Usha Uthup #madeofgreat

She was a part of my growing years! My friends’ too! She could easily make me and my friends dance to her tune! I am talking of 80s. No entertainment program was complete without listening to her. Parties, get togethers were rated boring if her foot tapping music wasn’t played.

Yes, I am talking of Usha Uthup!

Take for example the song Ramba Ho Ho Ho… it is one of the most famous songs of 80s. Each time the song was played it would set the feet tapping and bodies swinging. With her deep masculine kind of voice she added a different flavor to bollywood music. She is that person who fits the bill of #madeofgreat perfectly.

Her Early Years

Usha Uthup was interested in music and pursued it right from her school days. But unfortunately for her, she was thrown out of music class because of her unusual not very sweet voice. Wiki mentions: her music teacher recognized that she had some music in her and would give her clappers or triangles to play. She thus had no formal training in music.

The musical environment created by her parents helped her nurture her passion. And like they say “if you have the determination to succeed situations around you too work out favorably for you”! For Usha Uthup too things worked out favorably and little by little she started gaining foothold in music industry.

Initial Achievements of Usha Uthup

Her various milestones are:

  • First public singing at the age of nine, when she was offered the chance to sing on the Ovaltine Music Hour in Radio Ceylon.
  • After that initial success she continued to sing through her teenage years.
  • At the age of 20 she sang for the first time in a night club in Chennai
  • After her success in Chennai she succeeded in Bombay, Kolkata and Delhi
  • During one of her performances in Delhi she was spotted by a film crew from Bombay
  • Usha Uthup started her Bollywood career with Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
  • In 1968, she recorded covers of two pop songs in English
  • Usha visited Nairobi as part of an Indian festival.
  • The then President Jomo Kenyatta made her an Honorary Citizen of Kenya.
  • 70s and 80s saw several hit songs from her
  • She did not fade away. In 2012 she got the filmfare award for Darling, which she recorded with Rekha Bhardwaj for the film 7 Khoon Maaf.

The list is still longer, I can go on…

My admiration for her over the years hasn’t changed at all. Even today I am mesmerized by her songs just like how I was mesmerized in 80s. She is that person who fits the bill of #madeofgreat perfectly. Her voice which seemed to be her greatest drawback in her early years turned out to be her greatest asset. She never gave up. Music was her passion and she excelled in that.

This trait and success of hers taught me to have faith in myself. One can be different, the odd man out in a crowd yet be successful with sheer perseverance and hard work!

Usha Uthup 2

Live Performance by Usha Uthup

Some years back I had the great fortune of seeing her performance live! I was spellbound seeing her actually sing. I had listened to her several times and I had seen her on TV too but I could never guage the actual liveliness of the songs. Then I saw her perform live and I saw how the audience was swaying and dancing to every song of hers. It was sheer ecstasy for all.

I observed how comfortable she was in that heavy silk saree and traditional jewelry. Loads of glittering bangles on the wrist, danglings from her ears and she even had a string of jasmine on her hair! Her bindi on her forehead, a huge one, had the Bengali alphabet ‘k’ for Kolkata written on it. Her style statement can induce complex in minds of most fashionable ladies.

Tell me one more person who in traditional dress of India can perform western songs with so much charm and zeal! The confidence she exudes makes you fall in love with ‘life’ all over again! Usha Uthup is that person who fits the bill of #madeofgreat perfectly.


(#madeofgreat The #madeofgreat campaign is the first time Tata Motors is undertaking an overall brand association campaign with a brand ambassador. It rides on a strong consumer motivation of ‘Seeking Excellence’ and ‘Self Belief’ which is showcased by the confluence of two global brands-Tata Motors and Lionel Messi. The campaign builds upon Tata Motors’ DNA of trust, authenticity, reliability, simplicity, as well as its commitment to innovation.)

Answer this simple question in the comment section and the person whose answer would be the best, according to me will win an Amazon Voucher worth Rs. 750. The winner will be announced on 26th November here. Stay tuned!

What do you think of Tata Motors’ Association with Lionel Messi?

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28 Responses to “Usha Uthup #madeofgreat

  • Love your article about the great singer.. Presented it nicely Indrani. I am fortunate enough to pose with her to take a photograph in the Mumbai Airport one year back.

  • sylviakirk
    2 years ago

    What an amazing woman!! And your post is a wonderful tribute to her!! Thank you so much for sharing!! I hope you have a great new week!!

