Legendary singer Vani Jairam passes away
Born in Tamil Nadu in 1945, she began her career as a singer in Bollywood with the film Guddi
National Award-winning singer Vani Jairam passed away on Saturday noon at her apartment in Nungambakkam, Chennai. The 78-year-old had reportedly suffered a major forehead injury after slipping and falling in her bedroom.
The singer, born in 1945 as Kalaivani in Vellore, began her singing career in Bollywood with the film Guddi (1971), under the composition of Vasant Desai. In Tamil, she was introduced by MS Viswanathan in the film 1973 film, Sollathaan Ninaikkiren. The prolific singer sang across 18 different Indian languages including Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Hindi and rendered over 10,000 songs across her fifty-year-long career.
The ace singer got her first National Award early for Apoorva Raagangal (1975), four years from her debut, and went on to add two more for Sankarabharanam and Swathi Kiranam in 1980 and 1991 respectively. Merely days ago, she had been announced as the winner of the Padma Bhushan and been celebrated for it.
Popular songs from her discography include 'Nitham Nitham Nellu Sooru' from Mullum Malarum and 'Malligai En Mannan' from Dheerga Sumangali. The versatile Vani also sang about dark themes like death and wickedness in songs like 'Megame Megame' from Paalaivana Solai and 'Ezhu Swarangalukul' from Apoorva Ragangal. Incidentally, her last recorded work was 'Tamizh Anthem' from LKG, a song that talks about the glories of the language.
Her untimely death comes as a major shock as she reportedly didn't have a history of serious ailments. Her contemporary LR Eswari and singer KS Chithra communicated this shock in their statements. "It is with utmost shock & disbelief I heard about the sudden passing away of Vani amma. I spoke to her just two days back," said Chitra. Eswari, who shared a decades-long friendship with Vani, said that her loss left her dumbstruck for hours: "It took me a lot of time to process the shocking information. She is one of the sweetest and kindest people I have met in my life."
Singer Nithyasree Mahadevan had great things to share about Vani's dedication to work and her matchless voice. "She was known for her versatility and proficiency in several languages. I have heard from music directors that her pronunciation and diction was so perfect. She also had incredible stamina as a singer and there were times when she recorded 20 songs in a day. She's truly a legend."
Composer Leon James, who feels blessed to have worked with her on the LKG song, stated that she was humble despite her legendary body of work. "She was accommodating and didn't treat me like a new composer. Her contribution and emotional inputs for the song were very valuable." Easwari echoed Leon in talking about the loving nature of Vani. "She is a rare person who respected everyone."
(With inputs from Anusha Sundar and Chandhini R)