Usha Uthup on Padma Bhushan: I couldn't believe, I haven't learned music - Hindustan Times
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Usha Uthup on Padma Bhushan: People thought good girls have gentle voice in films, strong voice like mine for bad girls

ByRishabh Suri
Jan 28, 2024 05:10 PM IST

Veteran singer Usha Uthup gets talking about her Padma Bhushan win.

Usha Uthup’s first reaction on bagging the Padma Bhushan was being ‘stunned’. Singing for more than 50 years now, the veteran’s path in this field has been different from others. Telling us all about why she reacted the way she did, she says, “I couldn’t believe it. I got a call from the ministry in Delhi, and told to keep it under wraps until they announce it. I can imagine if I learned classical music... but I was someone who sings all genres which are jazz, folk or foreign languages. I started off my career as a nightclub stage singer, and did whatever few films that I got. They were all big hits, but one does really think how this honour happened.”

Singer Usha Uthup
Singer Usha Uthup

The 76-year-old, popular for tracks such as Darling (7 Khoon Maaf, 2011), One Two Cha Cha Cha (Shalimar, 1978), and Hari Om Hari (Pyaara Dushman, 1980) adds that she had to battle getting typecast in order to emerge victorious with her unique voice. “People would think in our Indian films, all good girls in films would have that gentle pure voice, so my voice naturally was for the bad girls, item songs. I turned all these things into my stremgth. It’s normal for a learned singer or dancer to get the Padma Bhushan, but not for somebody who has totally learned music myself,” beams Uthup.

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She only has gratitude right now, “Thank God it happened! I thank my country and my government for acknowledging my work and effort. It is wonderful for the next generation to know if you really believe in something, you should just do it. I also thank my family for their support, it’s very important. My technicians and everybody who has brought me here.”

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