Monali Thakur
Monali Thakur

Monali Thakur

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Monali Thakur (born 3 November 1985) is an Indian singer and actress. She is the recipient of several awards including a National Film Award for the song "Moh Moh Ke Dhaage" from the film Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) and a Filmfare Award for the song "Sawaar Loon" from the Film "Lootera" (2013). She has been the judge of Zee TV's singing reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs 2014. She was also an "expert" on Colors TV's Rising Star for two consecutive seasons.

Life and career

Thakur was born on 3 November 1985 in a Bengali musical family in Kolkata. Her father Shakti Thakur was a professional singer and actor in Bengali film industry and her sister Mehuli Thakur is a playback singer in Bengal. She has learnt hip-hop and Bharatanatyam and is also a trained salsa dancer.An alumnus of The Future Foundation School and St. Xavier's College, Kolkata, Thakur started singing in school and college competitions and performing at local functions, In 1999, she sang the first song of her career in the film Chena Chena under the musical direction of Anupam Dutta and penned by legendary lyricist Pulak Bandyopadhyay. It was a Bengali children song titled "Choi Choi Choi Tipi Tipi". The same year, she recorded the title track of Bengali serial Shri Ramkrishna. She received the Best Playback Singer Award at Anandalok Awards for it when she was 14. She rose to popularity after placing ninth in Indian Idol 2.She had to struggle even after Indian Idol to get a strong foothold in the music industry. She got an offer from music director Pritam Chakraborty to sing two songs for the Bollywood film Race in 2008 – "Khwab Dekhe" (Sexy Lady) and "Zara Zara Touch Me". She was originally scheduled to sing only one song, but her first recording impressed the film's directors Abbas–Mustan enough for them to book her a second. "Zara Zara Touch Me" was enormously successful, becoming the fourth-most-played song on Indian radio during the first half of 2008. She also got nominated for an IIFA Award for Best Female Playback and an Apsara Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song "Zara Zara Touch Me". Monali's first large format live concert was at Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav in 2011.She was a judge in the Bengali music reality show Bengali Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li'l Champs for two years. She also appeared in the Bengali show Key Hobe Biggest Fan and was part of Coke Studio.In 2014, Thakur won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song "Sawaar Loon" from the film Lootera. In March 2016, she received the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song "Moh Moh Ke Dhaage" from the film Dum Laga Ke Haisha and earned a nomination at the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the same. In 2018, Thakur appeared in the Zee5 show Lockdown along with Mickey Singh which was produced by Badshah (rapper)'s production house Afterhours. They recreated two tracks, "Jiya Jale" and "Gur Nalon Ishq Meetha". Apart from these Monali has also sung several hits like "Cham Cham" song from 2016 film Baaghi which has garnered more than 800 Million views on YouTube as of October 2020 and The Title Track of 2018 film "Badrinath Ki Dulhania" which she sung along with "Neha Kakkar", "Dev Negi" and "Ikka Singh, has been watched more than 700 Million times on Youtube as of October 2020. Thakur has also released her singles, "Tamanna" (2018), "Shy Mora Saiyaan" (2018), "O Re Naseeba" (2019), "Pani Pani Re" (2019), "Dugga Elo" (2019) and her latest Single is "Dil Ka Fitoor" (2020). In 2020 Thakur has sung 2 more singles: "Aaina" along with Ranajoy Bhattacharjee and "Elo Maa Dugga Thakur" along with Sonu Nigam.

Personal life

Thakur married Maik Richter, a restaurateur based in Switzerland, in 2017. She met Richter during a backpacking trip to Switzerland – he was her Airbnb host. Thakur made the marriage public only in June 2020 after releasing her single "Dil Ka Fitoor" which features her along with Maik.

Early years (2000-2012)

