Mumbai, Jan 25 (IANS) Singer Usha Uthup, who is one of the recipients of the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award, said she couldn't believe her ears when she heard the news.
'I was thrilled beyond comprehension when the news broke out. I couldn't believe it. This is so amazing and I'm so greatful to god. I'm also happy that my belief in the kind of music I wanted to make and in the fact that music gets hearts closer, paid off,' Usha told IANS in an interview.
'I'm thankful to everyone for their support,' she added.
The singer, who can effortlessly croon in 24 languages, was as it is enjoying her moment of glory with her recent song 'Darling' from the film '7 Khoon Maaf', which has become a chartbuster and now she has one more reason to celebrate.
'My first reaction was of sheer happiness when I heard about the award. I didn't know what to do. I was like a zombie for a few seconds,' revealed the 63-year-old, who is also famous for her big border sarees, a trademark round bindi and her humungous collection of bangles.
Usha started her Bollywood career with 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna', where she sang an English verse in 'Dum maro dum'. Then she sang several songs in the 1970s and 1980s for music directors R.D. Burman and Bappi Lahiri.
She is also known for songs like 'Ek do cha cha cha' ('Shalimar'), 'Koi yahan aha nache nache' ('Disco Dancer'), 'Ramba ho' ('Armaan'), 'Hari Om Hari' ('Pyaara Dushman') and 'Doston se pyar kiya' ('Shaan') among others.
'I've been singing in 17 Indian languages and eight foreign languages with the only motive and understanding that music bonds people and I have seen that happening. I'm happy that I got an award for what I believe in,' said Usha.
The singer can sing in Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Assamese, Oriya, Gujarati, Marathi, Konkani, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Tulu and Telugu, English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Sinhalese, Swahili, Russian, Nepalese, Arabic, Creole, Zulu, and Spanish among others.
On the whole, Usha is happy that her success will encourage more people to follow their hearts and make the kind of music they like.
'I think this award will give an impetus to the younger generation who want to pursue the music of their choice and will teach them to hang in there till the very end,' she said.