Sadhana Sargam (born Sadhana Ghanekar; 7 March 1974) is amongst the best-known playback singers of Indian cinema with a career spanning over three decades. Besides film music, she is well known for her devotional songs and pop albums. She is a recipient of the National Film Award and Filmfare Awards South as well as prestigious LATA MANGESHKAR Award from Madhya Pradesh Governmaent for an invaluable contribution in Indian Music in 2005 & 2006. Also she bagged Chitrapati V.Shantaram award, Sahyadri Doordarshan Swar Ratna Award, Sur Sadhana Award and Prajsarojini Film Darpan Awards.
Sadhana has sung in many Indian languages for films, television serials, devotionals and pop music albums. She is well known for her 1990s Hindi songs and South Indian songs. She holds a record for being the only North Indian to have won the National Award for a South Indian song. She is also a trained Hindustani classical singer. Beginning her career in the early 1980s, Sargam has recorded her voice in various Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Oriya, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarathi and many others.
Sadhana is the daughter of reputed classical singer and music teacher Neela Ghanekar. Influenced by the musical environs of her home, Sadhana began to learn singing and classical music from the age of four. She won a Central Government scholarship at the age of 10 and this led to a 7 - year learning stint under Pandit Jasraj. From childhood she was also learning and performing with the late maestro Vasant Desai for his documentaries, children’s films and stage shows. Desai advised her mother that Sadhana was competent enough to handle both classical and light music and should remain in touch with both, as her mother wanted her to take up light singing. In fact, it was Desai who recommended that she learn under Pandit Jasraj.
Early life 
Sadhana was born to a family of musicians at Dabhol, the seaport town in Ratnagiri District of the state. Her mother Neela Ghanekar, knew arranger – composer Anil Mohile, who was then arranging music for Kalyanji-Anandji. He introduced Sadhana to them, and she was in the children’s chorus in "Pam Pararampam, Bole Jeevan Ki Sargam" sung by Kishore Kumar in G. P. Sippy’s Trishna (1978).
Impressed by her voice and skills (she had a private audience with him and sang ‘Humko Man Ki Shakti Dena’ from Guddi), Kalyanji took her under his wing, changed her second name to "Sargam" and trained her giving special emphasis on expressions, modulations and Urdu diction, which Sadhana learnt under a moulvi (Muslim priest) sent by Kalyanji.
1982 - 1990: Rise to Stardom 
Sadhana made her playback debut in Kanku Pagli, a Gujarati film. Her first Hindi song was the solo "Door Nahin Rehna" from the film Rustom. However, Rustom got delayed and was released only in 1985, and Sadhana’s first released film was Subhash Ghai’s Vidhaata (1982) in which she was one of the seven singers for Padmini Kolhapuri in the chartbuster "Saat Saheliyan".
Sadhana continued to sing for her mentors in films like Taqdeer, Pighalta Aasmaan, Raj Tilak, Karishma Kudrat Ka (in which she was the only female singer) and others, but it was only with "Har Kisiko Nahin Milta" (Janbaaz 1986) that she was really noticed. Highly impressed, Rajesh Roshan shouldered the entire score of Khudgarz on her. This film and its songs like ‘Yahin Kahin Jiyara Hamar’, ‘Mai Se Meena Se’ and ‘Log Kehte Hain’ also demonstrated her range, as all three duets were different.
Khudgarz was followed by Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) and Sadhana also began to sing for other composers like Anu Malik, R. D. Burman, Anand Milind and sparingly under Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Her main hits continued to be with Rajesh Roshan, which included ‘Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye’ / Jurm, ‘Radha Bina Hai’ / Kishan Kanhaiya, and songs in Dariya Dil, Aasmaan Se Ooncha and Jaisi Karni Waisi Bharni.
She got a major boost from Tridev (Kalyanji – Anandji – Viju Shah) in 1989 in which she shone in "Main Teri Mohabbat Mein" and "Gajar Ne Kiya Hai Ishara".
