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Kumar Sanu

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  • Years Active: 1990s


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One of the most prolific singers ever to work in the Indian film industry, Kumar Sanu's recorded output numbers in the thousands of songs, reaching by his estimation over 8,000 by the turn of the millennium. Sanu broke the Guinness world record for the largest number of songs recorded in a single day, with 28 -- a testament not only to his polished technique, but to his unparalleled ability to quickly and effortlessly master unfamiliar material in the studio. Sanu also holds the record (along with Lata Mangeshkar on the female side) for the longest string of consecutive Filmfare awards for Best Playback Singer (the equivalent of an Oscar and perhaps the most coveted musical award in India) with five, a streak that made him arguably the most popular male vocalist in India during the '90s. Kumar Sanu was born Kedernath Bhattacharjee and grew up in Calcutta; his father Pashupati Bhattacharjee was an accomplished classical vocalist and composer, and saw to his son's early musical training as a singer and tabla player. Getting a degree in commerce from Calcutta University, Sanu began performing publicly in 1979, singing at shows and restaurants around Calcutta in a style heavily influenced -- copied, some charged -- from film legend Kishore Kumar. Competition for singers in the Indian film industry was (and still is) extremely fierce, since it is the primary route to success in India, and it took Sanu several years to land his big break. He made his living in the early '80s partly by recording a series of Kishore Kumar covers for a pop label, but remained unable to make inroads into film. Finally, in 1987, music director Jagjit Singh -- noted for his mastery of the romantic ghazal song form -- offered Sanu the chance to sing in the Hindi film Andhiyan. Sanu relocated to Bombay, the capital of the Indian film industry, and soon landed another film, Jadoogar, helmed by the Kalyanji/Anandji team; they gave Sanu his stage name, partly to give him wider appeal outside of a strictly Bengali audience, and partly because of the heavy influence of his idol. Film fans began to take notice, poising Sanu for a major breakthrough. That breakthrough came in 1990 with the film Aashiqui, whose soundtrack was composed and directed by the Nadeem/Shravan team. Sanu sang all but one of the songs featured on the soundtrack album, which made him a star; he won the first of his record five consecutive Filmfare awards as Best Male Playback Singer, and began recording new material at a furious pace. He won Filmfares for his performances in Saajan, Deewana, Baazigar, and 1942: A Love Story (in order, up through 1994), but his work extended much farther, so much so that by the end of the decade he had recorded -- in many different languages -- for literally hundreds of films. As the '90s waned, Sanu slowed his amazing recording schedule a bit, feeling that he'd proven enough to become more selective in choosing his material (he preferred classic-style songs to newer, more Western-influenced pop). Seeking new challenges, he branched out into acting, appearing in a Bengali film and starting television serials in both Bengali and Hindi. He also became more comfortable with concert performances and embarked on frequent international tours. By the turn of the millennium, Sanu had promised to follow in fellow record-holder Lata Mangeshkar's footsteps by not accepting any further Filmfare awards (in order to make room for new talent), but the hits kept on coming through 1999 and 2000, and he continued to rival Udit Narayan as the most popular male singer in India.


Kedarnath Bhattacharya, better known as Kumar Sanu (born 20 October 1957), is an Indian singer. Kumar Sanu is one of the most popular playback singers of Bollywood. He holds the Guinness Book world record for recording the maximum number of songs in a day, which are 28. He is noted for his contributions as a playback singer in Bollywood. He was awarded the Filmfare Best Male Playback Singer Award for five consecutive years. In 2009, the Government of India awarded him Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour, in recognition of his achievements.

^ "Profile and details of Kumar Sanu". Bollywood Village. Retrieved 6 November 2013. ^ "Life History of Kumar Sanu". Cultural India. Retrieved 6 November 2013. ^ Khole, Purva (23 September 2013). "Kumar Sanu, happy birthday". Bollywoodlife.com. Retrieved 13 November 2013. ^ Soman, Deepa (29 August 2013). "Kumar Sanu: Love to sing more". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 

Early life[edit]

Kumar Sanu's father, Pashupati Bhattacharya, was a vocalist and composer. He trained Sanu as a singer and tabla player. After getting a degree in commerce from Calcutta University, Sanu began performing in 1979, singing at shows and restaurants around Calcutta. He tried to model his singing style after Bollywood singer Kishore Kumar.


Kumar Sanu started his playback career in 1986 with a Bangladeshi film Tin Kanya, which was directed by Shibli Sadiq.

