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Kailash Kher
Background information
Born (1973-07-07) 7 July 1973 (age 50)
Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India
OccupationsSinger, lyricist, composer
InstrumentsVocals, harmonium
Years active2003–present
LabelsSoor Mandir
AwardsPadma Shri (2017)

Kailash Kher (born 7 July 1973) is an Indian music composer and singer. He sings songs with a music style influenced by Indian folk music and Sufi music. He was inspired by the classical musicians Kumar Gandharva, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Bhimsen Joshi, and the Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.[1]

Kailash Kher received the Padma Shri[2] award in 2017 from the Indian government. He has also received two Filmfare Awards for Best Male Playback Singer: one for the Hindi film Fanaa (2006) and one for the Telugu film Mirchi (2013), along with several other nominations.

With his powerful voice and his unique style of music, Kher has established himself as one of the most popular playback singers of India.[3]

Early life and struggle

Kher was born on 7 July 1973 in Mayur Vihar, Delhi in a Kashmiri family.[4][5] His father, Mehar Singh Kher, was a traditional folk singer. Kher's first brush with music came in his childhood.[6][7] Brought up in a musical atmosphere, from his school days, he was enchanted and fascinated by music and used to listen to his father's Indian folks songs all day.[8] Even as a four year old, Kher displayed natural musical talent and would often impress friends and family by belting out songs with his prematurely powerful voice.[9]

At the age of 14, Kher left home in search of a guru or an institution to further his musical training, and he embarked on years of classical and folk music study. According to him, "it was because I wanted to pursue my passion for music. It required me to stay in isolation".[10] He also attended music classes and would teach students for just ₹150 per session to maintain himself, taking care of all his personal expenses from lodging to food, plus his education and musical expenses.[11] Although he couldn't find the right guru or a school, Kher started learning music by listening to it. He listened to Indian classical singers like Pandit Gokulotsav Ji Maharaj, Pandit Kumar Gandharv, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and later even Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, and their contemporaries.[12]

He then experimented with a family friend's Indian handicraft export business until 1999.[13] However, when the business collapsed, he became depressed and even attempted suicide in early 1999.[14] Later on, he went to Singapore and Thailand and stayed there for six months.

Later, after relocating to Delhi with his family, he graduated from Delhi University through the correspondence program.[15][16]

In 2001, Kher left Delhi for Mumbai, the center of India's highly competitive music industry, as a professional singer. For a while, Kher struggled, living in cheap hostels and doing whatever musical work he could find to make ends meet.[17][18]

Career beginnings


He moved to Mumbai in the year of 2001, where he began his foray into the music industry.[19]

When he moved to Mumbai, he already had a few friends there who were connected to the film industry. He was recommended to musician Ram Sampath, who was looking for a new voice for a jingle for Nakshatra diamonds. Kher would later recall the jingle as one which did not bring instant recognition but fetched him ₹5000, which he needed desperately at the time "just to survive".[20]

Kher's foray continued with him singing jingles for TV and radio commercials, receiving critical acclaim for his unique style of singing. He sang in commercials for big brands such as Coca-Cola, Citibank, Pepsi, IPL and Honda Motor Cycles.[21]

Playback singing and regional singing

Kailash Kher performing at the stage
Kher performing in 2012

Kher had to struggle to get a chance in Bollywood. He got an opportunity to sing a song for the movie Andaaz. In this movie, his song "Rabba Ishq Na Hove" became popular. His song "Allah ke Bande" from the obscure movie Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II became very popular and this song made him a popular singing star in Bollywood.[22]

He sang a number of the songs in the Bollywood film Mangal Pandey: The Rising, in which he had a cameo appearance. His other famous song is "O Sikander" from Corporate.[22] The song "Teri Deewani" from the album of the same name by his band Kailasa and the song "Ya Rabba" from the movie Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love had record sales. He got opportunity to sing for the film Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. In the film his song "Jay Jay Kara" and "Jal rahi hai chita" became much popular.

A. R. Rahman commented,

Kher has a uniquely soulful, raw and high-pitched voice. I remember how I first heard of him. I had asked Mehboob, our lyricist, for a new voice that is earthy and strong, and he said, I have just the person for you. That voice can only be that of Kailash! And he sent Kailash to meet me. The moment I heard him, I knew that here was a voice that was so wonderful, and which had its own unique space.... I want to say that Kailash Kher's voice has something that had been lacking a lot – it had pure soul! Allah Ke Bande is one of my all-time favorite songs.[23]

Vocals and music style

Kher has a raw, soulful, fresh, high-pitched and sharp voice. Unlike others,[citation needed] he mainly sings Ghazal, Sufi, Qawwali, folk and other devotional songs. He has been greatly influenced by the classical singers including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, Pandit Kumar Gandharva,Bal Gandharva,Hridaynath Mangeshkar and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi etc.

