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News |  08 Mar 2018 16:17 |  By RnMTeam

Singing to their tunes: Six women composers of India

MUMBAI: The world is known to be a male dominated place, and yet women have made their mark proving each time with their worth and credibility, Hindi Film Music, is one such field. While we have greats like Shankar Jaikishan, Naushad, right till AR Rahman, there are some amazing women music directors and background score arrangers here too. Let’s have a look at them:

Jaddan Bai: Jaddan Bai is the first name to have a credit as a female music director in Hindi Film Music Industry. Mother to the famous actress Nargis, Jaddan Bai is attributed as one of the main pillars of Bollywood. She donned multiple hats of singer, music director, film director. Though notably, she gave music to only one film, the fact that she was the first mover in the field makes her an icon. In an age, where women were still not considered worthy of talent, Jaddan Bai made a name for herself by directing movies and composing music too. Her first movie as a music director was Taalshe Haq way back in 1935.

Saraswathi Devi: Saraswathi Devi, technically the second female music director in India, has given music to many films in her career spanning from 1930’s to 1960’s. Originally born as a Parsi, Khorshed Minocher-Homji, was trained under the doyen of Hindustani Classical music Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande and was later spotted by Bombay Talkies mogul Himanshu Rai. She along with her sister had a show on All India Radio called Homji Sisters, which was extremely popular. She later had to change her name due to some conflict with Paris Community. A trailblazer of her times, Sarawasthi Devi goes down in History of cinema for her incredible work.

Lata Mangeshkar: Nightingale Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar, needs no introduction. Her career as a playback singer has given us many gems. What people don’t know, is about her genius as a music director. Lata Mangeshkar composed music for many Marathi Films and won awards there too. She took a pen name, Anand Ghan, and composed for films like Mohitnychi Manjula. She later also became a producer of films like Lekin.

Usha Khanna: The third official entry in Hindi Film Industry of a female music composer, Usha Khanna remains to be commercially most successful female music director. We all have grown up on her songs, which we have hummed all along, but didn’t know it was composed a lady. Chodo Kal Ki Baatein, Shayad Meri Shaadi Ka Khyal are two such iconic songs. She started her career with Shammi Kapoor starrer Dil Deke Dekho and went on till early 2000’s.

Merlin D’souza: Known as the female Yanni, Merlin is the only Pianist to have played at Taj Mahal after Yanni. She is not an official music composer for any Bollywood Film, but has scored background music for many hit films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Road and many more. Also she is the brain behind so many jingles that we watch on TV. Merlin performs live on stage, composes for musicals, and makes magic with her music all the time.

Sneha Khanwalkar: Sneha Khanwalkar is all that millennial is about, kickass and amazing talent. Who would guess that music for movies like Gangs Wasseypur is by a lady. Sneha is known for her work in movies like Oye Lucky Oye, Gangs Wasseypur-Part1 and 2. She holds the honour of being nominated in Filmfare Awards for the Gangs of Wasseypur series. The nomination in Filmfare for female music director stayed unbroken for 28 years, initially held by Usha Khanna.