Rekha Bhardwaj is an Indian playback singer. She has sung in many languages including Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, and Marathi.
Rekha Bhardwaj was born on Friday, 24 January 1964 (age 55 years; as in 2019) in Delhi. Her zodiac sign is Aquarius. She did her B. A. in Music (Hons) from the Hindu College, Delhi. She learned the basics of singing from her elder sister. She took her formal training in music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Delhi. There, she got trained from Shri Vasant Thakar, Pandit Vinay Chandra Mudgal, and Shri Madhup Mudgal. In November 1982, she started learning music from Guru Pandit Amarnath (“Shagirdh” of Ustäd Amir Khan Sahab of Indore Gharana), who she terms as her ‘eternal guru.’ She learned ‘Gharana Singing’ from her Guru Pandit Amarnath. After his demise in 1996, she started learning music from his disciple, Shushri Amarjeet Kaur.
Height (approx.): 5′ 2″
Eye Colour: Hazel
Hair Colour: Black (sometimes dyed brown)
Family, Caste & Husband
She was born into a family with a musical background. Rekha Bhardwaj has 5 sisters and a brother. She got married to Vishal Bharadwaj in 1991. The couple has a son named Aasmaan.
She made her debut as a singer with the song ‘Ek Woh Din Bhi’ from the film “Chachi 420” in 1997.
Her breakthrough in Bollywood came with the song ‘Namak Ishq Ka’ from the film “Omkara (2006).”
Ever since then, she has sung several hit numbers such as ‘Humari Atariya Pe,’ ‘Ek Ghadi,’ ‘Darling,’ ‘Sasural Genda Phool,’ ‘Phir Le Aya Dil,’ and many more. In 2012, she released her first album “Ishqa Ishqa,” which consisted of Ghazals.
She made her Marathi debut with the song ‘Unn Matlabi’ from the film “Kuni Mulgi Deta Ka Mulgi (2012).” She made her Bengali debut with the song ‘Swapno Bheja Alo’ from the film “Doshomi (2012).”
She made her Malayalam debut with the song ‘Doore Doore’ from the film “Carbon (2018).”
In 2013, she sang the songs for the Pakistani TV serial “Humnasheen,” for which she was nominated for Hum Award for Best Original Soundtrack.
- National Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song ‘Badi Dheere Jali’ from the film “Ishqiya” in 2011
- Best Female Playback Singer for the song ‘Sasural Genda Phool’ from the film “Delhi-6” in 2009
- Best Female Playback Singer (with Usha Uthup) for the song ‘Darling’ from the film “7 Khoon Maaf” in 2011
- Food: Sarson Ka Saag
- Singers: Mehdi Hassan, Ustad Amir Khan, Madhurani Faizabadi, Begum Akhtar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Girija Devi, Rasoolan Bai
- Musician: Ustad Rashid Khan
- Poet: Rumi
- Spiritual Leader: Osho
- She started singing at the age of 3. Her parents made her rehearse regularly, which helped her shape her music.
- During her childhood, her father used to organize monthly musical gatherings at his home for family and friends. At the gathering, she always chose to sing Hindustani classical pieces or Ghazals instead of mainstream Bollywood songs. Reminiscing about it, she says,
I’m a melancholic person. I think I must have been a heartbroken woman in my last birth. How else do you explain gravitating towards ghazals — a genre based on yearning — so early?”
- During her college days, she used to be a tomboy with sported short hair. She was mischievous and had a group of three friends and she was the gang leader of their group. Talking about her college days, she says-
Hum chaar ladkiyan apni special bus banwati thi kyunki humari Music (Hons) ki classes ek baje shuru hoke 4.45-5pm khatm hoti thi. Puri bus khali hoti thi [phir bhi] hum footboard par baithke aate the (We four used to travel back home after our music classes in a special bus, and even though the entire bus used to be vacant we preferred to sit on the footboard).”
- Born and brought up in Delhi, she misses being in Delhi. Recollecting her memories, she says-
I love jo barishon ke waqt pedon se jamun girke puri Tuglaq Road, India Gate jamuni ho jata hai (I loved it when the roads near India Gate used to get covered with black plums that fell from the trees in monsoon). I specially miss jo Feroz Shah Road ke wahan chote-chote int ke khokhe bane hote the, udhar taat dalte the aur sardiyon mei hum wahan baith ke chai peete the aur bread pakora khate the (I miss the small rustic, roadside eateries near Feroz Shah Road where we used to sip tea and eat bread pakoras). I miss that because I don’t see those anymore. Those places have turned into café’s. Change ho gaya na sab (Everything has changed now); raat yeh bhi guzar jaayegi (This too shall pass).”
- Though being married to a noted filmmaker and music composer, Vishal Bhardwaj, she had to face struggle to sustain herself in the industry initially.
- In 1984, Rekha met her future husband, Vishal Bhardwaj, for the first time, at their college’s annual function. She and Vishal used to meet at Hindu College. Interestingly, she was one year senior to him.
- In 1991, Rekha and Vishal got married and moved to Mumbai where Vishal used to make music for movies and Rekha started assisting him. While composing music, Vishal used to make her sing, just to know how the song sounded. During one such processes, she met Gulzar, who was impressed by her voice and promised her to write the songs for her first album.
- In 1993, Vishal promised to compose an album for Rekha. But he composed only one track titled ‘Raat Ki Jogan,’ based on the sonnet by Bulleh Shah. The track was included in her album “Ishqa Ishqa.”
- In 1994, Gulzar promised Rekha that he would write the lyrics for her first album. However, due to his busy schedule and other work commitments, it took him almost 10 years to write the lyrics of her debut album.
- During her years of struggle, she felt low-spirited and sought spiritual development. She then took shelter for few months in Osho Ashram in Pune, where she learned the art of Whirling and Zikra (a form of Islamic Chanting). Both of which, she now performs on stage. Talking about her quest for spiritualism, she says-
It introduced a certain silence in me, which I hope to pass on to the audience every time I perform. That’s the essence of all music.”