  • An amazing personality indeed. I have attended many of her live programs and absolutely loved them. A wonderful post, dear 🙂

  • Thank you – off to you tube to hear

    Warm ALOHA,

  • Great to read your post on Usha Uthup ji. Awesome singer.
    Thanks for your post.

  • Hi Indrani,

    Long time, and I am so thrilled to see somebody FINALLY writing about Usha di. She is so supremely talented, humble, down-to-earth and under-rated; I have had the privilege to interact with her and I know what an inspiring human being she is. You could say that being a bong, living in Calcutta, I have a soft corner for her but consider the prospect of a non-Bengali staying in an alien city and establishing her work- it’s an uphill task. My respect for this great personality. And as I write these lines, the lines “Kolkata, Kolkata don’t worry Kolkata, amra tomari Kolkata” keep resounding in my ears! 🙂

    All the very best!


  • The story of a Legend in herself – that’s how I will describe it in a short sentence. Very well written with the pic which enhances the simplicity yet greatness of the Lady..Salutations and very happy for you to have got inspired and bringing out your best in life.

    My answer: Tata is a name which any and every person can rely on for its honesty, commitment and perseverance. Lionel Messi is a legend who has carved his name in history books with total dedication to the game, simple living and improvisation which is seen with each game he plays. The association of Tata Motors and Lionel Messi as their Brand Ambassador will definitely give an edge to the Tata group over its competitors solely because the brand Ambassador also holds the same reputation of not letting his fans down ever, like Tata Motors who have given the best to the world over the decades. Its an exemplary association par excellence.

    You can choose my answer as the best if you feel I described it all well.. 🙂

  • She is a charming lady indeed, and one of a kind!
    As far as Tata and Messi are concerned, I just have one thing to say, when Durability meets Excellence, the only way is ‘Forward’!

  • I love her unique voice!
    Tata and Messi will surely make a global reach with eachother.He is inspirational. Who don’t love him? Even if you are not a football fan. You will recognize Messi’s hardwork for sure.

  • Hello Indrani, she does sound like a legend and a great singer. Wonderful post and tribute! Have a happy week!

  • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    2 years ago

    This is just my favourite, Indrani. I love Usha Uthup not only for her impeccable voice but also for her inimitable style. She is such an icon, with “boRo tip and phoo-er mala” – just wonderful. She has westernized Bengali songs and faced a lot of harassment at one time for her disco type tunes. But people love her and she has proved her excellence time and again. I’ve seen her live performance a few years ago, how much energy she exudes! Just unbelievable! And. I love her more for her love for my city, Kolkata 🙂

    As for Tata Motors’ association with Lionel Messi, I think Messi is the ‘messiah’ of the game of football. His dribbling, his passes, his determination to reach the “goal” is just incredible! He is the right person to be the global brand ambassador of Tata Motors, a company which single-handedly has changed the definition of car industry in India. The collaboration is great because both Messi and TM, are class apart in their respective fields. And, as we all know, form is temporary, but class is permanent… 🙂 ( the same saying holds true for Usha Uthup, too)

  • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    2 years ago

    phool-er mala**

  • I distinctly remember attending one of her famous Music Programs at the old Majestic Exhibition Grounds (the present BMTC Bus Stand) in early 70s.. The crowd was uncontrollable and the Performance was amazing.. Very well presented the Topic, Indrani.. Hats off to your writing skills!

  • wow.. what a tribute to such Diva!! Yes, she is definitely a person who stand apart in this crowded world. A great personality, indeed. And I love her humble smile 🙂

  • Great to know about this powerful personality.

    Now if I am allowed to talk about the association of Tata Motors and Lionel Messi, then both are big names in their respective field and together this is a giant collaboration.
    The man with strong legs can drive the power-packed automobile. Messi is just perfect for it.
    Both have so much things in common like power, reliability, trustworthy and many more.
    When 2 number 1s join together, they form an unbeatable pair and that’s why it is called GREAT!
    #madeofgreat for me is togetherness of God of Football to God of Automobiles!

  • Loved your post Indrani, in an interview I heard her say how she faced challenges getting main stream bollywood singing as they preferred more feminine and thin voices as opposed to her husky one. She never gave up and thus we see made her own identity 🙂 I am a big fan too. Super choice babe 🙂

  • Her atypical voice and personality and the fame she achieved definitely qualify her as great.

  • Don’t know her, but am going to Youtube now…

  • This brought back so many memories from an era gone by!
    Nostalgia reloaded, Indrani. 🙂

    As for the expression of views towards the question, I would like to answer through a stanza or two of verse:

    ‘What drives us from within is what makes us great’
    Belief in oneself, the zeal to put up a brave face,
    In the face of adversity, to stand strong against fate,
    That’s how life is – it’s an excellent goal to chase!