Monali started her career in 2000 with the song 'Sundar Kato Sundar' from the Bengali movie Sajoni Aamar Sohag, sung along with Kavita Krishnamurti, Goutam Ghose and Pratik Choudhary. But this didn't gave her recognition. She become known after participating in second season of Singing Reality show Indian Idol in 2005, She was eliminated very early and stood at 9th position. About her experience with Indian Idol, which ran for up to six months, Thakur said that she was mostly nervous the entire time. "I would get severe anxiety attacks while singing on stage and I wish I had more fun at the time".However, she opened up about the impact of participating in and winning these shows: "You win good money and it gives you face value but you can only capitalise it for no more than a couple of months. The real war starts afterwards once you start working bit by bit".After this, She got her Bollywood Debut song 'Kubool Kar le' in the 2006 film Jaan-E-Mann, though this was first song as a playback singer, composed by Indian Idol judge Anu Malik in 2006, but she considers her real breakthrough to be the superhit Zara Zara Touch Me, by music director Pritam in the 2008 film Race. she sang two songs, 'Khwab Dekhe-Sexy Lady' and 'Zara Zara Touch Me', which was enormously successful. She was originally scheduled to sing only 'Zara Zara Touch Me', but later sung both. According to her: "Ramesh ji and Kumar ji [the producers of Race] had signed me up for an album for Tips at a time independent albums had become extinct, but they liked my voice, and Pritam got me to sing for a scratch recording. Abbas-Mustan [the directors] liked it, and that is how I got the other song, Khwab Dekhe, too". Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama picked it along with 'pehli Nazar Mein' as the biggest hits of the album and praised the song calling it fresh, naughty and seductive. Zara Zara Touch Me became one of the year's biggest chartbusters That year, She also sung the song 'Meow' with Suzanne D'Mello composed by again Pritam. Also, she performed the title track of Bengali Series Ekhane Aakash Neel which is an Official Remake of StarPlus Sanjivani (2002 TV series). In 2009, her first song was 'Khudaya khair' from Billu which she co-sung with Soham Chakrabarty. The song received mixed reviews from critics but Monali was praised for her sweet vocals. Her other songs that year included 'Do Dil Hai Janwa', 'Hai Junoon' and some Bengali tracks like 2 songs, 'Prithibi Onek Boro' and 'Kalke Jilam Jajaber' in Love (2008 Bengali film) and 3 songs in Dujone. In 2010, she sang the song 'Dilrubaon ke Jalwe' in the film Dulha Mil Gaya with Amit Kumar. Shot on Shah Rukh Khan and Sushmita Sen, the song met with positive reviews where Bollywood Hungama praised her completely changed vocals compared to her previous songs. Next, she sang a solo track 'Ishq Mein' in Prince (2010 film). The song was praised where critics called it upbeat and her vocals seductive. That year, she also sang 'Anjaana Anjaani ki Kahani' from Anjaana Anjaani. The refreshing song composed by Vishal–Shekhar along with the whole album received huge critical acclaim. After a series of Bengali songs, like 'It's Only Pyaar', 'O Yaara Ve', 'Bol Na Aar' from Dui Prithibi (2010 film), 3 Tracks in Kellafate, and many more os such, in 2011, she sang songs like 'Naina', 'Ayo Manaye Jashn','Tik Tuk' from Rascals, 'Give it up' from United Six, 'Haal-e-dil' from Bbuddah... Hoga Terra Baap composed by Vishal–Shekhar, co-sung with Amitabh Bachchan. She also lend her voice to 3 songs, 'Ke Se', 'O Shona Eshona' and 'Mon Banjara' to 2011 Bengali film Fighter. This was followed by some more Bengali tracks. In 2012, she sang 'Tu Mohabbat Hai' from Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya with Atif Aslam, composed by Sachin–Jigar, the song received critical acclaim. Apart from other songs that year, she sang 'Aga Bai' along with Shalmali Kholgade from the movie Aiyyaa. The song composed by Amit Trivedi was a hit and had favourable reviews where Filmfare called it a 'Fast-paced Disco Number'. About the song she said: "I was feeling incomplete at the time as I had so much to offer, So, I would complain to Amit [Trivedi], saying what was the point of doing riyaaz [practice] for 10-12 hours if I cannot use it. Then, he asked me to sing a thumri in Aga Bai, parts of which had already been sung by Shalmali Kholgade". Among others, She also Sang a Bengali Track 'Shadow Tales' in the film Aparajita Tumi.Composed by Shantanu Moitra, the song was appreciated by critics.

'Sawaar Loon' and Bollywood film debut as an actress (2013-2014)

