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Playback singer Sharda entertains senior citizens

November 2010
Playback singer Sharda entertains senior citizens Sunday October 10th was a special day for the senior citizens group run by Raj Razdan: Sharda, playback singer of yesteryear, entertained in a hall filled to capacity at the Palace Restaurant in Norcross, where luncheon was served, sponsored by Sandeep and Swapna Gauba. Sharda had flown from New York at the request of sponsor Girish Modi.

After prayers to Mataji, Girish introduced Sharda, from the golden decade of 1965-1975. Sharda was discovered at a private concert in Tehran by the late Raj Kapoor, who introduced her to Shankar and Jaikishan. The duo sent her for a six-month taalim (training). Shankar gave the young girl two songs for the film Suraj: “Titli udi” and “Dekho mera dil machal gaya.” Both became instant hits and Sharda became a household name.

Few know that “Titli udi” also changed the structure of the Filmfare award. The song tied with “Baharo phool baraso” by Mohd. Rafi, but until then only one award had been given. A special award was given to Sharda and from the next year, there would be 2 awards for playback singers, one for male and one for female.

Shankar used Sharda’s playful voice in many films. She sang for top actresses and with most of the top singers. She was the first Indian female singer to cut her own pop album in India, called Sizzlers in 1971. She sang “Jaane bhi de sanam” in both Hindi and English versions for the film Around The World. Sharda was nominated four years in a row (1968-71) for the best playback singer and won another Filmfare award along the way.

After Shankar’s death, Sharda started composing her own music for films and wrote film songs, including some sung by Lata (in Garam Khoon, 1980) and by Rafi (“Achcha hi hua dil toot gaya”).
With a music school in Mumbai and two CDs of Mirza Ghalib’s ghazals for which she sang and composed music, she is now composing for an English film, in which there will be songs in English as well as in Hindi.
For this concert, she brought two keyboards, for rhythm and melody, and sang old favorites for 2 hours. Before singing “Titli udi,” she explained the lyrics: Atma (titli) on its journey to unite with Parmatma (the eternal spirit). Finally she brought seniors to their feet with a dandia-raas to celebrate Navratri, with Vijay Tandon on tabla. When the attendees left, they were still humming “Titli udi” and other memorable songs.

Review and Photos by Girish Modi

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