Alka Yagnik Biography & Life Story
Alka Yagnik is one of the well-known playback singers in India. She worked predominantly in Hindi cinema (Bollywood).
She can be described as one of the prominent & successful singer in Hindi cinema. During her career of around four decades, she recorded songs for various albums & movies in different Indian languages.
For that she received several accolades including two National Film Awards, two Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards and a record seven Filmfare Awards for Best Female Playback Singer (note 1) from a record of thirty-six nominations.
Alka Yagnik is one of the most creative playback singers. She sang a large number of female solos during her Bollywood career.
During her singing career she sang more than 20,000 songs in various Indian languages. In BBC’s list of top 40-tracks of all-time, her 20 tracks feature.
In February 2022, she was ranked no.1 on the YouTube’s Music Charts Insights list of top global artists. She was on the chart for 283 weeks with aprox. 300 million views.
Early & Personal life of Alka Yagnik:
Alka Yagnik was born on 20th March 1966 in Kolkata to a Gujarati family. Her father’s name is Dharmendra Shankar & mother’s name is Shubha.
Her mother was Indian classical music singer. He has a brother named Samir. She started singing for Akashvani (All India Radio) Calcutta at the age of six in 1972.
Her mother bought her to Mumbai as a child singer at the age of 10. Earlier, she was advised to wait until her voice matured.
Later, on a subsequent visit, she received a letter of introduction to Raj Kapoor from his Kolkata distributer. Raj Kapoor heard her & sent her to music director Laxmikant with a letter.
Laxmikant was impressed with her voice. He gave her two options – an immediate start as a dubbing artist or a later break as a singer. Her mother chose to take a break for her for being a singer.
Alka Yagnik did her schooling in Kolkata from Modern High School for Girls. As of Alka she was a bright student but did not like studies.
In 1989, Alka Yagnik married Shillong based businessman Neeraj Kapoor. The couple have a daughter named Syesha. Syesha is an entrepreneur.
Alka Yagnik Career:
Alka Yagnik was trained classically. She began her singing career by singing Bhajans for Akashvani (All India Radio) Calcutta, at the age of six. She gave her first stage performance in Kala Mandir Kolkata.
In 1980, she sang her first song for movie Payal Ki Jhankar. It was followed by Laawaris in 1981 with the song ‘Mere Angane Mein’. In 1982, she sang for ‘Hamari Bahu Alka’ in 1982.
In 1988, she got her big break in Tezaab with the song ‘Ek Do Teen’. As of Alka, she had a high fever on the day of recording ‘Ek Do Teen’.
For that song she was awarded with seven Filmfare Awards for Best Female Playback Singer. Along with Hindi she sang in more than 25 languages like Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Manipuri, Odia, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Tamil and Telugu.
Even she sang for 15 Pakistani songs. As of an interview with Mid-Day, she recorded five songs daily during her time.
Alka Yagnik also performed in live concerts around the world. With Ila Arun, she sang a seductive song ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’ in 1993.
It created controversy due to its lyrics written by Anand Bakshi. She received her second Filmfare Award for the song & she shared it with Ila Arun. Again in 1994, she sang another seductive song ‘Din Mein Leti Hai’ for the movie Amanaat. She sang it with Kumar Sanu & Ila Arun.
It was composed by Bhappy Lahiri & was lyrics by Anwar Sagar. For the duet version of the same song she also sang the female version of it with Ila Arun. In several shows she performed with Kalyanji-Anandji & Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
Along with Kavita Krishnamurti & Poornima, she sang most of the songs for female actresses during 90s.
In 1997, Alka Yagnik worked on private albums like ‘Tum Yaad Aaye’ in close collaboration with lyricist Javed Akhtar & composer Raju Singh. Again in2002, she worked for ‘Tum Aaye’ with Javed Akhtar & singer Hariharan.
In 2003, again she worked for ‘Shairana’ with Javed Akhtar & singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan. Alka Yagnik also performed the Hanuman Chalisa & many devotional songs.
Her song ‘Chamma Chamma’ for China Gate was featured in the song ‘Hindi Sad Diamonds’. It was from the soundtrack of film Moulin Rouge!
As part of the National Literacy Mission of India in 2012, she sang a song ‘Shiksha Ka Suraj’ along with Sonu Nigam. For that she was felicitated by Union Minister For Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal.
