Ravi Shankar Sharma (3 March 1926–7 March 2012), often referred to mononymously as Ravi, was a music director, who had composed music for several Hindi and Malayalam films. After a successful career in Hindi cinema, he took a break from the 1970s to 1984, and made a successful comeback under the stage name Bombay Ravi. He died on 7 March 2012 in Mumbai at the age of 86.
Ravi was born in Delhi on 3 March 1926. He had no formal training in classical music; instead he learned music from listening to his father sing bhajans. He taught himself to play harmonium and other classical instruments and worked as an electrician to support his family. In 1950 he decided to shift to Bombay and become a professional singer. At first Ravi was homeless, living on the streets and sleeping in Malad railway station at night.
In 1952, Ravi was discovered by Hemant Kumar who hired him to sing backing vocals in Vande Mataram from the film Anand Math. Ravi gave several hit songs and received Filmfare nominations for these films: Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Do Badan (1966), Humraaz (1967), Ankhen (1968), and Nikaah (1982). He won Filmfare awards for Gharana (1961) and Khandan (1965).His other successful films include Waqt, Neel Kamal and Gumraah. His songs Aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai, Babul ki duyaen leti ja, Doli chadh ke dulhan sasural chali and Mere Yaar Bana Ke Dulha became very popular in wedding celebrations.
Ravi was one of the music directors who shaped the career of Asha Bhosle with songs like Tora man darpan and Sun le Pukar Aai. He was also instrumental in making Mahendra Kapoor a popular singer in Bollywood. After a successful career in Hindi films during the 1950s and 1960s, he took a long break after 1970 till 1982. In 1982, he gave music for the Hindi film Nikaah, and one of the film’s songs Dil ke armaan aansooyon main beh gaye sung by Salma Agha won her the Filmfare Best Female Playback Award. His songs Mere Yaar Bana Ke Dulha (Chaudvin Ka Chand), Aaj mere yar ki shadi hai (Aadmi Sadak Ka) and Babu Ki Duaen Leti Ja (Neel Kamal), all sung by Mohammad Rafi became popular wedding songs.
In the 1980s, he made a comeback as a music director in Malayalam (and some Hindi) films as Bombay Ravi. During 1986, the Malayalam director Hariharan convinced him to make this comeback. The first movie was Panchagni. The songs Saagarangale and Aa raatri maanju poyi (sung by Yesudas and Chitra) were hits. That same year, Hariharan’s Nakhakshathangal also came out and Chithra won her second National Award for the song Manjalprasaadavum from the same film. All the songs from the Malayalam movie Vaisali released in 1989 were super hits and Chithra won her third National Award for the song “Indupushpam Choodi Nilkum” from the same film. Ravi was a constant in Hariharan films and their combination is regarded as one of the best ever in Malayalam. Ravi has composed for many films produced by South Indian banners: Ghoonghat, Gharana Grihasti, Aurat, Samaj ko badal dalo (Gemini), Meherban, Do Kaliyan (AVM), Bharosa, Khandan (Vasu Films).