Music of India
Pandit Ravi ShankarUstad Amjad Ali KhanMusical Instruments of IndiaPandit Hari Prasad ChaurasiaMusic of India

Bollywood has been blessed with great composers and playback singers ever since music became a part of films. With this section, explore the profile of some renowned composers.

Composers & Playback Singers

An essential feature that is found in all Bollywood movies is the songs that are picturized on the leading hero and heroine with colorful settings, accompanied with rhythmic dance movements. Songs have become an important part of Indian cinema in several cases, as they are decisive for the success or failure of a film as well as the popularity of an actor and actress. With catchy lyrics, peppy music, great choreography, and colorful picturization that appeals to the mass are a must in majority films. Thus, playground singers and music composers in Bollywood enjoy the status of being the most sought-after celebrities, similar to actors and actresses. Depending on the number of successful songs, his or her popularity is measured and today, the competition among background singers is fierce. It is a well-known fact that Indian cinema releases the highest number of movies each year and the need for playback singers and music composers is ever increasing. Due to the fierce competition among production houses for a movie to do hit at the box office, one of the easiest ways of achieving this is by getting the audience grooving to its soundtrack. The article below briefly highlights some renowned playback singers and composers of Indian cinema.

Lata Mangeshkar
Speaking about playback singers, one cannot forget to mention Lata Mangeshkar, a legendary singer in Indian cinema. With over six decades of experience in the music industry, she had once dominated the film fraternity and carved a niche for herself. Also, known as the 'Nightingale of Indian Cinema', she has the highest recordings made by any artists. Although her performances have become rare currently, she still remains as India's best playback singer.

K.S. Chitra
Popularly referred as 'Chinna Kuyil' (Little Nightingale) down south, she is another famous playback singer. She has sung in a number of languages, such as Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Punjabi, Oriya, Assamese, and Bengali. With six national awards and innumerable filmfare awards in different languages, this young woman does not need any briefing about her talents.

K. L. Saigal
K.L. Saigal was one of the earliest megastars in Indian cinema, besides being a well established actor and a renowned singer. He was a versatile personality who managed to sing and act dynamically in both Hindi and Bengali movies. "Balam Aaye Baso Moray Man Mein" and "Dukh Ke Ab Din Beetat Naahi" are some of the movies that recognized him as a potential playback singer.

Kishore Kumar
Kishore Kumar was another celebrated singer and music composer, whose works extended to acting, producer, direction, lyricist, and screenwriter. But more than his on-screen image as an actor, it was his work behind the camera that got him recognized. Music had always interested him, compared to acting, which was the main reason for his success. Kishore Kumar has sung in a number of languages and won several filmfare awards than any other male singer.

A.R. Rahman
Born in a family of musicians, his interest in music was not an acquired one but a passion that continues and can be seen in his work even today. Even though he has sung a handful of songs, he is popularly known as a music composer in the film fraternity. Rahman has been a recipient of Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, National Film Awards, Filmfare Awards, and South Filmfare Awards. So, it comes by no surprise when he was nicknamed as the "Mozart of Madras".

Asha Bhonsle
Asha commenced her career in 1943 and is currently 77, but continues to mesmerize her audience even today, when she is onstage. Being the sister of the legendary Lata Mangeshkar, Asha has managed to create a unique identity for herself and not been overpowered by her sister's voice. Ranging from pop to devotional songs, Asha has sung in Hindi, English, Russian, Czech, Malay, and many other languages.

Dr. K. J. Yesudas
A trained classical singer K.J. Yesudas is a popular playback singer in South Indian cinemas. He is also dotingly nicknamed as Gana Gandharvan (the celestial singer) by the Malayalam film industry. A seven-time National Award winner and honored by innumerable state awards, Yesudas is an iconic playback singer.

Mukesh Chand Mathur was yet again Bollywood's fond singer who is, till date, highly revered for his outstanding contribution to Hindi cinema. His style of singing was influenced by K.L Saigal and, in many ways, similar to his style of singing. He would often sing as a background score for actor Raj Kapoor.

Mohammed Rafi
Mohammed Rafi was a true legend as his voice had the magic to capture every emotion of a human being. From a teenage infatuation to the melancholy of a lyricist, his voice had the power to convey any expression. He is one of the best singers that Indian cinema has every produced; his songs continue to be remain immortal and are enjoyed by people of all age groups till date.

S. Janaki
S. Janaki is a well-known singer in southern India. She started her career at the age of 19 and is renowned for her voice intonation skills that set her apart from other singers in the industry. She is said to be the most favored singer by S. P. Balasubramanyam and music director Ilaiyaraaja that opened many opportunities to her. She has also won several national and filmfare awards.