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Hariharan born 3 April 1955 in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), is an Indian playback singer in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu movies, an established ghazal singer, and one of the pioneers of Indian fusion music.

Early life

Hariharan grew up in Mumbai in a Kerala Tamil Iyer family, and has bachelor degrees in science and law. He did his collegeing from St.Xavier's College. The son of renowned Carnatic vocalists, Shrimati Alamelu and the late H.A.S. Mani (full name:Anantha Subramani Iyer), Hariharan inherited his parents' musical talents. Alamelu was Hariharan's first guru (mentor). From here he picked up Carnatic music skills. He was also exposed to Hindustani music from a young age. In his teens, inspired by the songs of Mehdi Hassan and Jagjit Singh, Hariharan developed a passion for ghazals and started training in Hindustani music from Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan. He used to put in nine hours of singing practice everyday. The committed Hariharan also put heart and soul into learning Urdu when he decided to become a ghazal singer. He has perfected his Urdu diction to such standards that even his audiences in Lucknow, the heartland of the language, have been wowed over.

In 1977, Hariharan bagged the top prize in the All-India Sur Singaar competition and was promptly signed on by the late music director Jaidev to sing for the Hindi film Gaman. His debut song "Ajeeb Saaneha Mujh Par Guzar Gaya Yaaron" in that movie became such a hit that it won Hariharan an Uttar Pradesh state award, as well as a Best Singer National Award nomination, and Hariharan's playback singing career took off.

Rise to fame

At the start of his career, Hariharan did the concert circuit and also performed on TV. He sang for a number of TV serials (e.g., Junoon). In addition, he cut several successful ghazal albums, writing most of the scores himself. One of Hariharan's first ghazal albums was "Abshaar-e-Ghazal" with Asha Bhonsle, which went gold in sales. Another outstanding ghazal album was "Gulfam", which not only hit double platinum in sales but also fetched Hariharan the Diva Award for the Best Album of the Year in 1994.

Hariharan entered the world of Tamil films in 1992 introduced by debutant music director A.R. Rahman with the patriotic song "Thamizha Thamizha" in Maniratnam's film Roja. He was judged best male playback singer in the 1995 Tamil Nadu State Government Film Awards for his soulful rendition of the song "Uyire Uyire" also by music director A.R Rahman in Maniratnam's Bombay (Hariharan sang the song with K.S. Chitra). Hariharan has been one of the most trusted singer of A R Rahman and has sung many songs for him in long list of movies that includes Roja, Muthu, Minsara Kanavu, Jeans, Indian, Mudhalvan, Taal, Bombay, Rangeela, Indira, Iruvar, Anbe Aaruyire, Kangalal Kaithu Sei, Sivaji, Alaipayuthey, Kannathil Muthamittal, Guru etc. In 1998, Hariharan won the national award for the best playback singer for the soulful rendition of the song "mere dushman mere bhai" from the Hindi movie Border, composed by Anu Malik.

He has sung more than 500 Tamil songs which is his highest in his career.

The year 1996 was a career milestone; he released the fusion album Colonial Cousins with Bombay-based composer/singer Leslie Lewis. This was the first Indian act to be featured on MTV Unplugged. It won a string of awards including the MTV Indian Viewers' Choice award.

Hariharan has also acted in a Tamil film with Khushboo, titled Power of Women & also played cameo roles in the Tamil film Boys & the Malayalam film Millennium Stars.

His Major Ghazal Albums

  • Shamakhana (concert recording; includes songs by Anuradha Paudwal)
  • Ghazal ka Mausam (same concert recording as Shamakhana; slightly different song selection)
  • Sukoon (1983)
  • Aabshaar-e-Ghazal (with Asha Bhosle; music for all eight tracks composed by Hariharan; 1985)
  • Reflections (1987)
  • Dil Nasheen (1988)
  • Dil Ki Baat (1989)
  • The Very Best of Hariharan ghazals (compilation album; 1989)
  • Hariharan in Concert (1990)
  • My Favourite Hits (compilation album; 1990)
  • Hazir (with Zakir Hussain (musician) on Tabla; 1992)
  • Gulfam (1994)
  • Paigam (1995)
  • Qaraar (1995)
  • Saptarishi (concert recording; 1995)
  • Visaal - Ghazals for Connoisseurs (1996)
  • Jashn (1996)
  • Aathwan Sur - The Other Side of Naushad (1998), written & composed by Naushad
  • Kaash (2000)
  • Lahore Ke Rang, Hari Ke Sang (2006)
  • Waqt Par Bolna (2007)
  • Lafzz... (2008)

His Major Film Songs

  • Aaaha-Mudhal Mudhal
  • Roja-Tamizha Tamizha
  • Kalloori Vaasal-En Manathai
  • Love Birds-Malargale Malargale
  • Indira-Nila Kaagirathu
  • Bombay-Uyire Uyire
  • Uthattora Sivappe - Panchalankurichi
  • Minsarakanna-Un Per Solla Aasai
  • Jeans-Anbe Anbe
  • Minsara Kanavu-Vennilave
  • Poovellam Kettuppar-Irava Pagala
  • Dheena-Sollamal Thottu Sellum
  • Samurai-Moongil Kaadukale
  • Mounam Pesiyadhe-Chinna Chinnathai
  • Alaipayuthey-Pachai Nirame
  • Anniyan-Iyengaaru Veetu
  • Sivaji-Vaaji Vaaji
  • Bheemaa-Mudhal Mazhai
  • Yaradi Nee Mohini- Vennmegam
  • Dasavathaaram-Kallai Mattum
  • Vaaranam Aayiram-Nenjukkul Peidhidum
  • Ayan - Pala Pala
  • Garshom - Parayan maranna paribhavangal
  • Sathyam Sivam Sundharam - Ilaman kanniloode
  • Azhakiya Ravanan - O Dilruba


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