He can sing in a wide vocal range from high to low-pitched songs. His songs have been famous for their unique, soulful music and classical lyrics. Kher is the only singer in India,[citation needed] who often includes a classical lyrics and folk language in his solo albums and films. Most of his film or non-film albums include romantic tracks with a touch of classical music, lyrics and traditional languages.[citation needed]

Commercial music

He has given music score's for numerous movies like Chandni Chowk To China, Dasvidaniya, Sacred Evil, Sangini, Desi Kattey etc. He has also penned lyrics in few movies like Chandni Chowk To China, Dasvidaniya, Kaal and Traffic Signal.[24]

By 2014, he had sung in more than 20 Indian languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Bengali, Sindhi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Konkani, Rajasthani etc. for Indian films and more than 500 songs for the Hindi film industry and recorded more than one thousand radio and television advertising jingles.[25][26]

He has also ventured into the Kannada film industry. His hits from Kannada films include the songs "Hale Patre" from the movie Junglee and "Ekka Raaja Raani" from the movie Jackie.

He has composed and sung the title track of Star Plus's serial Diya Aur Baati Hum along with Shubha Mudgal. He has also sung the title track of Colors serial "Udaan" along with the anthem for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the national campaign for cleaning India.

Non-film work


Kher formed a band named Kailasa in Mumbai in 2004, with Mumbai-based musician brothers, Paresh Kamath and Naresh Kamath.[27]

Kher launching his latest album "Ishq Anokha" at Kolkata, 2016

. The band's first album, Kailasa, was released in March 2006.[citation needed]

Their second album, Jhoomo Re, was released in May 2007.[citation needed]

Kailasa's third album, Chaandan mein released in June 2009, was yet another smash hit![citation needed] He made his first international album on the acclaimed independent record label Cumbancha.[28]

He released his fourth album, Rangeele, which was released by his owned company Kailasa Records in January 2012. This album was widely acclaimed amongst the fans of Kailasa, and was critically acclaimed worldwide.[citation needed]

Kher has also sung a few non-filmy Nepali pop songs including "Phool Ko Thunga" and "Bolnai parcha bhanne K cha ra" from the album called Only Love in 2011.

2016 marks the return of Kher with his brand-new melodies, Ishq Anokha. This album, self-produced and distributed by SaReGaMa was a chart buster shortly after its launch. Ishq Anokha comprises eight fresh numbers as 'Ishq Anokha', 'O Jogi', 'Meharbani Teri', 'Berukhiyaan', 'Vaari Vaari', 'Guru Ghantal', 'Turiya Turiya' and an electro version of the track 'Vaari Vaari'. The album had to be launched thrice, in 3 different metropolitan cities, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Performances and international concerts

Kailash Kher with other Bollywood singers
Kher with other Bollywood playback singers

He has not only performed for the south east Asian diaspora, but also for international audiences in festivals and venues such as GlobalFest at New York's Webster Hall, Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), Stern Grove Festival (San Francisco), Celebrate Brooklyn, Santa Monica Pier Festival (LA), Fillmore Center (San Francisco), Hollywood Bowl (LA), Hammersmith Apollo (London), Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Massey Hall (Toronto).[29]

In 2007, he participated in a concert tour in North America entitled "The Incredibles", also starring Asha Bhosle, Sonu Nigam and Kunal Ganjawala. In March 2011, Kailasa performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of the Maximum India festival.[30] Kher performed at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.[31]

In 2012, as part of Kailasa's third Nepal tour, Kher performed at Dhaka in Bangladesh, Nairobi in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Congo, Karachi in Pakistan and Muscat in Oman.[32]

Television and reality shows

He has appeared in various television shows, including Wind of Change (Bangladesh) (Gaan Bangla),[33] Saregamapa Li'l Champs (Zee TV), Mission Ustaad (9X), Indian Idol 4 (Sony), IPL Rockstar (Colors) and Rock On (MTV).[34][35] In 2009, Kher appeared in Indian Idol 4 as a judge along with Javed Akhtar, Sonali Bendre and Anu Malik.

