Sudha Malhotra was one of the female singers who showed a lot of promise in the 1950s but couldn’t quite take their careers to the next level. The melodious voice of Sudha Malhotra captured the hearts of listeners from the very beginning. Like some of her peers, she was unable to get the leading music directors of the time to look beyond the Mangeshkar sisters. Between 1949 and 1982, she recorded only about 250 songs. Among the highlights of her career were Sahir Ludhianvi’s lyrics for her songs.
Discovered by Ghulam Haider at the age of 11 she attracted accolades from her debut playback engagement in Arzoo (1950) itself. Many critically acclaimed movies like Dhool Ka Phool, Barsat Ki Raat, Didi and Kala Paani followed with her crowning achievement being lending her voice for the musically fastidious director Raj Kapoor’s Prem Rog.
“Tum Mujhe Bhool Bhi Jaao” from Didi (1959) is easily Sudha Malhotra’s most popular song. What made the song extra special is that she actually composed it. Called in to compose a song when the film’s music director N Dutta was indisposed, Sudha Malhotra put together one of the most mellifluous ghazals recorded for Hindi films. This was the only song she ever composed for Hindi films.
Her Marathi duet song “Shukrtaara Mand Waara” with Arun Date is an evergreen classic melody, still enthralling music lovers.
She retired from the film industry in 1960, following her marriage with Girdhar Motwane of the famed Chicago Radio family. She recorded very few Hindi film songs after 1960 but had a moderately successful career recording bhajan and ghazal albums and performing concerts.