Sadhana Sargam – Inside Story of a Legendary Indian Female Playback Singer

Sadhana Sargam, a reticent playback singer with a formidable discography, has sung almost 2,000 Hindi songs in 1,546 films and more than 5,000 songs in regional cinema.

There are very few love songs that have stood the test of time. “Pehla nasha” (Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, 1992), the tender ode to first love, is one of the few musical mementoes that has always loomed large from the ’90s.

Sargam has mostly remained behind the scenes, coming to the fore with her soft, melodious voice. Be it the age-old “Teri umeed” (Deewana, 1992), “Chanda re” (Sapnay, 1997), “Chupke se” (Saathiya, 2002), “Jhin min jhini” (Maqbool, 2003) or “Aao na” (Kyun Ho Gaya Na, 2004).

She turned to regional cinema after her collaboration with Rahman and has recorded steadily there. While her last song was in the Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), Sargam, is a part of Bandish, a project which will take place at Mumbai’s National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), where her performance will be an ode to yesteryear composers Roshan, SD Burman and Madan Mohan.

Sargam grew up in Dabhol, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, and began learning music at an early age from her mother, music teacher and classical singer Neela Ghanekar. When she was 10, she won a central government scholarship that led her to learn Hindustani classical music from the scion of Mewat Gharana, Pt Jasraj.

She extensively worked with composer Vasant Desai, remembered for his score in Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) and Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi (1971), among others.

She recorded for the popular animation film Ek Anek Aur Ekta (1974), popularly known as Ek chidiya, anek chidiya, a seven-minute-long film produced by the Centre for Education Technology (CET), that taught virtues of teamwork to children and young adults.


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