Udit Narayan Jha
1 December 1955
|Years active||1980 – present|
|Children||Aditya Narayan (son)|
Udit Narayan (born 1 December 1955) is an Indian playback singer whose songs have been featured mainly in Bollywood movies of Hindi language. He has also sung in various other languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Nepali, Bhojpuri, Bengali. He has won 4 National Film Awards (of which 3 as a singer, for 2 songs in 2001, 1 each in 2002 and 2004 along with 1 as a producer in 2005) and 5 Filmfare Awards with 20 nominations among many others. He had to struggle a lot even after his debut in 1980 in Bollywood playback. He got to sing with legends Mohammed Rafi in his Bollywood Playback debut in movie Unees-Bees in 1980 and also with Kishore Kumar in the 1980s. He finally made his mark in 1988 movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla, his song "Papa Kehte Hain" was his notable performance which earned him his first Filmfare Award in the 1980s and he established himself in Bollywood Playback Singing. He is the only male singer in the history of the Filmfare Awards to have won in over three decades (the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s).
After the success of the movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak in 1988 which turned out to be All Time Blockbuster movie in Bollywood with more than 8 million sales of the sound track became one of the highest selling albums in the 1980s. The soundtrack was a breakthrough for the careers of Anand-Milind, as well as T-Series, one of India's leading record labels. after which he was one of the favourites of music directors. His originality of voice was appreciated by all of the music lovers across the globe. Since his childhood he had idols as Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar whom he'd listen on his radio. In the 1990s he sung for a thousands of songs including Hindi and Nepali languages. Recognising his contribution, his majesty King of Nepal Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev awarded him with the Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu in 2001 after which for his contribution to Indian cinema and music, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009, and in 2016 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, an honour that has been awarded to only a handful of singers, in recognition of his achievements in various film industries across India, and Chitragupta Cineyatra Samman 2015 for his contribution to Bhojpuri cinema. As many as 21 of his tracks feature in BBC's "Top 40 Bollywood Soundtracks of all time".
Udit Narayan Jha was born in a Maithil Brahmin family in 1955 to Nepali father Harekrishna Jha and Indian mother Bhuvaneshwari Jha. In 2009, when Udit Narayan was awarded India's civilian honour Padma Shri, there were reports questioning his Indian citizenship, claiming that he was born in Nepal. However, Udit Narayan himself branded these reports as "completely false", and stated that he was born in the Baisi village of Supaul district of Bihar at his maternal grandparents' home. When his acceptance of the Padma Shri led to his criticism in Nepal, he told the Nepalese daily Kantipur that he was "from Nepal but his mother's home was in Bihar." In a 2017 interview with the Indian magazine Outlook, he clarified that he was born in Baisi, and clarified that his father Harekrishna was a native of Bhardaha, Saptari District, Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal. In September 2018, Udit Narayan revealed at a ceremony held by the Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America, that he identifies as a Bihari.
Narayan studied at Jageshwar High School, Kunauli, Supaul, Bihar, India, where he finished his SSC and later obtained his intermediate degree from Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal. His father Harekrishna Jha was a farmer and his mother Bhuvneshwari Devi was a folk singer who encouraged his career.
In 2006, Ranjana Narayan claimed to be the Narayan's first wife, but Narayan consistently denied it. Later, he accepted her as his wife and promised to provide for her maintenance. Narayan has been married twice, first to Ranjana Narayan Jha and then to Deepa Narayan Jha. He began his relationship with Deepa Narayan while he was still married to Ranjana Narayan. Narayan and Deepa were married in 1985. With Deepa Narayan, he has one son, Aditya Narayan, who is also a playback singer.
Narayan's work has been praised by his contemporaries Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy and music director Ankit Tiwari. Mid Day included him in the list of notable 90s playback singers. Narayan is considered one of the most prominent singers of his generation.
Narayan is one of the most prominent singers of Bollywood throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. He has been the on-screen singing voice for various Bollywood stars. He has sung for Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dev Anand, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn. Most of his duets are with Alka Yagnik. He began his career in 1970 as a Maithili folk singer (staff artist) for Radio Nepal, singing mostly popular folk songs in Maithili and Nepali.[unreliable source?] Gradually, he started singing modern Nepali songs. After eight years, Narayan moved to Bombay on a musical scholarship for Nepalese from the Indian Embassy in Nepal to study classical music at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan.
Narayan started his Bollywood career in 1980 when he was noted by music director Rajesh Roshan, who asked Narayan to playback sing for the Hindi film Unees-Bees. Narayan was given the opportunity to sing with the singer Mohammed Rafi. He sang for Devanand a couplet in Swami Dada.His first duet was in the film Sannata. Soon after, Narayan sang for a number of other movies, including Bade Dil Wala in 1983, where he sang a duet with senior singer Lata Mangeshkar, composed by senior music director R. D. Burman. In the same year, Narayan sang with Kishore Kumar in the film Kehdo Pyar Hai. Another singer he sang with was Suresh Wadkar with music composed by Bappi Lahiri. A significant milestone in his career occurred in 1988 when Anand-Milind gave him the opportunity to sing all the songs for the successful Bollywood movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, with Alka Yagnik, which earned him a Filmfare Award. In an interview with The Times of India, Narayan said: "The song I've sung, "Manzilein", is the best song of my career after "Pehla Nasha", which gave me superstardom!". Narayan remained prolific through the 2000s, singing popular numbers in films such as Pukar, Dhadkan, Lagaan, Devdas and Veer-Zaara
In 2002, Narayan sang "Bairi Piya" with newcomer Shreya Ghoshal, from the film Devdas, of which Rediff mentioned: "Narayan successfully captures the eternal romanticism of Devdas". In 2014, Narayan sang a song titled "Naa Hum Jo Kah De" along with Shreya Ghoshal, for the album Women's Day Special: Spreading Melodies Everywhere. The song was composed by Ram Shankar and penned by A. K. Mishra.
