Sunday, May 10, 2009

Usha Uthup --Evergreen Singer

One interesting thing about collection of gramophone records, (or any other similar hobby) is that many of the records will have some story to tell,sentiments attached , some nostalgic memory,interesting incident or an important person behind them. One such L.P.Record with me is an album titled USHA SINGS - LOVE STORY AND OTHER HITS by Usha Uthup,the first successful female pop singer of India.

Seeing Usha Uthup as a judge in a very popular reality music show in a Malayalam T.V. Channel prompted me to take out this LP record and listen to it once again.The album brought back memories about my life for a year in Belgaum, a town on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border.It was in the year 1970 when I was a Trainee Officer in a bank. Belgaum,in those days, was a town of narrow streets with people, cattle and motorists jostling for space,abundantly available milk and milk products, art silk sarees and hosiery items,incessant drizzle, extreme winter and prominent presence of military establishments with a temple known as military Mahadeva temple in the Thilakwadi area.

It was during one of those winter nights that I, along with some of my colleagues,set out to watch a stage programme by the then upcoming pop singer Usha Uthup(Iyer). We were then not very fond of or familiar with pop music.But as scope for entertainment was limited and stage shows were rare to happen in Belgaum we decided to buy the tickets in advance.Besides, the singer and her stage programmes were becoming increasingly popular and getting rave reviews in the media. When we reached the venue it was almost full.Right from the beginning the sari clad singer with bobbed hair, husky voice, fabulous stage presence,enchanting smile and sparkling eyes captivated the audience.She carried them along with her songs often making them clap and sing with her.To me, who had seen several top playback singers performing on the stage, it was a different but delightful musical experience.Late in the cold night we returned on our scooters to our colder bachelor's den with bits of her warm songs on our lips. We were a very happy lot that night !!

It was immediately after this that I bought the Album,"Usha Sings" from Bangalore.The album contains songs like," Oh sinner man", "Where do I begin(Love Story)", "Everybody is talking (Midnight Cowboy)etc. She later became a big celebrity singer who gave us such wonderful songs like "Dum Maro Dum" (with Asha and chorus), "Koi Yehan Nache Nache", "Hari Om Hari" and one two Cha Cha Cha etc.

It is wonderful to see this busy singer,performer,film actor and entertainer still retaining her youthful zest, enchanting smile and the sparkle in her eyes.She exudes positive energy and love for music among a whole lot of competing singers who lovingly calls her "Didi" and considers her their guardian angel.


sumi said...

The early days of a then upcoming artist always holds interest to music lovers.Usha Uthups effervescence on stage has grown through the years.Never once the audience feels her movements and captivationg husky voice out of tune or artificial even after she has reached her prime.She is definitely a style icon though she has never been given the credits due to her.
"Usha sings" happens to be a favourite album of mine and has lots of nostalgic memories attached to it.Thanks a lot for rekindling them.

Sandeep said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandeep said...

This posting is really nice to read.. calling to mind the way you caught that piece of vinyl took me to belgaum of early 70's(i haven't gone visited that part of Karnataka in fact).Keep posting more like this.I'm sure that you have lot more intersting stories behind your huge collection of records

VAN said...


Where did you get this album? I had it as a kid but lost it, have been looking for it desperately ever since! Please help!

Jackson Dias said...

Thanks for the memories. She also sang Konkani songs for the legendary Goan musician Chris Perry back in the 70s. They made an album (by HMV) entitled "Meu Amor" which had 9 songs and was quite the rage when it was released. She was known as Usha Aiyer in those days. I have uploaded her Konkani songs on Youtube -