Vani Jairam Age, Death, Family, Biography & More

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Hometown: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Husband: T. S. Jayaraman
Age: 77 Years

Vani Jairam

Birth nameKalaivani [1]Deccan Herald
Other nameDoraiswamy Kalaivani
ProfessionPlayback Singer
Debut as a playback singerFilm:
Hindi: Guddi (1971)
Guddi's poster
Tamil: Or Idam Unnidam from the film Veettukku Vandha Marumagal (1973)
Veettukku Vandha Marumagal's poster
Telugu: Eppativalekaadura Naa Swami from the film Abhimanavanthulu (1973)
Abhimanavanthulu's poster
Malayalam: Sourayudhathil Vidarnnoru from the film Swapnam (1973)
Swapnam's poster
Kannada: Kesarina Kamala (1973)
Kesarina Kamala's poster
Awards, Honours, Achievements • India's third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan (posthumously) (2023)
• Bhavan’s Legendary Award (2022)
Vani Jairam receiving Bahavan's Legendary Award
• Kalaimamani Award from the Tamil Nadu state government (2021)
• Life Time Achievement Award by Pravasi Express Awards held in Singapore (2018)
• M.S. Subbulakshmi Award by Sankara Nethralya (2018)
• Ghantasala national award by the Ghantasala National Art Academy (2017)
Vani receiving Ghantasala national award
• Vanitha Film Awards under the Best Singer category (2017)
• Best Female Playback Singer - Malayalam by the North American Film Awards (2017)
• Red FM Music Awards for Best Duet with Yesudas (2016)
• Raindropss' Life Time Achievement Award during the Women Achievers Award Ceremony (2015)
• Best Playback Singer Award from Asiavision Awards for the film 1983's soundtrack Olanjali Kuruvi (2014)
• Kannadasan Award by Kannadasan Kazagam (2014)
• Radio Mirchi's Life Time Achievement Award (2014)
• Pride of Indian Music Award by Yuva Kala Vahini (2014)
• The 60th South Indian Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (2013)
Vani holding her 60th South Indian Filmfare Award
• P Susheela Award (2013)
• Subramanya Bharathi Award (2012)
• South Indian Meera title by Dasari Cultural Academy (2007)
• Mudhra Award of Excellence from Mudhra Academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2006)
• Kamukara Award for her contribution to South Indian music (2004)
• M.K. Thyagarajar Bhagavathar - Life Time Achievement Award from the Tamil Nadu state government (2004)
• Vibrant Indian Award (2003)
A newspaper cutout of Vani receiving the Vibrant Indian Award
• Sangeet Peet Samman (1992)
• National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer for Anathineeyara Hara from the Telugu film Swathi Kiranam (1991)
• Kalaimamani Award from Tamil Nadu State (1991)
• Odisha State Film Award for Best Singer for Debjani (1982)
• National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer for the Telugu film Sankarabharanam (1980)
• Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for Mere Toh Giridhar Gopal from the Hindi film Meera (1980)
• Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback for the Tamil film Azhagae Unnai Aradhikkiren (1979)
• Film World and Cine Herald Awards for Mere To Giridhar Gopal from the Hindi film Meera (1979)
• Nandi Award for Best Female Playback Singer for Sankarabharanam (1979)
• National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer for the Tamil film Apoorva Raagangal (1975)
• Gujarat State Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for Ghoongat (1972)
• Mian Tansen Award for Best Film Playback Singer of Classical Song in Films, The Lions International Best Promising Singer, The All India Cinegoers Association, and the All India Film-goers Association awards for the Best Playback Singer for Bol Re Papihara from the Hindi film Guddi (1971)
Personal Life
Date of Birth30 November 1945 (Friday)
BirthplaceVellore, Madras Presidency, British India (now Tamil Nadu, India)
Date of Death4 February 2023
Place of DeathChennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Age (at the time of death)77 Years
Death CauseInjury on the forehead [2]Deccan Herald
Zodiac signSagittarius
Nationality• British Indian (1945-1947)
• Indian (1947-2023)
HometownChennai, Tamil Nadu, India
SchoolLady Sivaswamy Ayyar Girls' Higher Secondary School, Chennai
College/UniversityQueen Mary's College, Chennai
Educational QualificationShe completed her graduation at Queen Mary's College [3]The Times of India
EthnicityTamil [4]The Hindu
Relationships & More
Marital Status (at the time of death)Married
Marriage Date4 February 1969
Husband/SpouseT. S. Jayaraman (deceased; 2018)
Vani with her husband
ChildrenThe couple did not have any children [5]Business Standard
ParentsFather- Duraisamy Iyengar (deceased)
Mother- Padmavathi (deceased; Carnatic vocalist)
SiblingsBrother(s)- 3
Sister(s)- 5
• Uma