1990-2000: Fame and Migration to South Indian films 
In the early 90’s, Sadhana soon emerged as the busiest singer after Alka Yagnik. Anand – Milind, Nadeem – Shravan, Anu Malik, Jatin – Lalit, Bappi Lahiri, Viju Shah and Dilip Sen – Sameer Sen were among the frontline composers who used her dulcet assured voice. The list of her greatest hits include ‘Saat Samandar’ (Vishwatma) and ‘Na Kajre Ki Dhar’ (Mohra) under Viju Shah. ‘Bhangra Pale’ under Rajesh Roshan in Karan Arjun: ‘Maine Ghar Choda Hai’ (Dil) and ‘Kya Mausam Aaya Hai’ (Anari) under Anand – Milind. With Jatin – Lalit she had ‘Pehla Nasha’ (Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar) and the title song of Raju Ban Gaya Gentelman: ‘Imli Ka Boota’ (Saudagar / Laxmikant – Pyarelal), ‘Teri Ummeed Tera Intezar’ (Deewana) and the title track of Dil Kya Kya Kasoor under Nadeem – Shravan.
From the mid-1990s, Sadhana became popular in singing Tamil songs. She is the only playback singer from India who currently sings in 27 regional languages. She won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song "Pattu Solli" from Thankar Bachan's cult classic movie Azhagi; the music was by maestro Ilaiyaraaja, whom she has praised for "giving her such a wonderful song, and making her eligible for the National Award". Her most critically acclaimed songs were in the film Water, composed by A. R. Rahman, in which she sang three songs: "Aayo Re Sakhi", "Piya Ho" and "Naina Neer". Her other notable songs in Hindi with the same composer include "Aahista Aahista" from Swades, "Chupke Se" and "Naina Milaike" from Saathiya, "Chanda Re" from Sapney, "O Palanhare" from Lagaan, "Jhulaa Bahon Ka" from Doli Saja Ke Rakhna, and "Banno Rani" from 1947: Earth. Her other notable rhapsodic hits in Hindi are "Neele Neele Ambar Par" from Kalakaar, "Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye" from Jurm, "Pehla Nasha" from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, "Na Kajre Ki Dhar" from Mohra, "Aashiqui Me" from Dil Ka Kya Kasoor, "Tere Dar Pe Sanam" from Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee, "Jhinimini" from Maqbool and "Aao Na" from Kyun! Ho Gaya Na....
She won her first Star Screen award for "Chupke se Lag Ja Gale" from Saathiya. She also bagged Filmfare, IIFA, Star Screen, GIFA, Apsara awards, Zee Cine Award, Star Screen Award and Stardust Best Playback Singer Female award nomination for "Aao Na" from " Kyon Ho Gaya Na..!" She received prestigious Zee Cine Award at Dubai for "Halki Halki Mulaqate Thi" from Kuch Na Kaho in 2003.
She has sung more than 170 songs in Tamil alone and has many top songs. One of her recent songs is "Marali Mareyaagi" from Savari, a Kannada movie for which she received the Filmfare Best Playback Kannada Female Singer award in 2009. Her most famous songs in Tamil include "Snehithane" from Alaipayuthey, "Mukundha Mukundha" from Dasavathaaram, "Konjum Mainakkale" from Kandukondain Kandukondain and "Swasame" from Thenali. She also sang "Om Zaarare" from Kuselan, along with Daler Mehndi and K. S. Chithra.
Recent works 
Sadhana sang several songs in Hindi and Oriya for music director Kajol-Saroj. She has also sung the Tamil version of "Mann Mohana" from the Hindi film Jodhaa Akbar. Another notable recent solo Tamil song is "Sutri Varum Bhoomi" from the Vidhyasagar-composed Jeyamkondaan and "En Nenjil" from Baana Kaathadi. The recent Ilaiyaraaja-composed Tamil film Naan Kadavul had a song titled "Amma Un Pillai" featuring her voice. Her popular tracks in Marathi include "Onjalit Majhya" and "Saanjh Jhali Tari" from Sarivar Sari, "Dis Char Jhale Mann" and "Dhag Datun Yetat" from Aaishappath, "Pahile Paul", "Jhali Punha Pravahi" and "Ye Saad Jivnachi" from Sakhi. Her recent Marathi album Tu Sukhkarta..Tu Dukhraya was released by Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar on the occasion of Shri Ganesh Chaturthi on 3 September 2010 at Ravindra Natya Mandir, Mumbai. The songs were composed by Amol Bawdekar and lyrics were written by Mahesh Ghatpande. In 2008 Sadhana was a singer in the album "Noorani Chehra" produced to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of HH the Aga Khan. Her songs in this album included: Sabse unchi and the garba "Hey maara saaheba na bol mane saambhle re lol" both written in Gujarati by Shaukat (Sam) Kassam.
