Entertainment & Cinema

Vani Jayaram, Padma Bhushan awardee and voice behind 10K songs, passes away

Days after her fans celebrated the President conferring the Padma Bhushan on noted singer Vani Jayaram, she passed away at her home in Chennai.

She was 78 years old. The cause of her death is not yet known.

One of the immortal voices of the South Indian film industry, Vani Jayaram rendered songs in 19 languages. She was living at her Haddows Road home in Chennai. Her husband Jayaram passed away in 2018. Since then, she had been living alone.

Vani Jayaram won three National Awards and sang more than 10,000 songs in 19 languages, including in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Gujarati, Odia, Marathi, Haryanvi, Assamese, Tulu and Bengali. She had won state government awards from Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh.

Born at Kalaivani in Vellore to a traditional Tamil Iyengar family of classical musicians, Jayaram was initiated into the world of music by Ranga Ramanuja Iyengar and later, Kadalur Srinivasa Iyengar, T.R. Balasubramanian, and R.S. Mani.

She was employed at the State Bank of India and she quit the job after she started training for Hindustani music under Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan of the Patiala Gharana. Jayaram was regarded as one of the very few South Indian singers who had an in-depth knowledge in Hindustani classical music and was at ease in belting out Hindi, Gujarati and Haryanvi songs.

Her first music album was a duet with Kumar Gandharva composed by Vasant Desai.

A highly accomplished musician, Vani Jayaram was at ease with old music directors as well as the new generation. She was a favourite for both Ilaiyaraaja and A.R. Rahman.

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