Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.
Born into a Tamil musical family, legendary composer, conductor, and lyricist Ilaiyaraaja became the first Asian to compose for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has composed for more than 1000 feature films and has five National Film Awards, the Padma Bhushan, and the Padma Vibhushan to his credit.
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was an Indian playback singer, music director, actor, television presenter, film producer, and voice-over artist. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted singers of his generation, Balasubrahmanyam received six National Film Awards in an illustrious singing career that spanned more than five decades. He was posthumously honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award.
Known for epic romantic and historic drama films such as Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, and Bajirao Mastani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is an Indian director recognized for his signature opulent sets and star-studded cast. The five-time National Film Award winner also has a Padma Shri in his kitty.
National Award-winning singer Shreya Ghoshal grew up in Rajasthan and later moved to Mumbai, where her electrical engineer father was posted. After gaining attention with the talent show Sa Re Ga Ma, the classically trained artist was catapulted to fame with her playback singing in Devdas, and never looked back.
Rahul Dev Burman was an Indian music director. He is regarded as one of the greatest music composers in the history of Indian music. He is credited with composing songs that helped define the career of singers like Kishore Kumar. His works have inspired a generation of Indian music directors.
A. R. Rahman is an Indian film composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Rahman is one of the most decorated and celebrated musicians in Indian history. He was won several prestigious awards including two Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award. In 2009, he was named among the 100 most influential people in Time.
Sonu Nigam is an Indian singer, actor, and music director. Nicknamed The Lord of Chords, Sonu is widely regarded as one of the world's best live performers. He is credited with recording over 4000 songs in several Indian languages. He has also won many prestigious awards, such as Filmfare Awards, National Award, and Indian Television Academy Awards.
10 Alka Yagnik
Alka Yagnik is an Indian playback singer. One of the most popular female playback singers in Bollywood, Yagnik has won a record seven Filmfare Awards and two National Film Awards in an illustrious career spanning more than 40 years. Alka Yagnik has also won other prestigious awards, such as Bollywood Movie Awards, Global Indian Film Awards, and Zee Cine Awards.
Bhushan Kumar is an Indian music producer and film producer. He is currently serving as the managing director and chairman of a popular film production company and record label named T-Series, which was founded by his father Gulshan Kumar. As a producer, Bhushan Kumar has won a couple of Filmfare Awards for producing movies like Hindi Medium and Thappad.
Yo Yo Honey Singh is an Indian rapper, music producer, pop singer, composer, actor, and lyricist. He is currently one of the most successful and highest-paid musical artists in the music industry in India. He has received several prestigious awards including an MTV VMAI Award, MTV EMA Award, UK Asian Music Award, BritAsia TV Music Award, and Zee Cine Award.
13 Armaan Malik
Armaan Malik is an Indian singer, record producer, songwriter, actor, and voice-over artist. In 2015, he won two Global Indian Music Academy Awards (GiMA), becoming the youngest singer to win a couple of debut awards at GiMA. He has also received other prestigious awards like Stardust Award, Filmfare R. D. Burman Award, and South Indian International Movie Award.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is an Indian social group leader best known as the head of a group named Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS). Prior to his rape conviction in 2017, Ram Rahim was a famous religious leader, music composer, actor, singer, songwriter, writer, and director. In 2015, he was named among the 100 most powerful Indians by The Indian Express.
Fort Kochi-born K.J. Yesudas is a major figure of Indian Malyali music. Known as Dasettan to his followers, the singer is an eight-time National Award winner and has the prestigious Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan in his kitty. He has also acted in a few regional films.
M.S. Subbulakshmi was an Indian singer. Dubbed the Queen of Music, Subbulakshmi was the leading exponent of Carnatic music. In 1966, she became the first Indian to perform in UN General Assembly. In 1974, she became the first Indian musician to be awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award. In 1998, Subbulakshmi became the first musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna.
Bismillah Khan was a reputed classical musician, credited with popularizing the shehnai, an Indian oboe like woodwind instrument, at home and abroad. Until his time, shehnai was considered a folk instrument played only at traditional ceremonies, an idea he demolished with his concert performance in 1937, eventually taking it to the global audience with his appearance at Edinburgh International Festival.
18 Arijit Singh
Arijit Singh is an Indian music composer and singer. Dubbed the king of playback singing, Singh has received six Filmfare Awards and a National Award in his illustrious career so far. Also known for his humanitarian work, Arijit Singh is credited with founding a non-governmental organization named Let There Be Light which aims at helping the Below Poverty Line community.