In 2013, Thakur sang 'Sawaar Loon', a melodious track composed by Amit Trivedi from the film Lootera. The song met with highly positive reviews, Filmfare wrote, "Monali Thakur instills sugar in our ears, the '50s orchestration, coupled with the perfect pitch of the singer manages to take you back to a bygone era", while Mohar Basu of Koimoi wrote, "A romantic ballad out of the 50s, the song sung by Monali Thakur is astonishingly wonderful. Thakur's heart melting voice is gripping and Amit Trivedi's tunes and Amitabh Bhattacharya's heart wrenching lyrics skillfully weaves a wonderful tapestry of music that we can call sheer finesse. The playful drift of Thakur's voice, is abundant in naivety making the song soulfully innocent". The song won her first Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer. Her next releases that year were 'Hip Hop Pammi' from Ramaiya Vastavaiya sung with Mika Singh, 'Muh Meetha Kara De' from Rabba Main Kya Karoon, 'Laila' from Nasha. Also, she sang the title track of I Don't Luv U along with Neuman Pinto, the singer's voice was praised, though the song was not. 'Raghupati Raghav' from Krrish 3 was her next release, co-sung with Neeraj Shridhar and composed by Rajesh Roshan, the song received praise where singers were applauded for energetic vocals. Her Next releases that year were 2 tracks from the movie I, Me Aur Main, 'Darbadar' in which she collaborated again with Sachin–Jigar and 'Meri Jaaniye' performed alongside Shaan. while the former, a classical touch song, the latter is a Romantic Number with a Western Touch. Both of them were well appreciated by critics where, Suparna Thombare of 'Bollywood Life' stated about 'Darbadar' that "The ektara, clap sounds and Monali Thakur's silken voice lead you into this Sufi number that slowly zooms into a high energy song. Monali gets the chance to sing a semi-classical number for the first time and she truly shines, Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama stated about 'Meri Jaaniye' "It is good to see Monali wear a different hat for this one and step into a Western avtar". She performed a female solo 'Laila' in Nasha, composed by musical duo Sangeet-Siddharth, the song was well received and called a sweet one. That year also, she sang some Bengali tracks. In 2014, Thakur made her film debut with Lakshmi dealing with the harsh realities of human trafficking and child prostitution, which continues behind closed curtains in rural areas of India. Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, the film did not perform well and received mixed reviews by critics but Thakur's performance was praised. She won Best Actress Award at the South-Asian International Film Festival in Washington DC, making her the first Bollywood singer to have won. That year, She also Collaborated with Bappi Lahiri for the Bangla version of the song 'Tune Mari Entriyan' from the film Gunday. The song was a chartbuster in both Hindi and Bangla. Mitesh Saraf of 'Plannet Bollywood' appreciated the song "Bappi Lahiri and Monali Thakur takes centre stage and both does really well in maintaining the entertainment quotient" while, Rediff.com stated "Monali Thakur goes all out to make the best use of the platform provided to her. A chartbuster all the way". She provided English Vocals in the song 'Love Me Thoda Aur' sung by Arijit Singh for the film Yaariyan (2014 film). During the year, She voiced for some other songs, 'Sweety' from Bobby Jasoos performed alongside Aishwarya Nigam and composed by Shantanu Moitra, the song received mixed reviews, the Title Track of Karle Pyaar Karle co-sung with Benny Dayal, the reviews for the songs were fair.

'Moh Moh Ke Dhaage' and further hits (2015-2017)

She began the new year with a song 'Turram Khan' in Hawaizaada, co-sung by Papon and Ayushmann Khurrana. 'Karthik' of Milliblog stated, "superbly led by Papon, till Ayushmann Khurrana and Monali Thakur interject later in the song with a lively melodic distraction". After it, She sung 3 Bengali songs of which 2, 'Ure Geche' and 'Tumi Aashe Paashe' composed by Indraadip Dasgupta from the film Parbona Ami Chartey Tokey, 1 song 'Kono Ek Nilchee Pari' from Black. This year turned out to be again very successful for her when she sung a semi-classical melody 'Moh Moh Ke Dhaage' from the film Dum Laga Ke Haisha starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar and Composed by Anu Malik. A separate male version of the song is sung by Papon. According to her, "It doesn’t happen often that in the world of EDMs and Hiphop Bollywood numbers one gets a chance to sing evergreen rich Indian melody, hence I can’t thank Anu Ji enough to trust me as a singer with this beautiful song "Moh Moh Ke Dhaage" , thus keeping a promise he made years back to me in a reality show where I was just a contestant". The Song became a Chartbuster and was Highly appreciated by Audience as well as Critics. Prateek Sur of 'Bollywood Life' commented, "Monali impresses with her melodic vocals". The song won her several awards including National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer at the 63rd National Film Awards, IIFA Award for Best Female Playback Singer at 17th IIFA Awards. Also, she was nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the same. The composer Anu Malik as well as lyricist of the song Varun Grover won several awards. Varun won National Film Award for Best Lyrics for it. As of 2021, the lyrical video of the song has garnered more than 130 Million views on YouTube. On winning prestigious National Award, Thakur says, "This gives a lot of happiness when you know that you have won an award or for that matter that you have been nominated for your work. I realised the actual gravity of this award when I saw the reactions of family and friends". Monali Thakur discographyHindi songs70Non-film songs26Non-Hindi film songs50Total146This is the list of songs recorded by an Indian female playback singer Monali Thakur.
Source: Wikipedia

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