In 1987, music director and singer Jagjit Singh offered Sanu the chance to sing in the Hindi film Aandhiyan movie released in 1990. In 1989, Jagjit Singh introduced Kumar Sanu to Kalyanji Anandji at their residence Vimal Bunglows in Mumbai. On their suggestion, Kumar Sanu got his name changed from Kedarnath Bhattachariya to Kumar Sanu, because his voice and singing style was much influenced by Kishore Kumar. Anandji shared this story in the Show Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai hosted by Farooq Sheikh. Sanu then relocated to Mumbai, where Kalyanji-Anandji gave him chance to sing in the film Jaadugar.

Sanu went on to work with composers including Naushad, Ravindra Jain, Hridayanath Mangeshkar, Pt. R K Razdan, Kalyanji Anandji and Usha Khanna.

For the 1990 film Aashiqui, music directors Nadeem-Shravan got Sanu to sing all but one of the songs. He won the first of his record five consecutive Filmfare Awards as Best Male Playback Singer. His next Filmfare Awards came for songs in the movies Saajan (1991), Deewana (1992), Baazigar (1993), and 1942: A Love Story (1994). He then went on to create a world record by recording 28 playback songs in one day.

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Significant collaborations1.1 Nadeem Sharvan1.2 Anu Malik1.3 Jatin Lalit1.4 Other composers

Significant collaborations[edit]

Nadeem Sharvan[edit]

The music composer duo Nadeem shravan was the one who has given Kumar Sanu his initial break in the movie Aashiqui (1990). Thereafter they both worked together in many films, including Aashiqui (1990), Saajan (1991), Phool Aur Kaante (1991), Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin(1991), Sadak (1991), Deewana (1992), Dil Ka Kya Kasoor (1992), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), Sapne Sajan Ke (1993), Waqt Hamara Hai(1993), Rang (1993), Dilwale (1994), Barsaat (1995), Raja Hindustani (1996), Pardes (1997), Dhadkan (2000), Kasoor (2001), Hum Ho Gaye Aapke (2001), Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa (2002), Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002), Dil Ka Rishta (2003), Andaaz (2003) and many others.

Anu Malik[edit]

Sanu has sung songs of various genres with Anu Malik. In fact, it was Anu Malik who made Sanu sing his first 'Western-Type' song, Yeh Kaale Kaale Aankhe from the film Baazigar (1993). Some other achievements of the combo are Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee (1993), Sir (1993), Imtihaan (1994), Vijaypath (1994), Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), Naaraaz (1994), Naajayaz (1995), Diljale (1996), Virasat (1997), Judwaa (1997), Tamanna (1997), Duplicate (1998), Kareeb (1998), Ishq Vishq (2003), Fida (2004), No Entry (2005) and many more. In 2015 they are again back with songs in Dum Laga Ke Haisha.

Jatin Lalit[edit]

Sanu started his work with Jatin Lalit from the 1992 film Khiladi, from then on he provided his voices for hit movies like Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1993) Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Khamoshi (1996), Yes Boss (1997), Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai (1998), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998), Ghulam (1998), Dil Kya Kare (1999), Sarfarosh (1999).

Other composers[edit]

In a career spanning three decades he has sung with other composers including R.D. Burman, Bappi Lahiri, Suresh Wadkar, Talat Aziz, Anup Jalota, Shyam Surender,Tapan, Anand-Milind, Himesh Reshammiya, Ismail Darbar, Kalyanji Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Sajid-Wajid, Viju Shah, Uttam Singh, Raam Laxman, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen, Anand Raj Anand, Aadesh Shrivastava, Vishal–Shekhar, M. M. Keeravani, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Rajesh Roshan, and A. R. Rahman.

Other work[edit]

Kumar Sanu has composed music for various Indian films. Other than singing, and composing music for films, he has also shown interest in producing films. In 2006, he produced his first Hindi film, Utthaan. Currently, he is working with a fellow producer, Rakesh Bhhatia on a new project named Yeh Sunday Kyun Aata Hai. The film is based on the lives of four children who live in the streets of Mumbai and polish shoes at a train station in order to earn their livelihoods. The film will feature Mithun Chakraborty in a leading role. Recently, Kumar Sanu sang for a Bengali film Hason Raja, which was directed by a UK-based filmmaker Ruhul Amin. This movie never released. He also has recently composed a Bengali film song named AMRITA.

Sanu was in the panel of judges on Sony TV for Waar Parriwar, a reality show based on the bringing together of a singing gharana (family of singers) and on Zee Bangla TV in a music reality show called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa - Vishwa Sera.

