Book Review: ‘The Queen of Indian Pop: The Authorised Biography of Usha Uthup’

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Written by Debashree Banerjee, a Right India winner and author of ‘A Place called Eden’ and ‘A Trail of Roses’.

Bikash Kumar Jha’s creation of ‘Ullas Ki Nav’ Jha’s translation Joyi De Vivre! The content of this wonderful biography is none other than our own Usha Uthup, no wonder. Surprisingly, however, this translation ‘does not get lost in the translation’. On the contrary, the language of creation flows with the same ease and vitality in the features of the impeccable ‘Pop Queen of India’.

Although the original Hindi version is a narrative bearing the signature seal of an expert storyteller which is of course experienced journalist Bikash Kumar Jha, the English translation is full of evidence of youth, light-hearted enjoyment and aerial feeling of simplicity. Although the essence of the original has been preserved by creation, he has taken it to a new level and provided a new and innovative narrative that can also be accepted as a separate biography.

Every celebrity carries the burden of maintaining a public personality, which is irrational and charismatic, but imagine doing it all your life, not like anyone else, free from struggle, hardship, failure, stress, pain and death! The preface tells how Mr. Jha struggled for decades to get an interview with Usha Uthup and how every time he found his longtime man on Friday, the relentless Anjan Das thwarted his efforts. The story starts from there. The author doesn’t wait for readers to start reading the first chapter, but he cleverly sucks his listeners ’background stories before they finish reading. Srishti also connects Hindi with English in ease and walks through isolated alleys, and she does her job well!

Discussing in the same light how Usha Uthup was able to have a ‘happy’ foothold in the film industry in those days, filmmakers had a formulaic idea of ​​creating unproven tear-jerkers that appealed to women who were their target audience. That they have already labeled and divided women is a special preference for hot and spicy flavors that provoke tears, an idea that required a strong antidote. And Usha’s popularity was due to the number of her joy!

From the birth of Usha Vaidyanath Someshwar Sami to her first marriage to Ramu Iyer, their relationship gradually deteriorated, her unforgettable performance with Mahalia Jackson in 1968, her gradual rise on the music industry front in the 1970s, her happy days as the ruling queen. Her meeting with Pop and her future husband, Jani Chaco Uthup, in Trincomalee, the meteor rise in popularity in the 80’s, her subsequent marriage of her daughter and her son, the birth of grandchildren, was filled with the normal process and a very difficult last chapter– Biography shows how Usha Uthup is not a single person. How he symbolizes resilience in the face of adversity, how celebrity-hoods are subject to the same feeling of loss and pain as other ordinary people’s lives, this biography addresses them.

It is a story about how the beautiful dimple young lady in floral chiffon saree with her unconventional voice gradually transformed into a Kohl-rimmed, heavy set middle-aged singer with her fashion head ‘Bindi’, her fashion leaders like the beautiful Jasmine. Her enviable long braided necklace, her jungle of four dozen bangles and her swarm of heavy silk sarees! It is also the story of the tragic loss of those long traces, but most of all, it is about music, femininity and the celebration of human life.

With the beautiful translation of Srishti Jha, the world can only accept these as the true gift of women’s strength, family heritage, laughter, kinship, the power of liberalization of thought, the courage to challenge harmony and so on and so forth. A better version of this (of course, who could ever conceive a 100% Indian woman that heavy kanjivharams sang a westernized version of ‘Hare Ram Hare Krishna’ to the world audience?), Free from the mental chains of sorrow and, of course, the resurrection Intelligent.

Overall, Bikash Kumar Jha’s translation of Jha’s creation of ‘Ullas Ki Nav’ is a true celebration of life, and therefore, it must be made for an interesting lesson.

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