Note: She was the second-youngest child in her family
SingerMohammed Rafi
Vani Jairam (extreme left) with Mohammad Rafi

Vani Jairam (in the center)

Some Lesser Known Facts About Vani Jairam

  • Vani Jairam was an Indian playback singer who has sung over 10,000 songs in 19 different Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Gujarati, and Bengali. She died on 4 February 2023 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, aged 77.
  • Vani Jairam started learning to sing at an early age after her parents enrolled her on Ranga Ramunaja Iyengar’s classes. There, she was taught how to recite the Kritis written by Muthuswami Dikshitar. Later, she received training in Carnatic music from Kadalur Srinivas Iyengar, T. R. Balasubramanian, and R. S. Mani.
  • Vani sang publically for the first time at the age of 8 on All India Radio (AIR), Madras. In an interview, Vani said that she liked to listen to songs on Ceylon radio, especially Hindi songs, despite her mother’s disapproval. Talking about it, she said,

    Radio was a very big part of our childhood. Hindi film songs enchanted me and forever I was tuned to Radio Ceylon to listen to Binaca Geethmala. I have heard all those golden songs innumerable times, so much so that I knew the complete orchestration of each of them.”

  • After completing her graduation, Vani cleared the banking services examination and joined the State Bank of India (SBI) in Madras.
  • In 1967, she was posted to the Hyderabad branch of the SBI.
  • She moved to Bombay in 1969 after she got married to T. S. Jayaraman. There, Jayaraman introduced Vani to Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan, a Patiala Gharana Hindustani classical singer, who started training her in Hindustani classical music for eight hours a day. Later, Abdul asked Vani to quit her job at the SBI, to which she agreed. Talking about her Hindustani classical training, she said,

    He used to come to our apartment and classes would begin at 10 a.m. every day. It would go on till late evening. The lessons were so rigorous that after a few days, he told me to give up my State Bank of India job, and I did.”

  • Vani appeared in her first concert with Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan in Bombay in 1969 after she left her job. Talking about her first concert, in an interview, she said,

    After I learnt the nuances of Thumri, Bhajan and Ghazals, I gave my first public concert in 1969 in Bombay.”

  • Later, Vani was introduced to Vasant Desai, a music composer, by Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan following which Vani lent her voice to a Marathi song Runanubandhachya and worked along with Kumar Gandharva. In an interview, Vani said that initially, Kumar Gandharva had refused to sing with Vani, but after he listened to her sing, he agreed to work with her. Talking about it, she said,

    My guru had told Vasant Desai about me. He listened to my performance that day and asked me to come over to the studios.”

