A playback singer is a singer whose singing is pre-recorded for use in movies. Playback singers record songs for soundtracks, and actors or actresses lip-sync the songs for cameras; the actual singer does not appear on the screen.
South Asian movies produced in the Indian subcontinent are particularly known for using this technique. A majority of Indian movies as well as Pakistani movies typically include six or seven songs. After Alam Ara (1931), the first Indian talkie film, for many years singers made dual recordings for a film, one during the shoot, and later in the recording studio, until 1952 or 1953. Popular playback singers in India enjoy the same status as popular actors, and music directors,and they also receive wide public admiration. Most of the playback singers are initially trained in classical music, but they later often expand their range. Mohammed Rafi and Ahmed Rushdi are regarded as two of the most influential playback singers in South Asia. The sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, who have mainly worked in Hindi films, are often referred to as two of the best-known and prolific playback singers in India. In 2011, Guinness officially acknowledged Bhosle as the most recorded artist in music history.
Playback singing is a well known component of Hollywood musicals though less frequent in other genres. Notable Hollywood performances include Anita Ellis as the voice of Rita Hayworth's Gilda. Both Anita Ellis's and Rita Hayworth's performances were so impressive that audiences did not know that Rita's voice had been dubbed. Called "the sexiest voice of 1946", Ellis's identity was not publicized. Rita Hayworth was instead credited on the soundtrack despite being sung by Ellis. This led audiences to believe for years that her voice belonged to Hayworth. There have been other uses of playback singing throughout Hollywood, including Marni Nixon in West Side Story for Natalie Wood's portrayal of Maria, in The King and I for Deborah Kerr's Anna Leonowens, and for Audrey Hepburn's Eliza in My Fair Lady ; Bill Lee singing for John Kerr's Lieutenant Cable in South Pacific and for Christopher Plummer's Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music ,Lindsay Ridgeway for Ashley Peldon's character as Darla Dimple in the animated film Cats Don't Dance , Claudia Brücken providing the singing voice for Erika Heynatz's character as Elsa Lichtmann in L.A. Noire , and Betty Noyes singing for Debbie Reynolds in Singin' in the Rain , a movie in which playback singing is a major plot point.
Lata Mangeshkar is an Indian playback singer and music director. She is one of the best-known and most respected playback singers in India. She has recorded songs in over a thousand Hindi films and has sung songs in over thirty-six regional Indian languages and foreign languages, though primarily in Marathi, Hindi, Bengali and Assamese.
Asha Bhosle is an Indian playback singer and an entrepreneur. She is best known for her playback singing in Hindi cinema, although she has a wider repertoire. Bhosle's career started in 1943 and has spanned over seven decades. She has done playback singing for over a thousand Bollywood movies. In addition, she has recorded several private albums and participated in numerous solo concerts in India and abroad. In 2006, Asha Bhosle stated that she had sung over 12,000 songs, a figure repeated by several other sources. In 2011, she was officially acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in music history. The Government of India honoured her with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008. Bhosle is the sister of playback singer Lata Mangeshkar.
Abhas Kumar Ganguly, better known by his stage name Kishore Kumar was an Indian playback singer, actor, music director, lyricist, writer, director, producer and screenwriter. He was one of the most popular singers in the Indian film industry and from soft numbers to peppy tracks to romantic moods, Kumar sang in different genres but some of his rare compositions which were considered classics were lost in time. According to Ashok Kumar, Kumar's success came because his voice hit the microphone straight at its most sensitive point.
Mohammed Rafi was an Indian playback singer. He is considered as one of the greatest and most influential singers of the Indian subcontinent. Rafi was notable for his voice, versatility and range; his songs were varied from fast peppy numbers to patriotic songs, sad numbers to highly romantic songs, qawwalis to ghazals and bhajans to classical songs. He was known for his ability to mould his voice to the persona and style of an actor, lip-syncing the song on screen in the movie. He received six Filmfare Awards and one National Film Award. In 1967, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India. In 2001, Rafi was honoured with the "Best Singer of the Millennium" title by Hero Honda and Stardust magazine. In 2013, Rafi was voted for the Greatest Voice in Hindi Cinema in the CNN-IBN's poll.
Noor Jehan, also known by her honorific title Malika-e-Tarannum, was a Pakistani playback singer and actress who worked first in British India and then in Pakistan. Her career spanned more than six decades (1930s–1990s). She was renowned as one of the greatest and most influential singers of all time especially throughout South Asia and was given the honorific title of Malika-e-Tarannum in Pakistan. She had a command of Hindustani classical music as well as other music genres.
Filmi music soundtracks are music produced for India's mainstream motion picture industry and written and performed for Indian cinema. In cinema, music directors make up the main body of composers; the songs are performed by playback singers and the genre represents 72% of the music sales market in India.
Rahul Dev Burman was an Indian music director. He is often regarded as one of the most predominant musical forces that Indian cinema has ever witnessed. From the 1960s to the 1990s, Burman composed musical scores for 331 films. Burman did major work with his wife, Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar and scored many of the songs that made these singers famous. He has also scored many songs sung by his sister-in-law, Lata Mangeshkar. Nicknamed Pancham, he was the only son of the composer Sachin Dev Burman.