In 2013, Kher collaborated with singer Shreya Ghoshal for the first time for a mission titled 'The Project Resound: Upgrade your Ears', in which Kher wrote, composed, and invited Shreya to sing along a song named "Naina Chaar". This online initiative by Sony Music India, aimed to make people aware of the rising technological advancement in the field of music, which may make it difficult to distinguish between noise and music. The project also promoted the use of Sony headphones.[36][37]

On 15 March 2014, Kher appeared in the celebrity talk show Comedy Nights with Kapil, at the special occasion of holi celebrations.

Personal life

Kher married Sheetal Bhan in February 2009, and their son Kabir was born in December 2009.[38][39]


Kher was accused of inappropriate behaviour and harassment by multiple women during the Indian Me Too movement in 2018.[40][41] Kher, however, denied the allegations, stating, "Accusing without a formal complaint isn’t authentic."[42] He then went on to make a public apology for the unintentional behaviour on his part that may have made the complainants uncomfortable.[43]

Music for social causes

In 2011, He composed a song called "Ambar Tak Yehi Naad Goonjega" for the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare which is popularly known as the "India Against Corruption Movement". Kailash didn't charge a professional fee for singing this song.[44]

He lend his voice to the Clean India Mission theme song, ' Swachha Bharat Ka Irada Kar Liya Humne',[45] which is lyriced Prasoon Joshi. Taking forward the Clean India Mission, Kher visited several places in PM's parliamentary constituency drawing praise from Narendra Modi.

Bravo @kailashkher! I congratulate you for joining Swachh Bharat Mission in Varanasi. Admirable effort," the Prime Minister tweeted."[46]

Kher also did a viral video campaign called #KyaKisikoPadiHai along with Jose Covaco as a part of Swachh Bharat Mission. The campaign was directed by Harnish Ambaliya.[47]

Kher was also invited by the PM to accompany him in his first USA tour, where they performed in the SAP center community reception at San Jose, California on 27 September'15.[48]

In 2019, Kher sang another song called "Bol Re Dilli Bol" which was again based on the ensuing political happenings in Delhi. Bol Re Dilli Bol song is part of the 7-episodes web series titled "Transparency: Pardarshita".[49][50]

Awards and nominations

Kailash Kher awards and nominations
Kailash Kher
  1. ^ Certain award groups do not simply award one winner. They recognize several different recipients, have runners-up, and have third place. Since this is a specific recognition and is different from losing an award, runner-up mentions are considered wins in this award tally. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.

Film awards and other honours

Year Award(s) Category Title Song(s) Result
2004 Star Screen Awards Best Male Playback Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2 "Allah Ke Bande" Won
Star Guild Awards Best Male Playback Singer Nominated
2007 Filmfare Awards Best Male Playback Singer Fanaa "Chand Sifarish" Won
2009 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Telugu Arundhati "Kammukunna Cheekatlona" Nominated
2010 GiMA Award Gima Award for Best Popular Music Album Chaandan Mein Solo Album Won
Indian Television Academy Awards Best Title Song Tere Liye "Tere Liye" Won
Indian Telly Awards Won
2011 Zee Rishtey Awards Favourite Guru-Shisya Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs Nominated
2011 Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Kannada Best Male Playback Singer Jackie "Ekka Raja Rani" Nominated
2012 Indian Telly Award Best Title Singer for a TV Show Diya Aur Baati Hum Title Song Won
2013 Nandi Awards Nandi Award for Best Male Playback Singer Mirchi "Pandagala Digivachchavu" Won
2014 Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Telugu Best Male Playback Singer Mirchi "Pandagala Digivacchavu" Won
2015 Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Kannada Best Male Playback Singer Un Samayal Arayil "Ee Janumave Ahaa" Nominated
Year Award(s) Category Result
2011 Nepal Tourism Year Goodwill Ambassador 2011 Overall Contribution Won
2010 Yash Bharti Award Excellence in folk and classical music Won
2017 Padma Shri – Fourth Highest Indian National Honour Art-Music Won
2019 SIIMA Award for Best Male Playback Singer – Telugu Bharat Ane Nenu Nominated


