Untrained in traditional music and with a voice that would dread the choice for mainstream music, Usha Uthup’s earlier music days at school were limited to the percussions. The vernacular legend pioneered her unique brand of Indian pop in the 1970s. With over 49 years of performance singing in 22 languages, she is a bundle of high energy and synonymous with an identity in a Sari, popularly referred as the “Rockstar in a Sari”
Usha belongs to a traditional family with limited means where wardrobes could accustom only salwar-kameez and saris. What could have started as a limited means, has today acquired her popularity creating a style statement that would set her apart from today’s contemporaries even after multi decades of her singing career.
The Kanjeevaram’s, Gajras (white scented flower, mostly jamines), Badi Bindhi ( Badi means Big; Bindhi refers to a dot worn on the center of the forehead, commonly by Hindu and Jain women), Bangles and her blazing voice have become so unique to Usha Uthup, that today as she celebrates her 69th birthday, here is an interpretation by Angadi’s fashion editors of what her famous songs could translate as Saris to be.
Skyfall In A Saree
One of the recent times head turner among Uthup’s performance of a lifetime. For the first time ever, Uthup is joined on stage by her daughter and granddaughter for some foot-tapping, soulful music. Decked in signature Black, Usha’s rendition of Adele captivates the audience with awe. Her contemporary looks and the contemporary rendition are a match well worth the international applause. What steals the night is the caption “ SKYFALL in a sari”
Reminiscing the blue sky with glittering stars dotted on the horizon, and the fluffy clouds leaving a trail, as the dusk sets in transcending the mood to an evening. A Sky Blue Sari is Angadi’s pick with sequined hand made Chickankari work. Wear it for a cocktail occasion with platinum or diamond jewellery paired with a flattering clutch
The veteran who can sing in 16 Indian and several foreign languages wins her first Filmfare award after 42 years of singing for this song. The song features peppy music with foot taps, calling for an evening that’s scintillating and fun.
A pleasant sensual evening calling for a secret affair with the evening’s jazz and champagne. Deepened in thoughts of a musky room with vintage decor, Angadi’s red chiffon saree with heavy embroidered pallu with all over sequined work on the sari, is all which will set the tone for the night. Graceful draping with dusky makeup for a low lit night should just be dramatic enough.
Aami Shotti Bolchi
A rendition where powerful song meets a powerful voice. Her most interesting times in Kolkatta were at Trincas nightclub, where Usha performed for the first time in the city. Those days made her early and most important days. Usha in an interview to Livemint exclaims “It all comes back to Trincas. I had a strong bass voice and was an oddity among female singers. But Trincas accepted me whole-heartedly. It’s hallowed ground for me,” she says as younger waiters hang around her table in reverential attention, not oblivious to Uthup’s 40-year association.
On a sultry day, with heat in the city, cotton lovers will agree to muse on the streets of Kolkata in the not too common Bengal Cotton’s. Sulk a sunday morning in these summery colours and light weight beautiful pieces with a cup of chai and biskoot.
In the composer’s words, La Pongal’s Anthony teams collaborate with Usha Uthup to reinterpret a harvest song sung by farmers in South India. This is based on a tradition wherein farmers present their first set of crops to the zamindars/landlords. So while it is a song of celebration sung at the end of a grueling harvest season rejoicing the bumper harvest, it has an underlay of sarcasm talking about how ‘we grow the crops and the benefit goes to someone else’!
On the day to celebrate harvest, farmers rejoice a folk song, in all happiness praising the fertile land that now bear fruits of labour and hardships. To mark the celebrations, a folk song with peppy colours, we pick bright Maheshwari cottons in yellow and green with bright accents to spread joy on a sunny day.
Auva Auva Koi Yahan Nache:
The jubilant days of Usha Uthup include the memorable songs of the Discotheque era. Uthup sang several songs in the 1970s and 1980s for music directors R D Burman and Bappi Lahiri who was popularly referred as The Disco King of the time.
The popular discotheque destinations in the 1960’s remind us with an atmosphere of the Retro lights, that remind us of pop colours, psychedelic patterns and shimmery performances of the dancers. The aura makes Putapakkam Ikkat saree a delight for an elite night out.
We are lusting on the bright pops at store on Usha’s Birthday. We wish Usha Uthup Ji a very Happy Birthday.