Alka Yagnik is an Indian playback singer. She is noted in Indian cinema for a career spanning over three decades. She holds a record of being the only nominee in the category of Female Playback Singer, as in the year 1994 she had three solo nominations and the fourth one was with Ila Arun. She is a record seven-time winner from a record of 36 nominations of the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer, a two-time recipient of the National Film Award as well as several other music awards and honours listed below. Further, as many as twenty of her tracks feature in BBC's "Top 40 Bollywood Soundtracks of all time" review. She is one of the prolific female playback singers who has sung maximum number of female solos in her Bollywood career. She is ranked No. 1 in the YouTube's Music Charts & Insights list of top global artists as of 16 July 2020. She has been on the chart for 200 weeks with 403 million views.
Udit Narayan is an Indian playback singer whose songs have been featured mainly in Bollywood movies of Hindi language. He has also sung in various other languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Nepali, Bhojpuri, Bengali. He has won 4 National Film Awards and 5 Filmfare Awards with 20 nominations among many others. He had to struggle a lot even after his debut in 1980 in Bollywood playback. He got to sing with legends Mohammed Rafi in his Bollywood Playback debut in movie Unees-Bees in 1980 and also with Kishore Kumar in the 1980s. He finally made his mark in 1988 movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla, his song "Papa Kehte Hain" was his notable performance which earned him his first Filmfare Award in the 1980s and he established himself in Bollywood Playback Singing. He is the only male singer in the history of the Filmfare Awards to have won in over three decades.
Kedarnath Bhattacharaya, better known as Kumar Sanu, is an Indian Bollywood playback singer. He is often popularly called as King of Melody. He is famous for singing thousands of Bollywood songs. Apart from Hindi, he has also sang in other languages including Marathi, Assamese, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Punjabi, Oriya, Chhattisgarhi, Urdu, Pali, English, Spanish and his native language, Bengali, both in West Bengal and Bangladesh. He is holding the record for winning five consecutive Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer (1990-1994) along with Arijit Singh. For his contribution to Indian cinema and music, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009 by the Government of India. He is the first Indian playback singer who have been honoured by the United States state of Ohio, where the Mayor Michael R. Turner has declared 31st March as Kumar Sanu Day. He has also felicitated at the UK Houses of Parliament, along with Anuradha Paudwal for contribution in Indian Music and also social services by Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group. As many as 25 of his tracks feature in BBC's "Top 40 Bollywood Soundtracks of all time".
Runa Laila is a Bangladeshi playback singer and composer. She is one of the best-known singers in South Asia. She started her career in Pakistan film industry in late 1960s. Her style of singing is inspired by Pakistani playback singer Ahmed Rushdi and she also made a pair with him after replacing another singer Mala. Her playback singing in films – The Rain (1976), Jadur Banshi (1977), Accident (1989), Ontore Ontore (1994), Devdas (2013) and Priya Tumi Shukhi Hou (2014) - earned her seven Bangladesh National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer. She won the Best Music Composer award for the film Ekti Cinemar Golpo (2018).
Madan Mohan Kohli, better known as Madan Mohan, was a popular and unparalleled Indian music director of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He is considered one of the most melodious and skilled music directors of the Hindi film industry. He is particularly remembered for the immortal ghazals he composed for Hindi films. Some of his best works are with singers Mohammed Rafi, Talat Mahmood, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Suman Kalyanpur is an Indian playback singer. One of the best-known and most respected playback singers in India. Many people believe that she could not reach the stature and position which her talent really warranted, in spite of having all the mandatory characteristics required to make a mark in the field of playback singing like great knowledge of classical music, a melodious voice and a wide range.
Laxmikant–Pyarelal are a popular and successful Indian composer duo, consisting of Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar (1937–1998) and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma. They are considered among the most successful composers in Hindi film history and composed music for about 750 Hindi movies from 1963 to 1998, working for almost all notable filmmakers, including Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, B.R. Chopra, Shakti Samanta, Manmohan Desai, Yash Chopra, Boney Kapoor, J. Om Prakash, Raj Khosla, L V Prasad, Subhash Ghai, K Viswanath and Manoj Kumar.
Ahmed Rushdi, SI, PP was a versatile Pakistani playback singer and was "an important contributor to the golden age of Pakistani film music." Regarded as one of the greatest singers in South Asia who could sing high tenor notes with ease, he is best known for his versatility and distinctive voice, with complex and dark emotional expressions. Considered as the first pop singer of South Asia, he sang South Asia's first pop song, Ko Ko Korina, in the 1966 film Armaan.
Shabbir Kumar is an Indian playback singer, notable for his work in Hindi cinema.
Mo.. Aziz was an Indian playback singer in the Bollywood, Bengali and Odia film industries. He was one of the most popular singers in Hindi film industry in mid and late 1980s and early 1990s.
Sachin Dev Burman was an Indian music director and singer. A member of the Tipra royal family, he started his career with Bengali films in 1937. He later began composing for Hindi movies and became one of the most successful and influential Bollywood film music composers. Burman composed the soundtracks for over 100 movies, including Hindi and Bengali films. Apart from being a versatile composer, he also sang songs in the light semi-classical and folk style of Bengal. His son, R. D. Burman, was also a celebrated music composer for Bollywood films.
A ghost singer is a professional singer who dubs the singing parts officially credited, or billed, to another person, usually the star or co-star of a musical or film, especially those whose specialty is dancing, acting or for non-musical performers such as celebrities cast in musicals.
The Mangeshkar family is a prominent Indian family, headed by Deenanath Mangeshkar. The family is of Maharashtrian origin from paternal side and Gujarati origin from maternal side. Many members of the family have been successful singers/music composers in the Hindi film industry.
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