On the occasion of 100 years of Hindi Cinema, her song ‘Taal Se Taal Mila’ from the movie Taal was voted as the best song of the century in a poll conducted by DesiMartini, Hindustan Times & Fever 104.
Her song “Choli Ke Peeche” from the film Khalnayak was voted as the hottest song of the century in a poll conducted by Sanona.
Alka Yagnik is involved in many projects of Girls empowerment. Again in 2014, she teamed with Sonu Nigam for the song ‘Phool Khil Jayenge’ for the awareness of child health.
For the album Women’s Day Special: Spreading Melodies Everywhere, she sang a song ‘Maine Lo Jo Angdai’. The song was composed by Farid Sabri, Harish Chauhan & Gurudatt Sahil It was penned by Sudhakar Sharma.
It 2015, she sung ‘Agar Tum Saath Ho’ with A. R. Rahman. As A. R. Rahman was not present at the time of the recording, he gave full power to Alka to do any of own style of singing for the song.
Alka Yagnik shares greatest number of her titles (seven) of Filmfare Awards with Asha Bhosle as a female singer. In 1,114 Hindi movies, she sung 2,486 songs.
After Asha bhosle (7886 songs), Mohammed Rafi (7405 songs), Lata Mangeshkar (5596 songs) & Kishor Kumar (2707 songs), Alka is the 5th most prolific Bollywood singer.
After Lata Mangeshkar & Asha Bhosle, she is the 3rd top most female singer to sing the maximum number of female solo songs in her Bollywood career.
Alka Yagnik always credits her mother as her first guru. She began Alka’s singing training at the age of four. Along with her mother she learned singing from legends Laxmikant-Pyarelal & Kalyanji-Anandji.
As of Alka her voice suits the romantic genre best. Veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar was her inspiration.
Most of her songs were recorded in Mehboob Studio. She has sung many genres of songs like romantic, sad, happy, seductive & item number songs during her career. With her brother Samir Yagnik, she sang a song ‘Dil Tha Yahan Abhi Abhi’.
She has sung over 9000 songs in more than 300 movies. She sang most of her duets with Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu & Sonu Nigam.
With Kumar Sanu she sang maximum numbers of romantic songs & with Udit Narayan, she sang flamboyant numbers of songs. Alka, Kumar Sanu & Udit Narayn are known as the trinity of 90’s playback singing.
In the Media:
Alka Yagnik is cited as “The Queen of Playback singing”. She became the most-streamed Indian artist-mom on Spotify on Mother’s Day 12th May 2019.
She was cited as a “Honey-voiced” singer by The Times of India. Hindustan Times also mentioned her voice as “Magical Voice”.
She was included in the list of notable 90s playback singers by Mid-Day. As of the most well-known and leading contemporary singer Sunidhi Chauhan she can’t even dream of getting where Lataji, Ashaji and Alkaji (Alka Yagnik) have reached.
Alka Yagnik consideres the music of this era as a ‘forced element’. She regrets for not singing tracks for the movie Roja in 1992. She judged many singing reality shows in India like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa & Star Voice India.
Awards & Nominations:
She has won several accolades like…
- Two National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her songs: “Ghoongat Ki Aad Se” from Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993) and “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998).
- Alka won a record seven Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer (note 2) for her songs: “Ek Do Teen” from Tezaab (1988).
- Again she won Filmfare for “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai” from Khalnayak (1993), “Zara Tasveer Se Tu” from Pardes (1998), “Taal Se Taal” from Taal (2000), “Dil Ne Yeh Kaha Hai Dil Se” from Dhadkan (2001), “O Re Chhori” from Lagaan (2002) and “Hum Tum” from Hum Tum (2005) from a record thirty-six nominations.
- Additionally, she won two Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards.
- He was awarded with the Lata Mangeshkar Award in 2017 for her contribution in the musical field.
- She was awarded with National Film Award by President K. R. Narayanan at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 15th February 2000.
- She received two National Film Awards, seven Filmfare Awards, three Zee Cine Awards & many more.
More than 42 politicians opposed her song ‘Cholee Ke Pichhe Kya Hain’ for using vulgar words. It was banned to be played on All India Radio & Doordarshan.
As per some rumors it is said that many of her songs recordings were done at Osama Bin Laden’s compound at Abbottabad.
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