Quiz on Indian women playback singers

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on September 27, 2019 Published on September 27, 2019

On Lata Mangeshkar’s 90th birthday, a quiz on Indian women playback singers

Her story and voice

1 Which legendary music director did Lata Mangeshkar regard as her mentor after the death of Master Vinayak? He also gave Mangeshkar her first major break with the song, Dil mera toda, mujhe kahin ka na chhoda, in the 1948 film, Majboor.

2 One more on Lata Mangeshkar. Other than singing, in which way did she contribute to the Marathi films Ram Ram Pavhana, Maratha Tituka Melvava and Sadhi Mansa? The list is not exhaustive.

3 In the mid-’80s, which prolific Indian playback singer performed with Boy George for the song Bow Down Mister. She later also recorded a song with Michael Stipe of REM for the film Bulletproof Monk?

4 Which playback artiste got her first break in the mythological film Bhakta Prahlad (1946), but really first became known for the songs she sang for her director husband, whom she met while recording for Baazi (1951)?

5 Born to a family of musicians, this singer has collaborated and sung for the likes of Ilaiyaraaja, AR Rahman and Harris Jayaraj . She also sang Pi’s Lullaby for the film, Life of Pi, based on Yann Martel’s novel of the same name. Name this accomplished performer, who is commonly referred to by the name of the city in which she was born.

6 This child prodigy started her career with performances for All India Radio Calcutta as a six-year-old, before her mother took her to Mumbai. But it was her performance in a Silsila score by Shiv-Hari that first got her fame in the early ’80s. Name this performer, most often remembered for a song involving a reverse countdown.

7 This talented singer got her first break in Hindi films through composer Ravindra Jain and won her first Filmfare Award for the film Chitchor. Identify this singer, most associated with the song Ankhiyon ke jharokhon se. She has many duets with Yesudas.

8 An actress and acclaimed folk singer, this singer is most remembered for a song picturised on Madhuri Dixit in 1993. It also won her a Filmfare Award. Identify this singer, the sister of two Indian advertising legends.

9 Taran Kaur Dhillon was born in Kanpur, but first broke into the music scene in the UK. Her performance for Johnny Gaddaar was followed by songs in Bachna Ae Haseeno, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and Prince. By which name is she better known?

10 Which gifted comic actress started her career as a playback singer in the ’40s, with huge hits such as Afsana likh rahi hoon dil-e-beqarar ka, Yeh kaun chala meri aankhon mein sama kar and Aaj machi hai dhoom, jhoom Khushi Se Jhoom?


1 Ghulam Haider

2 She composed the music, using the pseudonym Anand Ghan. Sadhi Mansa even won an award for music direction from the Maharashtra government

3 Asha Bhosle. Other interesting collaborations were with Sanjay Dutt and cricketer Brett Lee

4 Geeta Dutt. She married Guru Dutt in 1953

5 ‘Bombay’ Jayashri Ramnath

6 Alka Yagnik. Really hit it big with Ek Do Teen from the film Tezaab

7 Hemlata

8 Ila Arun, sister of Piyush and Prasoon Pandey

9 Hard Kaur

10 Uma Devi, better know as Tun Tun


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster; Twitter: @joybhattacharj

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Published on September 27, 2019
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