She was an Indian playback singer in South Indian cinema. She did playback for over one thousand Indian movies recording over 10,000 songs.
𝐄𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 & 𝐞𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧
Vani was born as Kalaivani in Vellore in Tamil Nadu, in a Tamil family of classically trained musicians as a fifth daughter in a family of six daughters and three sons. Her parents Duraisamy Iyengar–Padmavathi, trained under Ranga Ramunaja Iyengar, enrolled her into his classes where he taught her a few Muthuswami Dikshitar kritis. Later she was given a formal Carnatic training under the guidance of Kadalur Srinivas Iyengar, T. R. Balasubramanian and R. S. Mani.
Vani did her schooling at Lady Sivasamy High School, Chennai.She then graduated from the Queen Mary's College, Chennai.Post her studies, Vani was employed with the State Bank of India, Madras and later in 1967, she was transferred to the Hyderabad branch.
She was introduced to the composer Vasant Desai who was recording a Marathi album with singer Kumar Gandharva. Upon listening to her voice, Desai chose her to sing the song "Runanubandhacha" for the same album along with Kumar Gandharva. The album released to much popularity among the Marathi audience and the duet song was well received. She sang with veteran vocalist of Agra Charan Pt. Dinkar Kaikini in movie "Meera". The music was given by none other than Pt. Ravi Shankar.
In 1973, she recorded her first Tamil song for the film Thayum Seiyum under the music direction of S. M. Subbaiah Naidu.
Her first released song was a duet romantic song with T. M. Soundararajan for the film Veettukku Vandha Marumagal (1973). The song "Or Idam Unnidam" was composed by the duo Shankar–Ganesh, with whom, Vani went on to record maximum songs in Tamil cinema. Immediately after this, she was employed by one of the most successful director-composer duos, K. Balachander and M. S. Viswanathan, for their successful film Sollathaan Ninaikkiren for a solo song "Malarpol Sirippathu Pathinaaru".
Her biggest break came through the song "Malligai En Mannan Mayangum" from the film Dheerga Sumangali (1974), again composed by M. S. Viswanathan.
The year 1975 turned out to be the first most eventful year for Vani since she won her first National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the songs she rendered in the film Apoorva Raagangal. The songs "Ezhu Swarangalukkul" and "Kelviyin Nayagane" made her popularity soar to heights and she became known as the singer who would always get selected to sing difficult compositions.
In 1977, she first recorded her voice for Ilaiyaraaja's composition in the film Bhuvana Oru Kelvi Kuri. She won her first Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback for the song "Naane Naana" composed by Ilaiyaraaja for the film Azhage Unnai Aarathikkiren (1979). With Ilaiyaraaja, Vani went on to record many popular songs in the 1980s for the films such as Mullum Malarum (1978), Rosappo Ravikaikaari (1979), Anbulla Rajinikanth (1984), Nooravathu Naal (1984), Vaidehi Kathirunthal (1984), Oru Kaidhiyin Diary (1985) and Punnagai Mannan (1986). In 1994, composer A. R. Rahman recorded her voice for the film Vandicholai Chinraasu for a duet song with S. P. Balasubrahmanyam.
Vani's contribution towards Telugu cinema and devotional songs has been extensive and widespread. She recorded her first Telugu song for the film Abhimanavanthulu (1973). The song "Eppativalekaadura Naa Swami" composed by S. P. Kodandapani was a classical dance based song. Her songs for the film Pooja (1975) brought her to the forefront in Telugu cinema. The songs "Poojalu Cheya" and "Ennenno Janmala Bandham" became household hits and cemented her position.
Apart from K. V. Mahadevan, Vani recorded many Telugu songs for Rajan–Nagendra, Satyam, Chakravarthy, M. S. Viswanathan and Ilaiyaraaja. She recorded most of the dubbed songs from Tamil composed by Ilaiyaraaja.
Composed in Miyan Ki Malhar raag, the song showcased her classical prowess and subsequently fetching her many laurels and awards including the Tansen Samman (for best classical-based song in a Hindi film), the Lions International Best Promising Singer award, the All India Cinegoers Association award, and the All India Film-goers Association award for the Best Playback Singer in 1971. Her other song Humko Mann Ki Shakti Dena became a school prayer since the release of the song in 1971 and continues to be even now. She toured entire Maharashtra state accompanying her mentor, Desai, and taught many Marathi songs to school children.
The song "Mere To Giridhar Gopal" in Meera (1979), composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar, won her first Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer. She recorded as many as 12 bhajans for the film Meera which became highly popular.
Vani Jayaram made her Malayalam debut in 1973 by recording the solo song "Sourayudhathil Vidarnnoru" composed by Salil Chowdhary for the film Swapnam. The song became hugely popular giving a good credibility to Vani and gave her career a breakthrough. She went on to record over 600 songs in Malayalam cinema.
Title song "Marathe Marikurumbe" in the Film "Puli Murugan" rendered by Vani Jairam was short listed in 70 Songs which were considered eligible for Nomination to Oscar Award 2018, under the Category of "Original Song.
Music director Vijaya Bhaskar who worked with Vani in Tamil films introduced her to Kannada cinema in 1973 for the film Kesarina Kamala. She recorded two songs in the film which was immediately followed by her breakthrough song "Bhaavavemba Hoovu Arali" from the film Upasane (1974). This song cemented her position in Kannada films which lasted for three decades.
The combination of Puttanna Kanagal (director) - Vijaya Bhaskar - Vani Jayaram produced many popular songs backed by strong female-centric themes. She modulated her voice and accent for the song "Happiest Moment" from the film Bili Hendthi.
Besides Hindi and South Indian languages, Vani Jairam has made recordings in Gujarati, Marathi, Marwari, Haryanvi, Bengali, Oriya, English, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Badaga, Urdu, Sanskrit, Punjabi and Tulu 19 languages totally. She has been awarded many prestigious awards, among them are Best Female Playback Singer for states of Gujarat (1975), Tamil Nadu (1980) and Orissa (1984). One of her most famous Marathi songs.
Vani died following a fall on 4 February 2023, at the age of 77.
2023 - Padma Bhushan Award, Government of India
𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐢𝐥𝐦 𝐀𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬
1975 – Best Female Playback Singer Tamil– Various songs (Apoorva Raagangal)
1980 – Best Female Playback Singer Telugu– Various songs (Sankarabharanam)
1991 – Best Female Playback Singer Telugu – "Anathineeyara Hara" (Swathi Kiranam)
2015- Nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer Malayalam – "Olanajali Kuruvi" - 1983 (2014 Malayalam Film)
2013– The 60th South Indian Filmfare Award for Lifetime Achievements
1980 – Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer – "Mere Toh Giridhar Gopal" (Meera)
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