Narayan's friend Jiyand Nawab Deedag suggested he change his work from old to modern in order to be selected as a playback singer, but this didn't work and, considering old films in 1973, Narayan sang a song for a Nepali film called Sindoor. This was a comedy song for the famous Nepali comedians GopalRaj Mainali (Chankhe) and Basundhara Bhushal (Nakkali). Narayan sang this song with Sushma Shrestha, now known as Poornima in Hindi films. Narayan has also acted in two Nepali films – Kusume Rumal and Pirati in 1985. In 2004, he released his first non-movie Nepalese album, Upahaar, in which he sang duets with his wife Deepa Jha. Narayan has many solo albums as well, such as Bhajan Sangam, Bhajan Vatika, I Love You, Dil Deewana, Yeh Dosti, Love is Life, Jaanam,Jhumka de Jhumka, Sona No Ghadulo, Dhuli Ganga and Ma Tarini.
Narayan has performed in many stage shows in India and abroad and is the recipient of many awards. These include Screen Videocon Award, MTV Best Video Award and Pride of India Gold Award. In 2010, Narayan with Madhushree sang for the English independent film When Harry Tries to Marry.
Narayan also sang the title song for the TV show Yeh Duniyan Gazab Ki, with Kumar Sanu. In 2015 he was involved in a mega series campaign Melancholy, where 421 Nepali artists had sung a 33 minutes 49-second long environmental song, in which 365 artists set a Guinness World Record on 19 May 2016 at Radio Nepal Studio, Singhadurbar, Kathamandu. It is written, composed and directed by environmentalist Nipesh DHAKA.
Narayan was on the panel of judges on Sony TV for Waar Parriwar, a reality show based on the bringing together of a singing gharana (family of singers). He shared judging duties with fellow playback singer Kumar Sanu and Jatin Pandit of the music duo Jatin-Lalit.
As an actor
Udit Narayan Jha acted in and sang all the songs in a 1985 Nepali movie called Kusume Rumal which is one of the All Time Classics in Nepali movie industry starring himself with Bhuwan K.C. and Tripti Nadakar in lead roles, which spent 25 weeks on the box office top ten list and became the highest-grossing Nepalese movie of all time until overtaken in 2001 by another Tulsi Ghimire film, Darpan Chaya.
Awards and nominations
Jury member of awards
In 2012, Narayan was the one of the jury members of the film music jury for the Global Indian Music Academy Awards. In 2015, he was one of the jury members in Mirchi Music Awards, and the same year he was the judge of the Jagran Film Festival.
- Prabal Gorkha Dakshina Bahu, Fourth Class of Prestigious Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu (Order of Gorkha Right Arm), one of the highest civil honours in Nepal, by the King of Nepal Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, 2001
- Padma Bhushan: third highest civil honour from Indian Government, 2016
- Madhya Pradesh government's National Lata Mangeshkar Award, 2015
- National Bravery Award from Maharashtra at Raj Bhavan 2016
- Padma Shri: fourth highest civil honour from Indian Government, 2009
- Honoured at Swabhimani Mumbaikar Awards, 2016
- Special Jury Salute Award from Radio Mirchi Award, 2016
- Receiving the Kishore Kumar Memorial Award for Music from S. Krishna Kumar
- Dr. Ambedkar Awards in Mumbai, 2015
- Awarded for his exceptional performance Bhojpuri industry, 2015
- Received BIFA awards, 2015
- 1st, Chitragupta Cineyatra Film Award, 2015
- Bhojpuri award, 2014
- Maharashtra Ratna Awards from Government of Maharashtra 2011
- First Mohammed Rafi award, 2010
- 2nd Medscape India National Awards
- Chitragupta Cineyatra Samman for Bhojpuri Cinema, 2015
- Received Samrat Vikramaditya Sangeet Alankaran Samman, 2006
Outstanding honours and awards
- Big Entertainment Award 2017 Udit Narayan won the 92.7FM Suhana Safar Legend Award
- Mirchi Music Awards 2016 Jury Special Salute
International honours and awards
- International Brandlaureate Personality Award from Malaysia, 2011
Lifetime achievement awards
- Lifetime Achievement Award from Kalashri Award, 2010
- Sahara Awadh Samman Awardee, 2006[circular reference]
- Lifetime Achievement Award from Suryadatta National Awards, 2016
Work with other singers
Udit Narayan career started in 1980 and flourished during 90's. During the huge span of playback singing, other than the duet songs with notable female playback singers, Udit Narayan was fortunate to collaborate with playback singers from all generations. Udit Narayan debuted with legendary singer Mohammad Rafi and then got opportunity to share songs with Kishore Kumar, Amit Kumar, Suresh Wadkar, Mohammad Aziz and others during 80's. Most of his male duets are with Kumar Sanu & Abhijeet. Some of the selected and notable songs are as follows
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- Awards and nominations
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Anand-Milind did six films before hitting the jackpot with Qayamat se Qayamat Tak in 1988.
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'They say I was born in Nepal, but that's completely false. I was born in a village called Baisi on the Supaul district of Bihar in 1955 at my maternal grandparents' home,' Udit had said in a recent interview with IANS.
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