    A photo of Vani Jairam taken while she was recording a song

    A photo of Vani Jairam taken while she was recording a song

  • Vani got a major break in 1971 after she rendered her voice to three tracks from the 1971 Bollywood film Guddi, starring Dharmendra and Jaya Bachchan. The film’s track Humko Mann Ki Shakti Dena was later adopted by many Indian schools as a part of its morning prayer.
  • In the 1972 Hindi film Pakeezah, Vani lent her voice to the film’s soundtrack More Saajan Souten Ghar.
  • She sang a song in the 1973 Bollywood film Ek Mutthi Aasmaan with Kishore Kumar.
  • In 1973, she lent her voice to her first Tamil film Thayum Seiyum; however, neither the film nor the song was released.
  • In 1974, she sang Malligai En Mannan Mayangum for the Tamil film Dheerga Sumangali.
  • Vani sang Bhaavavemba Hoovu Arali for the 1974 Kannada film Upasana.
  • For singing several songs for the 1975 Tamil film Apoorva Raagangal, Vani received the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer.
  • In the same year, Vani sang Poojalu Cheya and Ennenno Janmala Bandham for the Telugu film Pooja.
  • She sang Chithravarnapushpajaalamorukki for the 1974 Malayalam film Ayalathe Sundari.
  • In 1977, she worked with Asha Bhosle and rendered her voice to Dulhan Badi Jadugarni, a track from the Hindi film Aaina.
  • She sang several songs with singers like Mohammed Rafi, Uttara Kelkar, and Pushpa Pagdhare in Khoon Ka Badla Khoon, a 1978 Bollywood film.
  • In 1979, Vani won a Filmfare award for singing Mere To Giridhar Gopal in the Bollywood film Meera. She lent her voice to twelve Bhajans in the film.
  • In the same year, she lent her voice to sing Naane Naane for the Tamil film Azhage Unnai Aarathikkiren and received the Tamil Nadu State Film Award.
  • She received the Nandi Award for rendering her voice to five songs of the 1979 Telugu film Sankarabharanam.
  • In 1980, she worked as a playback singer for several Malayalam films like Aarohanam, Adhikaaram, Arangum Aniyarayum, and Vaiki Vanna Vasantham.
  • In 1983, she sang a song titled Yeh Pyaar Ka Mausam with Kumar Sanu in the film Baap Bete.
  • She lent her voice to several 1987 Kannada films like Olavina Udugore, Sowbhagya Lakshmi, and Shruthi Seridaaga.
  • For the 1992 Telugu film Swathi Kiranam, Vani sang several songs and received a National Film Award.
  • In 2014, she worked as a playback singer for two Tamil films, Kaaviyathalaivan and Ramanujan.
  • In the same year, she lent her voice to several Malayalam films like Iniyum Ethra Dooram, 1983, and Pradhi Nayagan.
  • Besides working in many Bollywood and South Indian film industry movies, Vani Jairam has also worked in Gujarati, Marwari, Marathi, Odiya, and Bengali. She has not only recorded songs for films but has also lent her voice to several bhajans along with Pandit Briju Maharaj.

    Vani Jairam singing during a Bhajan concert

    Vani Jairam singing during a Bhajan concert

  • Vani Jairam breathed her last on 4 February 2023 in Chennai at the age of 77 after she fell and got injured on the forehead. Vani’s body was recovered from her house after the cops broke into her house when her maid and sister, Uma, informed the police about her not responding to doorbells and phone calls. Some other sources, however, claim that Uma and Vani’s maid informed the police after they found her body in the house after they entered the house using a duplicate key. [6]NDTV [7]The Economic Times The police later registered a case under section 174 of CrPC and began its probe into the death of Vani on suspicious grounds. Talking about it, the police said,

    A maid servant Malarkodi, who used to do daily chores at her residence, arrived at the home at 11 a.m. and even after the repeated ringing of the bell, there was no response from inside. After the body was found, we rushed her to the hospital but was declared dead upon arrival. The police are conducting an investigation and further details will be known only after the postmortem report comes.”

    The police, however, later concluded their investigation and said that Vani died after she accidentally fell and hit her forehead. [8]The Times of India Vani Jairam was cremated in Tamil Nadu with full state honours.

    Tamil Nadu police giving a gun salute to Vani Jairam during her cremation

    Tamil Nadu police giving a gun salute to Vani Jairam during her cremation

  • Vani Jairam’s surname is also spelt as Vani Jayaram.
  • When A. R. Rahman founded a band during his childhood, Vani Jairam was invited to its inaugural ceremony as Vani had also worked with A. R. Rahman’s father R. S. Shekhar. While talking about it, in an interview, she said,

    He had just formed a boy band and was looking for someone well known to inaugurate it. I had sung a number of songs for his father R. S. Shekhar in Malayalam films. He invited me to light the lamp. Today, it is so good to see that despite all his achievements, he is so grounded and humble to this date.”