Profession: Playback Singer, Bollywood.
For the past decade, Alka Yagnik has reigned supreme in the world of playback singing in India. While Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar remain the living legends of Bollywood, both are recording less now so Alka has stepped into their formidable shoes. In India Alka has had hit after hit and is the playback voice all Bollywood's leading female film stars want dubbed over their performance.
Alka Yagnik came to Bombay almost two decades ago and ever since she has become an inseparable part of the film industry. According to her, singing was just a hobby initially but as success and popularity came along, she started taking it up seriously as a profession.In her short career, she has had the privilege of walking away with three Filmfare awards and two National awards.
Born to Gujaratis who were based in Calcutta, Alka's mother Shubha Yagnik was a singer of Indian classical music. Her mother Shubha Yagnik,was a classical singer herself. Alka too had a flair for music, and would need a radio to help her sleep from the age of five or so. Shubha was determined her daughter succeed as a singer. Alka thus underwent rigorous music training from a very early age under a series of teachers. At the age of eight, Alka was already an All India Radio artiste in Calcutta. She won a Sugam Sangeet competition in Calcutta at the age of 11.
Music directors Kalyanji and Anandji did take her under their wing but she was advised to wait till her voice matured but her mother remained determined and on a subsequent visit Alka got a letter of introduction to Raj Kapoor from his Calcutta distributor. Raj heard the girl and recommended her to noted producer Laxmikant. Impressed, Laxmikant gave her two alternatives - an immediate start as a dubbing artist, or a later break as a full - fledged singer. The Yagniks settled for the latter.
It was in early 1979 that Alka got to sing a few lines in Rajshri's Payal Ki Jhankar. Her first full - fledged song was 'Hum Tum Rahenge' for Rajesh Roshan in Hamari Bahu Alka, a Basu Chatterjee comedy, and was a duet with
Amit Kumar. However the film was delayed and her first release proved to be the super - hit 'Mere Angne mein', the folk song adopted by Kalyanji - Anandji in Laawaris (1981). Around this time, Alka recorded her first song for Laxmikant - Pyarelal too, 'Jaldi Se Aa', in Jeevan Dhara (1982) with
Anuradha Paudwal and
Kavita Krishnamurty. She also recorded songs for Rajesh Roshan in Sannata and Kaamchor (the hit 'Tumse Badhkar Duniya Mein' with
Kishore Kumar), Usha Khanna ( Hotel and other films), R. D. Burman (Namkeen) and many more songs for Kalyanji - Anandji (Itni Si Baat, Yeh Rishta Na Toote, Khush Naseeb, Taqdeer, Nastik) and Laxmikant - Pyarelal (Badle Ki Aag, Teri Maang Sitaron Se Bhar Doon, Coolie.
All through the 80's, Alka did keep singing regularly in films for most of the top music directors and also past - their - peak veterans like Shankar, Ravi, Chitragupta and newcomers like Anu Malik and Anand Milind. But hits eluded her even as she sang for films like Loha, Mera Jawaab, Pighalta Aasman, Ghar Dwar and others. It was in 1988 that she got her breakthrough with the song that was to launch Madhuri Dixit and rank among the greatest and most evergreen cult songs - 'Ek Do Teen Char' (Tezaab/Laxmikant - Pyarelal). Alka Yagnik really got moving with "Ek Do Teen". With this hit song, Alka has been climbing the ladder of fame consistently. Since Lata and Asha had become voices of yesteryears, the top spot was up for the grabs.
The same film's 'So gaya Yeh Jahan' and the song of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, which had Alka as the only female singer, finally established her as a front - ranker. In 1989, she sang in Eeshwar, Rakhwala, Suryaa, Elaan - E - Jung and other films, excelled in 'Gali Gali Mein Phirta Hai' and 'Gajar Ne Kiya Hai Ishara' (Tridev) and sang the memorable 'Thare Vaaste Re Dola' ('Batwara'). Alka had hits after hits, such as, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak ('Gazab Ka Hai Din'), Akele Hum Akele Tum ('Raja Ko Rani Se'), Deewana ('Aisi Deewangee'), Baazigar ('Baazigar O Baazigar'), Karan Arjun ('Jaati Hoon Main'), Criminal ('Tu Mile'), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke ('Ghunghat Ki aad se'), Khamoshi (Bahon Ke Darmiyan), Raja Hindustani ('
Pardesi Pardesi'), Taal (Taal Se Taal), Refugee ('Panchi Nadiya'and many more.But like the post - Mangeshkar generation of singers Alka's best phase began in the 1990's.
Alka Yagnik came to the party at the right time and overshadowed few close competitors. By 1991 - 1992, she established herself as the busiest singer on the block, a position she still holds today despite the increased competition and her own choosiness! By the law of averages, her high hit songs have not followed any particular image, thus establishing Alka as the next all - rounder after Lata and Asha , and probably the prime singer of choice for heroine\. There is no significant composer she has not sung for, and in the case of the toppers she has consistently been the first and most frequent choice of names like Laxmikant - Pyarelal, Anand Milind (except for a brief phase when they were not recording together), Nadeem - Shravan, Anu Malik, Rajesh Roshan and Jatin - Lalit. She has also sung for all the newest composers on the block - Vishal, Anand Raaj Anand, Himesh Reshammiya, Sajid - Wajid, Shankar - Ehsaan - Loy, Ismail Darbar and Sanjeev Darshan.
Married happily to a successful US based guy, Alka enjoys her family life and holidays are reserved for the closed ones. Getting up early in the morning, exercising and getting her daughter ready for school, are a few things that show that Alka is a family person.
The cavalcade of hits include - as main female singer - films like
Saajan, Phool Aur Kaante, Deewana, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, Dilwale, Raja, Barsaat, Raja Hindustani and Pardes (Nadeem - Shravan). She also sang in films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Hum Saath Saath Hain, Taal (for which she got the Filmfare), Tarkeib, Khamoshi, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Hello Brother, Papa Kehte Hain, Aankhen, Dalaal and many other films.
The mega - hits of Alka Yagnik can be best enumerated by taking them actress - wise.