Udit Narayan Jha


उदित नारायण झा, popularly known as Udit Narayan is a playback singer in commercial Nepali-, Hindi-, Telugu-, Tamil-, Malayalam-, and Kannada-language cinema. He was born in a village called Bharadah in Saptari, Nepal.

Udit Narayan began his career by singing Maithili, Bhojpuri, Bengali, English,Nepal Bhasa,and Nepali folk songs for Radio Nepal in the early 1970s. In 1978, he moved to Mumbai on a music scholarship. In Mumbai, he trained in Indian classical music for six years at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He lives in Mumbai right now.

He got his first break in 1980, when noted music director (composer) Rajesh Roshan asked him to do a song for the Hindi movie Unees Bees, in which he got opportunity to sing with his inspiration, Mohammed Rafi. But the actual success story of his career began in 1988 with the superhit Bollywood movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, fetching him a Filmfare Award, the Bollywood equivalent of the Oscar. The film also happened to bring actor Aamir Khan, actress Juhi Chawla and playback singer Alka Yagnik to stardom. After the success of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, he became one of the leading playback singers in the Indian film industry, lending his voice mostly in Aamir Khan movies like Dil, Jo Jeeta Wohi Shikander, etc. At the same time, he became a well-known celebrity in Nepal and sang in most popular Nepali movies. He even acted in some Nepali movies like Kusume Rumal and Pirati but did not get that much success.

Throughout the mid-1990s, he was overshadowed by Kumar Sanu, another superstar Indian singer. He got nominated for Filmfare Awards every year from 1992 to 1995, only to go home empty-handed. While Kumar Sanu won the Filmfare Awards for favorite male playback singer for five consecutive years from 1990 to 1994. The turning point of his career came with the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Even though Kumar Sanu had sung the superhit song "Tujhe Dekha To" in the same movie, it was Udit's song "Mehndi Lagake Rakhna" which won all the accolades including the Filmfare award for best male playback singer. So, finally he got his second filmfare award after 8 years. And the following year (1996) he got nominated for three songs out of five and won his third award for the song "Pardesi Pardesi" from Raja Hindustani.

He reigned the throne of Bollywood playback singing for the next 10 years and won other major awards. He was the number one pick of all the hit musicians like Anu Malik, Jatin Lalit, A. R. Rahman, Nadeem-Shravan, Rajesh Roshan, Shankar Mahadevan, etc., and all the hit directors like Yash Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Karan Johar, etc. His collaboration was mostly popular with king Khan Shahrukh Khan, for whom he has sung major hits for superhit movies like Darr, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Mohabbatein, Swades, Veer Zaara, etc.

Udit Narayan is considered as one of the greatest singers of his generation along with Kumar Sanu and Sonu Nigam, whose singing abilities are often compared with legendary singers like Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. He is famous for his original voice and not following any of the old singers' clans. Renowned singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Anup Jalota, Pankaj Udhas, etc., have mentioned Udit Narayan to be the best in his generation for his quality in voice and originality.

He has also sung several songs in Kannada, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam, where he has become popular on account of his distinctive accent. At the same time, his discernible Nepali accent and distinct pronunciation has many critics who find it difficult to decipher words in his songs.

He also sings in many Nepali films, which are ultra-low-budget take-offs on the Bollywood style, in particular for composer Shambhujeet Baskota. In 2004, he released his first private Nepali album "Upahaar", in which he also sang duet songs with his wife Deepa Jha. It became a superhit and one of the best selling albums of all time. He even ended up winning awards in two major categories - Record of the year and Album of the year during Hits FM Awards 2004, the most popular music awards in Nepal for the same album "Upahaar".

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