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Veteran Bollywood Singer and Composer Sharda Passes Away at 86

She became famous with her chart-buster debut song “Titli Udi”

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA: Veteran Bollywood songstress and composer Sharda Rajan Iyengar, popularly known as “Sharda,” passed away after battling with cancer for the last few months at her residence in Mumbai on Wednesday. She was 86 and is survived by her daughter, Sudha Madeira, and son, Shammi Rajan.

“Hello all, I’m Shammi Rajan, son of Sharda ji. This is to inform you that my mother, Sharda Ji, passed away peacefully this morning. May her soul rest in peace”, Shammi Rajan posted on his Facebook account.

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Born on October 25, 1937, in Tamil Nadu, after obtaining a B.A. degree with distinction, she grew up learning Sanskrit from her grandfather. She also enjoyed singing but did not train in classical music.

She made her debut as a playback singer in the 1960 film “Suraj.” During one of her stage performances in Tehran (Iran), she met actor-director Raj Kapoor, who invited her to Mumbai.

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She gave her voice test at RK Studio, after which Kapoor introduced her to the Shankar-Jaikishan duo, who groomed her well.

Her debut song “Titli Udi” (Suraj) (1966) turned out to be her swan song and a chartbuster, and then there was no looking back. She was known for her unconventional voice and sang for actress Rajshree in many of her films.

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She sang many popular songs. They included: “Dekho mera dil machal gaya” (Suraj); “Jane Chaman Shola Badan” (Mohammed Rafi, Sharda); “Aayega Kaun Yahan” (both from the film Gumnaam) (1965); “Duniya ki sair kar lo” (Around the World) (1967); and “Khushi Ke Rang Mein” (Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan) (1967). “Le Ja Le Ja Le Ja Mera Dil” (An Evening in Paris) (1967), “Sapno Ka Saudagar Aaya” (Sapno Ka Saudagar) (1968), “Bakkamma-2 Bakkamma-2 Ekkada Potao Ra” (Shatranj) (Mohd Rafi, Mehmood, Sharda) (1969), “Baat Zara Hai Aapas Ki” (Jahan Pyar Miley) (1970) (Filmware Award Winner) and “Aap Ke Peeche” (Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari) (1971).

She also sang in Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, and English. Her Telugu songs are “Kanti Choopu Cheputondi” and “Madhurathi Madhuram” (Jeevitha Chakram).

She sang for music directors Ravi, Usha Khanna, Iqbal Qureishi, N Dutta, and Avinash, and her songs were featured on Vyjayanthimala, Mumtaaz, Rekha, Sharmila Tagore, and Hema Malini.

In 1971, she became the first Indian female singer to launch an album of pop songs called “Sizzlers”. Her voice was last heard in “Kaanch Ki Deewar” (1986).

Music Composition

In the middle of the seventies, she directed music for films including “Maa Behen Aur Biwi”, “Tu Meri Main Tera”, “Kshitij”, “Mandir Masjid” and “Maila Anchal”. Mohd Rafi was nominated for the Filmfare Best Male Playback Singer Award for the song “Achcha Hi Hua Dil Toot Gaya” from “Maa Behen Aur Biwi” (1974), which he sang under Sharda’s music direction.


She won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the cabaret “Baat Zara Hai Aapas Ki” in Jahan Pyar Miley (1970).

Thereafter, she was nominated four years in a row (1968–71) for best female playback singer and subsequently won another Filmfare award.


On July 21, 2007, she released her ghazal album “Andaaz-e-Bayan Aur”, a compilation of Mirza Ghalib’s ghazals, at the hands of actress Shabana Azmi.

The late music director, Khayyam, was present at the release function. Although she did not reach the top bracket of singers, she managed to create a certain section of music listeners who became her fans.

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  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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