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Sulochana Chavan: The ‘Lavani Queen’ and Marathi Singer Passes away

Sulochana Chavan primarily performed for the Marathi film "Krishna Sudama" in 1947

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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. Mumbai: Padma Shri Sulochana Shyamrao Chavan, known as “Lavani Queen,” passed away on Saturday (December 10, 2022) in Girgaum, south of Mumbai, as a result of age-related diseases. She was 89 and is survived by her son Vijay (a Dholki player), daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.

Her husband, filmmaker Shyamrao Chavan, and another son, Jay, passed away a long time ago. The last rites were performed at Chandanwadi crematorium in south Mumbai on Saturday evening with state honors.

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Lavani, a popular musical style in Maharashtra, is attributed to Chavan. It is a fusion of traditional singing and dance, done most notably to the beats of the percussion instrument dholki. It is renowned for having a strong beat. Lavani has made significant contributions to the growth of Marathi folk theatre.

Born on March 13, 1933, in Mumbai, Sulochana Chavan (nee Sulochana Kadam) began singing at the age of 10 years. She sang for the Marathi film “Krishna Sudama” for the first time in 1947. Besides, she sang Bhojpuri Ramayan with well-known playback singer Manna Dey at the age of 16 years.

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Sulochana Chavan married “Kalgitura” director Shyamrao Chavan. She acknowledged that her husband had taught her the fundamentals of pronunciation and stress.

Sulochana Chavan’s well-known Lavani performance included:

  • Tuzhya Usala Laagal Kolha and Padarawarti Jartaricha (Malhari Martand-1965).
  • Kasa Kay Patil Bara Hay Ka and Solaawa Varees Dhokyacha?(Sawaal Majha Aika-1964).

Besides her phenomenal Lavani contribution to Marathi cinema, she developed Hindi albums and film songs.

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Over 5,000 Marathi songs and about 250 Hindi songs each had Chavan’s voice on them. Her well-known Hindi songs include the following:

  • Ulfat jisay kehtay,
  • Aag Si Dil Mein Lagake, chori chori.
  • How come dil ko karar aa gaya hai?
  • Rangeen, Mousam aayaa,
  • Jeenay ka sahaara hua hai

Noted litterateur Acharya Atre had bestowed upon her the title of “Lavani Samrat” (Lavani Queen) in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of folk songs.

Prominent personalities offer condolences

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on Sulochana Chavan’s death via social media. PM Modi lauded her contributions to Maharashtra culture, specifically Lavani.

“The coming generations will remember Sulochana Tai Chavan for her monumental role in promoting the culture of Maharashtra, especially Lavani. She was also passionate about music and theatre. Pained by her demise. Condolences to her family and admirers. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, as well as Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, condoled Sulochana Chavan’s death.

CM Shinde’s tweet translates to, “Deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing away of Padmashri Sulochana Chavan, Maharashtra’s oldest Lavani Empress, who enchanted many Lavani enthusiasts with the magic of her deep voice. Her death has left a void in the galaxy of voices. May God rest her soul in eternal peace.”

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde wrote in his mourning statement that Chavan’s passing has left a hole in the domains of Lavani, folk art, and music. Ajit Pawar, the leader of the opposition in the legislature, also offered respect to the late artist.

Singer Nandu Umap, Megha Ghadge, and a host of other artists offered condolences to Sulochana Chavan.

Also Read: Veteran Stage and Film Actor Vikram Gokhale Passes Away


  • 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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