Designation: Indian Playback Singer
Award Name: Women of the Decade in Music & Spirituality
Anuradha Paudwal is a popular playback singer in Bollywood in India. She has been one of the leading playback singers since Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. She was the first singer to challenge the monopoly of the Mangeshkar singers, with a spate of successes in the Hindi Playback industry.
She studied at Xavier’s College in Mumbai (Bombay). She was married to Arun Paudwal, who worked with music director S. D. Burman as his assistant. Anuradha’s career started in 1973 with the movie, Abhimaan, (starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan) in which she sang a melodious “shloka”. In the same year she made her Marathi film debut with “Yashoda” (music by Datta Davjekar). In 1974, she brought out a record of Non-film Marathi songs or “bhav geeten” which became very popular.
In 1976, she got her break as a playback singer in Hindi films with Kalicharan(starring Shatrugan Sinha and Reena Roy). Her first solo was in the movie, Aap Beeti, (starring Hema Malini and Shashi Kapoor). Laxmikant-Pyarelal were the music-composer duo for that movie. She also occasionally sang songs for composers Rajesh Roshan (Des Pardes), Jaidev (Dooriyan, Laila Majnu), Kalyanji-Anandji (Kalaakar, Vidhataa), and Usha Khanna (Souten, Sajan Bina Suhagan).
Anuradha sang in a number of Marathi movies including the memorable “Disate Majalaa” (Ashtavinayak), “Raja Lalakaari”, and “Kaalyaa Maatita Maatitaa”. Most of these movies had music by the duo of Anil-Arun, Arun being her husband, who collaborated with Anil Mohile to form a pair.
Anuradha apparently never received any formal training in classical music, stating in an interview, “I have not received any formal training in classical music. I have tried many times, but it has never worked out. I learnt a little here and a little there, but ultimately, I just practiced for many hours listening to Lataji” .
Anuradha gained recognition with her popular numbers for the movie, Hero, for composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Her collaboration with Laxmikant Pyarelal produced more success with songs for “Meri Jung”(O mere Kwabon ke), “Batwara”(Thaare Vaaste Re Dola-Tu maro kaun lage),”Nagina” and many more. “Ram Lakhan” saw Laxmikant Pyarelal giving three major hit songs to Anuradha. Their association ended with “Tezaab” where she sang two good numbers for them- “Kehdo ki tum” and “Hum tumko Dilbar Kyon mane”.
Following this she collaborated with movie producer, Gulshan Kumar, and began a success streak with the movies, Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka, Tezaab, Aashiqui, and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin. She along with Gulshan Kumar were instrumental in getting many unknown playback singers to the fore, including Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Abhijeet, Sonu Nigam. New Music directors, including her husband Arun Paudwal, were introduced to the music world. Nadeem-Shravan, Anu Malik, Nikhil Vinay and Amar Utpal all collaborated with T-Seris (Gulshan Kumar’s music label) and started a new era of melody in Bollywood. Anuradha also sang beautiful duets with her co-singers from the south, notably S.P.Balasubrahmanyam and K.J. Yesudas.
Anuradha has had her share of controversies as well. She was one of the rare singers to bloom under the monopoly of the Mangeshkar sisters in the Bollywood music industry. Apparently, this caused music directors to turn away from her, as they feared they would face the wrath of Lata .
Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. The death of her husband triggered rumors of an affair with Gulshan Kumar, which she denied. She was also under much controversy when she dubbed the songs of Alka Yagnik in the film “Dil”, a practice the Mangeshkar sisters apparenly did routinely. She further went to dub Lata Mangeshkar’s song in “Radha Ka Sangam” citing that her voice suited the heroine better.
At her peak, Anuradha announced that henceforth she would sing exclusively for “T-series”, and concentrated on devotional songs and “cover-version” albums. T-Series used her attractive and pleasing looks to good effect in numerous Bhajan and promotional videos. She was the first playback singer whose face featured on music covers more than the film’s actors. She sang for T-series for some time and then went into a sabbatical. After about five years, she restarted her playback career. She sang a few hit songs for her old music directors but the reception for her comeback was mild.
Although Anuradha has significantly cutback in singing for films, she has continued on with her popularity for singing devotional songs and creating devotional albums, which ultimately remains her forte.
Anuradha has received a National Award and has won the Filmfare award for Best Female Playback singer for three consecutive years from 1990–1992.