's prestigious Padma Bhushan civilian award, has died aged 77.

She passed away at her home in Chennai on Saturday.

Known for her work in the Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Telugu film industries, Jayaram also won the National Film Award for Best Playback Singer three times. She received the Padma Bhushan shortly before her death, on January 26, India's Republic Day.

Jayaram's illustrious career spanned more than 10,000 songs in more than 1,000 movies, including popular numbers such as Kelviyin Nayagane, Anathineeyara Hara and Bole Re Papihara.

She won the National Film Award for her work on Tamil movie Apoorva Raagangal (South Indian star Rajnikanth's debut film), and Telugu movies Sankarabharanam and Swathi Kiranam, as well as a Filmfare Award for the song Mere To Giridhar Gopal, from the Bollywood movie Meera.

Born in 1945 in Vellore, Jayaram began her film career in 1971 with the Bollywood movie Guddi starring Jaya Bachchan, although her first public performance was on All India Radio in erstwhile Madras, at the age of eight. She trained in Carnatic and Hindustani music, and was known for her vocal reach and depth.

She was most active in the Malayalam and Tamil industries, having recorded songs for both until 2019.

Notable composers that Jayaram worked with include AR Rahman, MS Ilaiyaraaja, RD Burman, KV Mahadevan and Pandit Ravi Shanker, while her songs were performed by actresses such as Hema Malini, KR Vijaya and Latha.

Updated: February 04, 2023, 11:28 AM