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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, achieving the number one position.
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) She sang a melodious "shloka" in that movie. 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 the movie, Kalicharan, (which starred Shatrugan Sinha and Reena Roy). Her first solo was in the movie, Aap Beeti, (starring Hema Malini and Shashi Kapoor). Laxmikant-Pyarelal was the music-composing duo for that movie. She also occasionally sang songs that were composed by 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: some memorable numbers such as "Disate Majalaa" (in the movie, 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. In spite of never receiving formal training in classical music, Anuradha's voice adapted to classical songs with much more ease and ability then even her classically trained counterparts. "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", states Anuradha .
Before gaining a foothold in the Hindi film industry, she achieved popularity in Marathi cinema with a spate of melodious renditions. Popular movies include "Ashtavinayak", "Assa Navra Nako Ga Bai", "Mumbaicha Fauzdar", "Navri mile Navryala", "Gammat Jammat", "Devta", "Ashi Hi Banwabanwi" to list a few. She has also sang with Asha Bhosle in the movie 'Ha Khel Sawlyancha".
She started singing for Laxmikant-Pyarelal. She gained recognition when she rendered some exceptional numbers for the movie, Hero. (Laxmikant-Pyarelal was the music-composing duo for Hero.) It is rumored that the song was supposedly to be sung by Laxmikant Pyarelal's bete noire Lata Mangeshkar but she could not make it. The director liked Anuradha's version, which was retained and went on to became huge hit. There was another catchy number which catapulted Anuradha to a very good commendable position and that was "Ding Dong O Baby sing a song". Her collaboration with Laxmikant Pyarelal saw her capture new heights with hits after hits in "Meri Jung"(O mere Kwabon ke), "Batwara"(Taare waste dola),"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 her success streak began with the movies, Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka, Tezaab, Aashiqui, and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin. The 90's saw her scale new heights and open vistas for lot of Bollywood singers. She along with Gulshan Kumar were instrumental in getting lot of playback singer to the fore. Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Abhijeet, Sonu Nigam all started doing cover versions for T-series and slowly entered the playback arena. New Music directors also were introduced including her husband Arun Paudwal. Nadeem Shravan, Anu Malik, Nikhil Vinay and Amar Utpal all collaborated and got melody back to playback in Bollywood. Anuradha also sang beautiful duets with her co-singers from south notably being S.P.Balasubramium and Yesudas.
Everything wasn't in the limelight for Anuradha,as she also had her share of controversies. She single handedly charged the music industry of favouring the Mangeshkar family and their monopoly being the main cause of the inability of new singers to survive in the music industry. This eventually caused music directors to turn away from her, as they feared they would face the wrath of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, whom they could not afford to disappoint. 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". 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 the music company, "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 considered as the first playback singer whose face featured on music covers more than film's actors. She sang for T-series for some time and then went into sabbatical. After about five years, she has restarted providing playback singing for movies. She received a mild response for her comeback, yet she sang a few hit songs for her old music directors, whom she once pushed forward. Anu Malik and Jatin Lalit were such music directors who used her voice in most of their movies. Anu Malik made her sing some beautiful tracks in "Mela", "Mr & Mrs Khiladi" and "Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain". The icing on the cake was the beautiful number from "Paap"- "Intezaar". Similarly, Jatin-Lalit made her sing some good numbers in " Dhai Akshar Prem Ke", "Khoobsoorat", and "Dil Kya Kare" and for Academy Award Winner A.R. Rahman "Pukar".
She also sang in a Punjabi Christian album along with UK based singer and music director Mr. Anwar Masih. The album is called Yesu ka paigaam.
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. Today, she is regarded as the best devotional singer India has to offer.
Anuradha has received a National Award and has won the Filmfare award for Best Female Playback singer for three consecutive years from 1990–1992.
* 1985: Best Female Playback for Mere Mann Bajaa Mridang in the movie, Utsav.
* 1990: Best Female Playback for Nazar Ke Saamne in the movie, Aashiqui.
* 1991: Best Female Playback for Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin in the movie, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin.
* 1992: Best Female Playback for Dhak dhak in the movie, Beta.
National Film Awards
* 1990: National Award for Kalat Nakalat for a Marathi film.