Wednesday, May 18, 2011


One of the much talked about films of the early 70s was Hrikesh Mukherji's 'GUDDI', starring Dharmendra and Jaya Bhaduri. Apart from the fine performance of the lead actors, what made the film win big critical acclaim was the musical score of Vasant Desai (lyrics: Gulzar) and the enchanting song 'Bol re papihara' magnificently sung by Vani Jairam. The song based on classical raga (Miyan Malhar I am told) was authoritatively sung by her in spite of her South Indian background and it was an instant hit heard on the radio frequently. The song fetched Vani Jairam several awards notable among them being the Miyan Tansen Samman for the best classical song from films. The song became so popular that it eclipsed the two other outstanding songs, especially ' Hamko man ki sakthi dena',of the film. In fact with 'Hamko manki and Bole re papihara' , Vani Jairam gave a new dimension to bhajan singing in films and these two songs came to be rated as two of the best classical raga based songs/bhajans from Hindi films comparable to Lataji's ' Allah tero naam (Hum donon- Jaidev), Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya (with Rafi, film Suvarna Sundari-P.Adi Narayana Rao) and Jyothi Kalash chhalke (Bhabhi ki chudiyan-Sudhir Phadke).

It was, probably, her undisputed talent for singing bhajans/classical songs that made Pt. Ravishankar give her thirteen of the fourteen songs of film MEERA for which he tuned the poems of Meerabai. In fact the 14th song was an 'aalap' by Dinkar Kaikini. It is a rare honour for a singer to sing all the songs of a film and that too when the music director was none other than Pt. Ravishankar. The songs of the film fetched the Filmfare award in 1979 for best music. The LP Album of Meera was released by Philips through Polydor India Ltd in 1972. The quality of recording in Stereo is excellent and the jacket is aesthetically designed and sets it apart from the usual. The special twofold jacket with beautiful front and back designs has a centre spread and a couple of inlay cards containing line sketches and narratives on the life and myths about Meerabai, the ultimate devotee of Lord Krishna. The most appealing among the wonderful bhajans is,'Mere to Giridhar Gopal' beautifully sung by Vani Jairam. All this makes this LP album a must possess one for collectors and a favourite one for bhajan lovers.

But in spite of her unquestionable singing talent and her singing for several music directors including Madan Mohan, Naushad, Lakshmikant Pyarelal, O.P.Nayyar and so on, Vani Jairam could not make it big in Hindi films. She had, probably, ruffled too many important feathers with her talent that she also had to face the predicament of several singers like Jesudas, MannaDey, Talat, Hemant Kumar, Suman Kalyanpur and so on and she shifted to the south to concentrate on South Indian films of all languages. She went on to bag several National Awards for best singer in the 70s and 80s for films, APPORVARAGANGAL, SANKARABHARANAM and SWATHIKIRANAM.

Vani Jairam had made her mark in Malayalam films also in the 80s and 90s,two of her best songs being Aashadamasam(Yudhabhoomi) and Seemantharekhayil (Aashirvadam).

PS. Saw Vaani Jairam last week as a judge in a popular music reality show in a Malayalam channel. Great that she has not lost her voice, zest and love for music. Her singing 'bole re papihara' and several of her hit songs in a medley was a treat to the ears. on the pictures for zooming.

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