Significant collaborations 
Sadhana has recorded many songs for the veteran composer Ilayaraja in Tamil and Telugu movies such as Azhagi, En Mana Vaanil, Oru Naal Oru Kanavu, Naan Kadavul, Ramanaa, Ninuchudaka Nenundalenu, Manasellam, Ayyan, Anumanaspadam and many more.
A. R. Rahman
Sadhana has recorded maximum number of successful songs for the Academy Award winning composer A. R. Rahman in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu movies such as Jeans, Minsara Kanavu, Ratchagan, Alaipayuthey, Kandukonden Kandukonden, 1947 Earth, Thenali, New, Anbe Aaruyire, Boys, Saathiya, Parthale Paravasam, Water, Alli Arjuna, Udhaya, Naani, Warriors of Heaven and Earth, Enthiran and many others.
With composer Vidyasagar, she has sung many melodies in movies such as Coimbatore Mappillai, Poovellam Un Vasam, Abhiyum Naanum, Anbe Sivam, Jeyam Kondaan and others.
Popularity in South India 
Post mid 1990's, Sadhana has been very well received in Tamil films making her the busiest in the Tamil music field among all other singers. She was first introduced to Tamil songs by acclaimed music director Vidyasagar in the film Coimbatore Mappillai. She went to record many successful songs for composers such as Ilayaraaja, A. R. Rahman, Deva, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Karthik Raja, Manisharma, Bharathwaj, Harris Jayaraj and many others. Her duet songs with singer Hariharan proved to be most successful.
Among all the Bollywood singers (male/female), Sargam has sung the most number of songs in Tamil. 132 songs of Sargam were listed as of August 2008.
In an interview in May 2007 while touring in the USA, the most celebrated composer of the Indian music industry, A. R. Rahman, complimented Sadhana Sargam, calling her one of the few Indian singers who could surpass his expectations in her renditions of his songs.
National Film Awards2002 – National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer – "Paattu Cholli" (Azhagi), Tamil film.
Filmfare Awards South2007 – Best Female Playback Singer (Tamil) – "Akkam Pakkam" (Kireedom)2007 – Best Female Playback Singer (Telugu) – "Manasa" (Munna)
Zee Cine Awards2004 – Zee Cine Award for Best Playback Singer – Female – "Kuch Naa Kaho" (Kuch Naa Kaho)
Maharashtra State Film Awards2000 - State Award for Best Singer - Female - "Kshitijavaril Tara" (Jodidar)2002 - State Award for Best Singer - Female - Aadhar2005 - State Award for Best Singer - Female - "Saanjh Jhali Tari" (Sarivar Sari)
Zee Gaurav Puraskar2000 - Award for Best Female Singer - Jodidar2002 - Award for Best Female Singer - Aadhar2004 - Award for Best Female Singer - Ek Hoti Wadi2005 - Award for Best Female Singer - Sarivar Sari2006 - Award for Best Female Singer - Aaishappath4007 - Award for Best Female Singer - Aevdhasa Aabhal
Star Screen Awards2003 – Star Screen Award for Best Female Playback – "Chupke Se" (Saathiya)
Other Awards and Recognitions Konkan Sahyadri Swar Ratna Award for Invaluable contribution in Indian Music2000 - Dinakaran Award for Best Female Singer - "Snegithane" (Alaipayuthey)2002 - Dinakaran Award for Best Female Singer - "Paattu Cholli" (Azhagi)2004 - Kalakar Award for Best Female Playback2005 - Vitusco Award for Best Female singer - "Oru Vaarthai" (Ayya)2005 & 2008 - Bhojpuri Film Award for Best Singer - Female2005, 2006 & 2007 - Sanskruthi Kaladarpan Awards2006 - Gujrath State Film Award for Best Singer - Female2008 - Chitrapathi V. Shantaram Award for Best Female singer - "Tu Aevdhasa Aabhal" (Aevdhasa Aabhal)
Films: 1] Gupchup Gupchup 2] Khulyancha Bazzar 3] Vahinichya Bangdya 4] Sarivar Sari 5] Sakhi 6] Evdhasa Aabhal 7] Ashtarupa Jai Vaibhavlakshmi Mata 8] Kalchakra 9] Swapna 10] Anolakhi He Ghar Majhe 11] Gondya Martey Tangda 12] Aaishappatth 13] Aadhar 14] Aadharsthmb 15] Astitva 16] Jodidar