In 2012, he judged Zee Bangla musical reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa – Gane Gane Tomar Mone. At present, he is one of the judges on the Bengali version of the popular musical reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs. Recently he recorded an album named Hum aur Tum. He also recorded a Spanish song for an album. He has also record on maximum recording of songs in a single day, 28 songs. Presently he also made debut in acting in a yash raj film, Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Now he also playing the role of judge on Zee Bangla Sa Re Ga Ma Pa senior 2015 'gane gane tomar mone'.

His top 10 Blockbuster Hit songs of all-time are listed below:

Work with other singers[edit]

Kumar Sanu had multiple hit duet number with singers Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Anuradha Paudwal, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sadhana Sargam, Alisha Chinai, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sapna Mukherjee, Shreya Ghoshal, Poornima, Sapna Awasthi, and others. Most of the hit male duets are with Udit Narayan, Abhijeet Bhattacharya & Sonu Nigam. Kumar Sanu has also sung some male duets with S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Amit Kumar, Suresh Wadkar, Nitin Mukesh, Pankaj Udhas, Hariharan, Roop Kumar Rathod, Vinod Rathod, Shabbir Kumar, Mohammad Aziz, Anwar, Shankar Mahadevan, Anu Malik and Bappi Lahiri.

Kumar Sanu is also credited with the highest number of version songs and male duet hits with the finest singers of 1980s and 1990s. Some of the notable songs are as follows:


He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2004 in a ceremony headed by then Party President Venkiah Naidu, but he later resigned to concentrate on singing.

He rejoined BJP on 2 December 2014 inducted by Amit Shah, the current BJP president.

^ "Kumar Sanu will "sing" for BJP". The Hindu. 17 March 2004. Retrieved 6 November 2013. ^ "Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu joins BJP". Times Of India. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 


Kumar Sanu returns from playback singing in 2012. He has made a comeback in the urge of composer Sajid-Wajid. Sajid-Wajid gave him to sing "Chammak Challo Chhail Chhabili"-Rowdy Rathore, a wedding song with Shreya Ghoshal.



2004: Kala Vedika Awards For Best Male Playback Singer The Film Qayamat: City Under Threat In The Bollywood Music Awards Category.2004: Kala Vedika Awards - "Pride Of India Award". The Pride Of India Awards Presented To Singers Kumar Sanu For Promoting Indian Culture Through Indian Music.2004: Global Excellence Award2003: Bollywood Music Award For "Best Artist Of The Decade".2001: Channel V Award For Best Male Playback for "Chand Sitare" - Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai2000: Hero Honda Award For Best Playback Singer (Male) For "Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyan" - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam2000: Kalashree Award For Best Male Playback For "Chaand Sitare" - Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai2000: IIFA Award for Best Male Playback For "Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyaan" - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam2000: Nomination: MTV Award For "Dil ne yeh" With Udit Narayan And Alka Yagnik1999: Mohammed Rafi Memorial Award for Best Playback Singer For "Aankhon ki gustakhiyaan" - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam1999: Nomination: MTV Award For "Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyaan" With Kavita Krishnamurthy - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam1999: Zee Gold Awards For "Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyaan" - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam1999: Kalakar Awards For "Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyaan" - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam1999: CSR Gold Award For Best Playback Singer "Aankhon ki gustakhiyaan" - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam1999: Stardust Award For Best Playback Singer For "Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyaan" - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam1999: Anandalok Awards For Best Playback Singer (Male) Kumar Sanu For "Ami Sei Meye"1998: Lions' Club Gold Award For Best Playback Singer "Ladki badi anjani hai" - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai1998: Grammy W. Indian1998: Punjabi Kalirangan Award1998: Anandalok Awards For Best Playback Singer (Male) Kumar Sanu For "Gane Bhuban Bhoriye Debo"1997: BFJA Award For Film "Lathi"1997: Punjabi Kalirangan Award1996: BFJA Award For Film "Kencho Khurte Keote"1995: Deva Award1995: Channel V Award For Best Male Playback "Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Janam Sanam" - Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge1995: Ashirwad Award For Best Male Playback "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha" - 1942: A Love Story1995: Screen Award for Best Male Playback For "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha" - 1942: A Love Story1993: SUMU Award For Best Male Playback Singer In 1993 For Singing Maximum Good Songs1993: SUMU Award For Best Male Playback Singer In Baazigar

Other awards and honors[edit]

BAFA (Black And Asian Film Academy) Award - "Outstanding Contribution Award" For His Role In Popularising Hindi Filmi Music Around The World.Uttam Kumar AwardAashirwaad Award Three TimesRD Burman AwardNatraj Award - USARadio Lotus Award - South AfricaShivkala AwardYuvashiri AwardSun Rise Radio Award - United KingdomPriya Darshan AwardAgnishikka Award

Filmfare Awards[edit]

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