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Her songs & saris have set newer trends in Bollywood; meet Usha Uthup, who is a style icon @72!

Usha Uthup started her career from a nightclub in Chennai

Her starting salary was Rs 750 a month in 1960s

She was the only singer to have been singing in the nighclub wearing a saree

Do you know that renowned Bollywood singer Usha Uthup started her career from a nightclub in Chennai somewhere around 1960s drawing a starting salary of Rs 750 a month?

The legendary singer, who is known for her distinguished style with a big bindi on her forehead and pretty saris, in fact, went to a night club for singing wearing sari.

On her first day of her job in the nightclub, the first comment she received was, ‘What will this Amma sing here?’

However, she remained deterred.

“There were other girls who were wearing short dresses, those black dresses but I was draped in sari.  I avoided all comments and concentrated to give my best and soon all those comments turned into compliments, says Usha speaking in an event in Jaipur.

But the singer holds all positive memories from her first job; in fact, she quotes it as her preliminary school where she learnt a lot.

With her distinguished voice, Usha Uthup made a mark in the industry which needs no introduction. In fact, her husky voice demarcates her from rest of singers.

Also, her ability to sing in myriad languages makes her the queen of music industry.

This wonderful singer has given her voice to numerous songs sung in Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi and of course Hindi.

Usha sings all her songs with equal elan.

When asked how she manages the show in all these languages, she promptly answers ‘Because I am a true Bharatiya.’

She is quick to say that she was born in a Madrasi (Tamilian) family, then she studied in Mumbai, married to a Keralite and lived in Kolkata.

“Doesn’t this sound amazing,” she asks.

She strongly feels that one needs to break the set notions no matter where you are and accepts that even Bollywood has set certain stereotypes in the industry.

“While renowned singers including Lataji and Asha ji (Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle) were given the songs of Bollywood heroines, I was asked to sing for vamps in films. However, I managed to break the notion that good females always come with that feeble, sweet voice. 

“Ultimately, I started singing for Bollywood divas — be it Rekha, Sridevi among many others.”

Am proud to have my signature style of singing, she says adding, “I can’t sing like anybody, but only like me. What I can do on stage, I can, but not all that everyone else is doing,” she said.

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