Sharda Rajan Iyengar was an Indian singer, lyricist, and music director who sang many songs in Bollywood in the 1970s and 1980s. She passed away on 14 June 2023 due to cancer.
Sharda Rajan Iyengar also known as Sharda or Sharada was born in Kumbakonam in the Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu in India (then-Madras Presidency, British India). As per one source, she was born on Wednesday, 25 October 1933 (age 89 years; at the time of death), and as per another source, she was born on Monday, 25 October 1937 (age 85 years; at the time of death). Her zodiac sign is Scorpio. She learnt Sanskrit and Vedic culture from her grandfather. She was interested in music since childhood and performed in many school functions. She later pursued a bachelor’s degree in arts. She later learnt under many esteemed gurus including Pandit Jagannath Prasad, Pandit Laxman Prasad Jaipurwale, and Nirmala Devi (aka Nirmala Arun), the mother of Indian actor Govinda. She was performing at a show in Tehran, Iran when Raj Kapoor, the famous Indian actor and director, spotted her and asked her to give a voice test at R. K. Studios. She later started her career as a musician in Bollywood.
Hair Colour: Salt and pepper
Eye Colour: Black
She was born into a Brahmin Vaishnavite Iyengar family in Tamil Nadu.
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information about her parents. She had a sister named Srithala Rajan and a brother named Desikan Bharathan who was a scientist and died in August 2018.
Husband & Children
There is not much information about her husband. She had a daughter named Sudha Madeira who is married to Dudley Madeira and a son named Shammi Rajan.
She had a maternal granddaughter named Sonya Madeira Welde who is married to Rahul Welde. She had a maternal great-granddaughter named Lilya Welde. She had two grandsons named Vikrant Rajan and Vedant Rajan.
She followed Hinduism.
She resided at 602, Jyoti Building, 68 Napeansea Road, Rungta Lane, Mumbai – 400006 Maharashtra, India
After clearing the voice test, she was given practical singing training by the acclaimed composer duo Shankar-Jaikishan and later started singing under their direction. She later sang in many films including Around the World in 8 Dollars, Suraj, Gumnaam, Pyar Mohabbat, Shatranj, An Evening in Paris, Gunahon Ka Devta, Sapnon Ka Saudagar, and Ek Naari Ek Brahmachari.
She came to the limelight in 1966 after her song Titli Udi from the film Suraj became a blockbuster, and she was nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Playback Singer. Sharda shared the nomination with Mohammed Rafi who was nominated for Baharo Phool Barsao, She had to share the award with Rafi because back then, there were no separate categories for giving the awards to the singers. The Filmfare awards committee started giving awards separately to male and female singers the following year. From 1968 to 1971, she was nominated for Filmfare awards for four consecutive years.
During her career, she sang songs with many other noted singers including Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar, Yesudas, Mukesh, and Suman Kalyanpur. She also sang songs in Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and English language. Her songs were picturised by almost all leading actresses of the 70s and the 80s including Vyjayanthimala, Sadhana, Saira Banu, Hema Malini, Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz, Rekha, and Helen.
She also sang under many famed music directors including Usha Khanna, Ravi, Dattaram, and Iqbal Qureshi.
She sang her final song for the 1986 Hindi film Kaanch Ki Deewar (1986); however, she continued to release albums, ghazals, and bhajans. On 21 July 2007, she released her Ghazal album Andaaz-e-Bayaan Aur, which was a compilation of ghazals of Mirza Ghalib.
In 1980, she wrote the song Ek Chehra Dil Ke Kareeb for the film Garam Khoon (1980) under the pen name Singaar, which was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and filmed on Sulakshana Pandit.
In the 1970s, she worked as a music director for many films including Maa Behen Aur Biwi (1974), Tu Meri Main Tera (1980), Kshitij (1974), Mandir Masjid (1977), and Maila Anchal (1981). In 1974, Mohammed Rafi sang the song Achcha Hi Hua Dil Toot Gaya for the film Maa Behen Aur Biwi under her direction, for which he was nominated for Filmfare Best Male Playback Singer Award.
- U. P. Film Journalist Award under the Best Playback Singer category in 1966
- Filmfare Award for Best Playback Singer for the song Titli Udi of the film Suraj in 1966
- Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song Baat Zara Hai Aapas Ki from the film Jahan Pyar Miley in 1970
- Special Award by the Music Composer Association of India in 2021
- Lifetime Achievement Award by Bollywood Pulse Entertainment in 2023
She died on 14 June 2023 in Mumbai, India, after battling cancer for many years. Her death was announced to the world by her daughter Sudha on Facebook.
- She became the first Indian female singer to release a pop album titled Sizzlers in 1971.
- She was a trained Tanpura player.