Vani Jairam (born 30 November 1945 in Tamil Nadu) is a playback singer in Indian cinema, primarily in South Indian languages, although she has a wider repertoire. Vani's career started in 1971 and has spanned over four decades. She has sung playback for several Indian movies. In addition, she has recorded several private albums and participated in numerous solo concerts in India and abroad.
Songs like Ezhu Swarangalukkul, Keliviyin Nayangane, Ennulil Engo, Yaaradhu sollamal, Megamae Megamae, Kavidhai Kelungal Nadhamenum "Aana kana" and "Sugamana ragangale" O priyatama karuneya toreya, sada kannali pranayada, hodeya doora o jotegara are her musical tracks that were regarded as difficult. Known for her voice range, Vani's genres are film music, pop, ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian classical music and folk songs. Apart from Hindi, she has sung in several Indian languages, such as Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Odia, Gujarati and Bengali languages.
Vani won the National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer three times and also has won State Government awards from the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
Vani Jairam was born in Vellore in Tamil Nadu, in a family of musicians. Her mother Padmavathi is the disciple of Ranga Ramunaja Iyengar. He taught her a few Dikshitar kritis. The fifth daughter in a family of six daughters and three sons, was first heard on All India Radio, Madras, at the age of eight.
Vani Jairam studied Carnatic music under the tutelage of Cuddalore Srinivasa Iyengar, T. R. Balasubramanian and R. S. Mani. Her Hindustani classical music guru was Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan.
After her marriage to Jairam she settled in Mumbai.
In 1971, Jairam featured in the Hindi feature film Guddi. She recorded three songs for Guddi, and "Bole Re Papi Hara," a song based on the Hindustani raga "Miyan ki Malhar,". She was awarded the Tansen Samman (for best classical-based song in a Hindi film), the Lions International Best Promising Singer award, the All India Cinegoers Association award, and the All India Film-goers Association award for the Best Playback Singer in 1971.
She went on to sing a few songs each for music directors of Hindi cinema, including Chitragupta, Naushad (a classical song in Pakeezah (1972) and a duet with Asha Bhosle in Aaina (1977)), Madan Mohan (a duet with Kishore Kumar in the film Ek Mutthi Aasmaan), O.P. Nayyar (several songs from the film Khoon Ka Badla Khoon including duets with Mohammed Rafi and also with Uttara Kelkar and Pushpa Pagdhare), R. D. Burman (a duet with Mukesh in Chhalia), Kalyanji Anandji, Laxmikant Pyarelal, and Jaidev (a duet with Manna Dey in Parinay and a solo in Solwa Saawan). Her songs in Meera (1979), composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar, won her the Filmfare Award.Around 1974, she shifted her base to Madras and soon became a sought-after singer in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam cinema. In 1981, she sang Kanana Poikayil Kalabham along with K. J. Yesudas in the composition of M. K. Arjunan for the film Ariyapedatha Rahasiyam (1981) directed by P. Venu. She sang so many Kannada hit songs with Dr.Rajkumar. Rajkumar and Vani jairam pair is still popular in Karnataka.She worked with almost all the leading music directors of south namely M. S. Viswanathan, M. B. Sreenivasan, K. V. Mahadevan, M. K. Arjunan, Jerry Amaldev Ilayaraaja and the noted Bengali music directorSalil Chowdhary. With the future Academy award winner, A. R. Rahman, she recorded a duet with S. P. Balasubramanyam in the song "Sugam sugam athu" for the film Vandicholai Chinnarasu in 1994.
Besides Hindi and Tamil, Vani Jairam has made recordings in Gujarati, Marathi, Marwari, Haryanvi, Bengali and Tulu, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Oriya. She has been awarded many prestigious awards, among them are Best Female Playback Singer for states of Gujarat (1975), Tamil Nadu (1980) and Orissa (1984).One of her most famous Marathi songs, "Runanubandhachya", is a duet with the classical Hindustani singer Kumar Gandharva. This song was composed by Vani's mentor Vasant Desai for a Marathi drama called Dev Deenaghari Dhaavlaa. The lyrics were written by Bal Kolhatkar. Vani's contribution to the Kannada film industry is really outstanding. She has sung many blockbuster songs and many challenging songs in Kannada language. Veteran music composer Vijay bhaskar's first choice was always Vani jairam. She has worked with many music directors, including Vijay bhaskar, Rajan nagendra, Hamsalekha, L. Vaidyanath, C. Ashwath and others. She sang four songs for the 2001's Kannada movie Neela. Vani jairam sang two songs in the film like a throat cancer patient which are really difficult to sing.Those are "kannanu mucchabahudu" and "kotta daniya kottanthe". Vani jairam's most famous Kannada songs are sada kannale pranayada, karuneya thoreya, endendu ninnanu marethu,Kannada naadina karaavali, hodeya doora o jothegara, o nalle savinudiya, kareyuva kolalina, jeevana sanjeevana, kanasalu neene manasalu neene, theredide mane o baa atithi, neela megha shyama, laali laali sukumara and many more.
Vani Jairam has recorded "Holi Songs" and "Thumri Dadra & Bhajans" with Pandit Briju Maharaj. She has also recorded "Gita Govindam" composed by Prafullakar with Odissi Guru Kelucharan Mohopatra playing the Pakhawaj. Vani Jairam has also released "Murugan Songs" with songs written by her with music composed by her.
Her more recently released songs include "Thiruppugazh" in the film soundtrack for Kaaviya Thalaivan, and "Narayana" in the film Ramanujan.