When I started this blog in 2017, my primary goal was to celebrate global pop culture and empower artists worldwide. Although, I have tried to write on a variety of genres in these three years, I have not written much about my favourite artists lately. So here is Whims and Quirks with a monthly column aimed at celebrating artists who are brilliant with their craft and I feel deserve more recognition in the pop culture world. The first artist that I want to write on is one of my all time favourite vocalists, Anuradha Sriram.
Anuradha Sriram was introduced in Bollywood by A R Rahman in the ‘Bombay‘ soundtrack which I believe is also one of Rahman’s best work. Sriram has sung extensively for the stalwarts of music like Rahman, Illaiya Raja, Vidyasagar (South Indian musicians) in Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam and Kannada. During the late 90s and early 2000s, she sang quite regularly in Hindi as well. ‘Ishq Bina’ from Taal is one of my favourite songs which Sriram sang for Rahman in 1999. Although, she has always shone in her collaborations with Rahman in Bollywood, it is her work with Anu Malik that makes me her huge fan.
Why I love Anuradha Sriram
I simply love Sriram’s voice quality. Like the other singers from South, its super clean and serene (reminiscent of my other favourites K S Chitra and Shreya Ghoshal). Additionally, her range astonishes me as it usually shrills when vocalists with thin voices hit those super high notes. Also, she is equally brilliant with both quick notes (Prem Jal Mein from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai) and standing notes (Chunari Chunari from Biwi No 1). Her expressions too are noteworthy in all her Hindi songs. Overall, she has to be one of the most accomplished vocalists India has produced.
Anuradha Sriram : Top 3 Songs
1) Aa Hi Jaiye (Lajja)
A racy dance number from the movie Lajja, Aa Hi Jaiye is my favourite Anuradha Sriram track. Dextrously composed by Anu Malik, it is a solo track which was super successful when it released in 2001 and is picturised on Urmila Matondkar. Sriram starts the song with two slow verses and then boom, the song explodes into this foot tapping number which is fun and juicy. Sriram is pitch perfect and glides into the two antaras (second and third paragraphs) like a pro and her expressions are to die for and so is her vocal range. Brilliant singing all through. Additionally, Urmila Matondkar’s dance moves and the choreography is a bonus.
2) Dupatta (Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai)
Now this a fun and playful dance number from the superhit movie Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai (2001). A signature Anu Malik track, the song is picturised on Kareena Kapoor and was again a chartbuster when released. The composition is essentially breezy but Sriram takes it notches higher with the expressions and she is at it from her very first note in the song. I love the way she does the ‘Hmmmm’ in the beginning and interludes, and pronounces ‘Hazaar Hai/Taiyyar Hai‘ in the first antara (second paragraph). Kareena, too, has done complete justice to the song and her expressions in the song are in tandem with Sriram’s energy. All in all, another great song.
3) Chunari Chunari (Biwi No. 1)
Chunari Chunari from Biwi No. 1, released in 1999 and was the song (along with Ishq Bina from Taal) that made Anuradha Sriram mainstream in Bollywood. Again a super catchy and fast dance number, it is sung superbly by Sriram especially the quick notes in the antaras. It is amazing to see that even though the song is a duet (with Abhijeet), the majority of the verses are sung by Sriram and she dominates the song throughout. The song is picturised on Salman Khan and Sushmita Sen and is quite synonymous with the latter’s body of work.
Anuradha Sriram’s Recent Work
Having a singing career spanning two decades proves Sriram’s mettle as a vocalist. Although, she has primarily sung in Tamil, it is her limited number of Hindi Songs that makes me her fan ( as I lack any proficiency in the southern languages). After giving hits after hits in the early 2000s, she has not sung in Bollywood after Rahman’s Ranjha Ranjha in 2010 (Raavan, Co- Vocalists – Rekha Bharadwaj, Javed Ali). Thanks to the internet today, I can always listen to her gems in Hindi which I do pretty much every week. As I write this, I hope she gets back to singing in Hindi (or I learn Tamil) soon.
Let me know if you liked the above article and the new series. Also, please recommend Anuradha Sriram’s other songs from Tamil and Telugu that one should listen to in the comment section.
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(Disclaimer – I do not own the rights to the images displayed on the page. The rights remain with their rightful owners. The images are sourced from various public online sources to provide references to Anuradha Sriram.)