Main article: List of songs recorded by Kailash Kher

See also


  1. ^ "Inspiration".
  2. ^ IANS (25 January 2017). "Moment of pride, celebration: Kailash Kher on Padma Shri honour". The Indian Express. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Kailash Kher". Ranker. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  4. ^ "EP-39 | Soul-stirring conversation with singer Kailash Kher | ANI Podcast with Smita Prakash". YouTube. ANI News. Retrieved 14 April 2024. See 1:15 to 4:03
  5. ^ Bhatia, Parvinder (13 August 2019). "Revocation of Article 370 is like end of leprosy: Kailash Kher". The Pioneer. Archived from the original on 1 December 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  6. ^ "Learning Music from his father". Yahoo! News. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Easy to give up when you're just starting off: Kailash Kher". The New Indian Express. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Love for Music".
  9. ^ "Natural musical talent". 24 May 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012.
  10. ^ Grover, Purva (21 July 2009). "I didn't have money to pay the fees: He struggled a lot during initial days and no money to wear proper footwear. Kailash". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 29 December 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Before she got famous, She used to scrub toilets!". Mid Day. 17 November 2008. Archived from the original on 28 December 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Learning Music". 24 May 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Experimenting with export business". Archived from the original on 21 February 2012.
  14. ^ "Wanted to commit suicide once: Kailash Kher". Hindustan Times. 22 November 2011. Archived from the original on 21 November 2011.
  15. ^ "graduation". Yahoo! News. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  16. ^ "I didn't have money to pay the fees: Kailash". The Times of India. 31 July 2009. Archived from the original on 29 December 2013.
  17. ^ "shifting to Mumbai from Delhi". 24 May 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Shifting to Mumbai". 24 May 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Musical Journey". Yahoo! News. 8 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Moving to Mumbai". Archived from the original on 21 February 2012.
  21. ^ "Singing Jingles". Yahoo! News.
  22. ^ a b "Playback singing". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  23. ^ "Rehman launches Kailash Kher's debut album".
  24. ^ "writing lyrics". Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  25. ^ "Regional singing". Yahoo! News. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  26. ^ "Regional singing and bollywood singing". Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  27. ^ "forming band". Yahoo! News.
  28. ^ "Site Suspended – This site has stepped out for a bit". Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  29. ^ "performances and concert". Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  30. ^ "Music – maximum India – March 1–20, 2011 – The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – Washington, D.C". Archived from the original on 3 February 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  31. ^ "commonwealth games". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  32. ^ "Kailasa as popular as Coldplay". The Times of India. 17 April 2012. Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  33. ^ "What's happening on 'Wind of Change' season 5?". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  34. ^ "Sa Re Ga MA Pa Li'l Champs". Hindustan Times. 5 May 2011. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  35. ^ "Reality shows". Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  36. ^ "Kailash Kher and Shreya Ghoshal team up". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 20 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  37. ^ "Kailash Kher and Shreya Goshal on a mission". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  38. ^ "Kailash Kher's first anniversary bash". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  39. ^ "Kailash Kher's wife Sheetal Bhan talks about her suicide attempt and battle with depression". Hindustan Times. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  40. ^ Cornelious, Deborah (27 December 2018). "When #MeToo shook Bollywood". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  41. ^ "#MeToo in India: Singer Kailash Kher faces fresh allegations of sexual harassment from multiple women". Firstpost. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  42. ^ "Kailash Kher: Accusing without formal complaint isn't authentic". Hindustan Times. IANS. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  43. ^ Basu, Nilanjana (8 October 2018). "Accused Of Sexual Harassment, Kailash Kher Says: 'Don't Remember Any Such Act'". NDTV. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  44. ^ "Anna's movement mobilised entire country: Kailash Kher". The Times of India. 30 August 2011. Archived from the original on 28 October 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  45. ^ Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. "Swachh Bharat ka Irada Kar Liya Hum Ne – Special Audio Track by Prasoon Joshi". Archived from the original on 15 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  46. ^ Narendra Modi [@narendramodi] (23 December 2014). "Bravo @kailashkher! I congratulate you for joining Swachh Bharat Mission in Varanasi. Admirable effort" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  47. ^ "This Amazing #SwachhRap By Jose Covaco & Kailash Kher Is Asking A Really Important Question!". MissMalini. March 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  48. ^ PTI (24 September 2015). "Kailash Kher to perform at Modi's reception in Silicon Valley". The Indian Express. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  49. ^ "Kailash Kher's song against political corruption in Delhi". Bhaskar 28 December 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  50. ^ "दिल्ली में राजनीतिक भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ रिलीज हुआ कैलाश खेर का गाना". Bhaskar 27 December 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2020.