    To create a name for oneself, from the soil your feet dampen,
    To let critics enhance your effort, not let your spirits dampen,
    It’s the journey that counts, more than having scaled the peak,
    To persevere so that it’s your actions that have the loudest shriek!

    To sum up, I feel that this age old adage rings true whenever I think of this beautiful alliance of an Indian Global Brand – Tata Motors and a Global Argentinian Sportsperson – Lionel Messi

    “Our Similarities bring us to a common ground; Our Differences allow us to be fascinated”

    That realization is truly #madeofgreat. 🙂

  • Bhawna Shah
    2 years ago

    My answer
    Tata Motors has earned the goodwill from giving the best and innovative Automobiles and it is also known as one the best Automobile Manufactures. And if you see the Lionel Messi , his throughout dedication, zeal , targeted goal of life and technically soundness make him big, achiever and remarkable position in the world.
    As per me, the association of Tata Motors and Messi is a grand amalgamation of two legendary entities of the world, and their amalgamation will definitely break down the clutters and affect the cut throat competition of Tata Motors. Tata motors will sure get a huge preference by the fans of Messi. This will sure make a record of Tata motors in the world of production or may be the highest selling automobiles.
    Tata motor’s main target is to give an impression on the large amount of crowd and this can be achieved only through the Messi, because the youth generation is crazy for MESSI and this can be smart move and a great achievement for Tata Motors they positioned MESSI as their BRAND AMBASSADOR .
    In the nutshell, Tata Motors , Messi joining hands will definitely give more soundness in technicality of promotional strategies and Messi’s influence will influence the audience for choosing Tata Motors and expand the business drastically.

  • The name Usha Uthup brings up so many memories from my growing up years. She is a true legend and a person #madeofgreat who is both humble and down to earth
    Indeed a nicely written post. I wish you good luck for the contest
    Here is my answer
    The association of Tata Motors with Lionel Messi is that of two greats. Lionel Messi has been exceptionally talented who with his hard work, determination and sacrifices has got better and tougher in his chosen sport so is the Image, reputation and quality of TATA Motors that have transformed brilliant ideas into masterpieces of engineering and created a brand and products that we are so proud of as Indians. Lionel Messi has transformed his body and the mind body co-ordination into a masterpiece of precision and excellence it would not be wrong to say that Lionel Messi is the TATA Motors of sports where as TATA Motors is the Lionel Messi of vehicles both giants in their own spheres driven by the drive to excel and lead by example. So Lionel Messi is the best choice for becoming the brand Ambassador for TATA Motors

  • great post about a great singer. have watched her sing in awe for the dynamics and power in her voice and indeed her ever fresh jasmine adorned, traditional attire too

    Then, here’s my answer for the legendary assioction between Tata Motors and Lionel Messie:

    Tata motors being the first Indian brand to associate itself with an international sports icon is truly being envied!. Yes! When two people with identical qualities merge, the brand power increases enormously. Just as expected Tata Motors is tasting it by the reach and vibrations it has created with its association with Lionel Messie.

    With both’s determination, dedication and power to conquer in their respective fields- their collaboration is surely a big hit and #madeofgreat indeed

    and if you haven’t read mine..please drop in at

  • Usha Uthup is indeed a gutsy lady. Strong of character and resolve,her determination,grit and honesty shine like a beacon. What odds she must have had to fight to become a name to rekon with. And when all singers were shedding their clothes to appear in slinky slutty shiny excuses for dresses to promote their music…she stuck to her silk sarees ever an epitome of grace.

    To answer the question… both Tata Motors and Lionel Messi have built a solid reputation. This foundation is built on the sheer perseverance and self belief and the ability to not resting till they achieve what they had planned to. And once they reach that stage… its so easy for both to say Veni Vidi Vici and then move on…to higher and more difficult to achieve aims. They both have set very high standards, and if anyone does want to surpass them they’ll have to work very hard indeed.
    Cheers to greatness. – See more at:

  • She is undoubtedly a great personality ! I was touched when she was in tears on receiving her first filmfare award and I love her songs!

  • I have heard her songs and liked her level of energy and cheerfulness in singing… though pretty hard, she sings wonderful songs and bring enthusiasm around.

    Great to know more about her from your post! Inspiring woman

  • Yhis is super tribute!

  • Awesome post about a Dynamic Inspiring Woman !

  • Congratulations Indrani….

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