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Classical singer Sushilarani Patel dead

Posted on Jul 24 2014 | IANS

Mumbai, July 24 : Renowned classical singer Sushilarani Patel died following a heart attack at her home here Thursday afternoon, a close disciple said. She was 96.

A Sangeet Natak Academy laureate, she was the widow of Baburao Patel, who ran India's first and highly respected Bollywood trade journal FilmIndia (now defunct), and was living alone in her Bandra home since his death in 1982.

"As she had no close relative, she was cared for mainly by her disciples. She was ailing since some time and suffered a heart attack today (Thursday) and passed away around 1 p.m.," said disciple and singer Ranjana Ramji Iyer.

Among those she has trained are Alvira Khan (sister of actor Salman Khan), Kiran Rao (a former paying guest with her who later became wife of actor Aamir Khan), and sitar maestro Ustad Alim Khan besides many others.

According to Iyer, Sushilarani's last rites will be held Friday morning at Shivaji Park crematorium.

Till then, Sushilarani's body will be kept at her Girnar bungalow residence in Bandra to enable her thousands of fans and admirers pay their last respects.

In 1942, the young and beautiful Sushilarani met Patel, who helped her bag a song recording assignment with the HMV music company, which became a hit, and launched her into a long career of rich classical singing.

Later, she married Patel.

In 1946, Patel also produced two movies with Sushilarani as the heroine and singer - "Gwalan" and "Draupadi" - but both bombed at the box-office and she continued with her singing career under various gurus, including the legendary Mogubai Kurdikar and later Sundarabai Jadhav.

In 1961, Patel and Sushilarani founded the Shiv Sangeetanjali to encourage classical music among the masses and also discover new talent, which continued even after his death.

Subsequently, the Shiv Sangeetanjali became part of the "Sushilarani Baburao Patel Trust" which discovered new singers and musicians.

It gave opportunities to talented personalities like Pradip Barot (sarod), Ronu Muzumdar and Nityanand Haldipur (flute), Sadanand Nayampilli (tabla) and Dhanashree Pandit-Rai (singer) over the years.

In her long and rich musical career, Sushilarani Patel bagged many prestigious honours and awards, including the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award (an industry award), Sangeet Natak Akademi and Maharashtra Rajya Sanskritik Puraskar, among others.

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