Zakir Hussain is an Indian musician, tabla virtuoso, percussionist, composer, and music producer. Widely regarded as one of the greatest tabla players of all time, Hussain has received many prestigious awards in his illustrious career. In 1990, he was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. In 2002, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award.
G. V. Prakash Kumar is an Indian film composer, singer, producer, and actor. After starting his career as a music composer in Tamil films, Prakash Kumar went on to establish himself as an actor. One of the most acclaimed music composers in the Tamil film industry, Prakash Kumar has received several prestigious awards like Filmfare Awards South and MTV Awards.
Kanika Kapoor is an Indian singer who achieved popularity after the release of her song Baby Doll from the movie Ragini MMS 2. She then went on to record some of the most popular Hindi songs like Lovely. Over the years, she has won many prestigious awards like Brit Asia TV Music Awards, BIG Star Entertainment Award, and Filmfare Award.
Famed Indian lyricist, poet, author, screenwriter, and film director Gulzar has been a major figure in Bollywood for over six decades. He started doing odd jobs as a teenager and eventually entered films, where he made a name for himself as a lyricist and screenwriter. He soon started directing films as well. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.
23 Anu Malik
Anu Malik is an Indian singer, music composer, and arranger. He is credited with composing some of the most popular Hindi songs, including Chamma Chamma from the film China Gate, which was used in the jukebox musical romantic drama film Moulin Rouge! Anu Malik has also served as a judge on the popular TV show Indian Idol.
Part of the legendary Indian music composer duo Laxmikant–Pyarelal, which ruled the Hindi film music industry for decades, Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar had a tough childhood in the slums of Mumbai. He took up music after his father’s death, so that he could support his family, and never looked back.
Divine is an Indian rapper who achieved popularity after releasing his song, Yeh Mera Bombay, in 2013. He has also contributed to the soundtracks of several Bollywood films like Mukkabaaz, Blackmail, and Gully Boy. Over the years, Divine has received prestigious awards like Filmfare Award and Global Indian Music Academy Award.
Gwalior-born composer Tansen, also known as Ramtanu Pandey, was an iconic figure of Hindustani classical music. Best known for his dhrupad and raga compositions, he was one of the navratnas, or nine gems, of Mughal emperor Akbar’s court. He also invented a stringed instrument named the rabab.
Himesh Reshammiya is an Indian playback singer, songwriter, music director, actor, and producer. Although he is often criticized for his nasal singing style, Himesh Reshammiya is also one of the most recognized singers in India. Over the years, he has won many prestigious awards, such as Filmfare Award, Star Screen Award, Zee Cine Awards, and Star Guild Award.
Andrea Jeremiah is an Indian actress, singer, voice-over artist, and musician who predominantly works in the Tamil film industry. Apart from playing lead roles in successful films, Jeremiah has also contributed to the soundtracks of popular albums. She is best known for her performance in the 2018 period gangster film Vada Chennai for which she won the Behindwoods Golden Medal.
29 Sid Sriram
Born in Chennai, to a Carnatic music teacher mother, Sid Sriram later moved to the US with his family. The talented singer-songwriter is a Berklee College of Music alumnus and is known for his skills mixing pop/soul and Indian classical elements. His Indian playback credits include Adiye from the film Kadal.
30 Vijay Antony
Initially a sound engineer, Vijay Antony later rose to become a prominent music director of the Tamil film industry. Known for his music in films such as Vettaikaaran and Kadhalil Vizhunthen, he later stepped into acting with Naan. He won the Golden Lion at Cannes for his track Naaka Mukka.
Shobana is an Indian Bharatanatyam dancer and film actress. Widely regarded as one of the best Bharatanatyam dancers, Shobana was honored with the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award, in 2006. She is also renowned for her acting skills, winning two National Film Awards for Best Actress for her performances in Manichitrathazhu (1993) and Mitr, My Friend (2001).
Badshah is a singer, rapper, businessman, and film producer. Widely regarded as one of the highest-paid artists in India, Badshah is also considered one of the most controversial Indian rappers. His song Genda Phool is considered controversial, but is yet one of the most successful songs in Indian history. He has been featured thrice in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list.
Anirudh Ravichander is an Indian singer and film composer. He achieved international recognition in 2012 when his debut track Why This Kolaveri Di went viral on the internet. Since then, Anirudh has been an important composer in the Tamil film industry. Over the years, he has received several prestigious awards like Edison Awards, Vijay Awards, and Mirchi Music Awards South.
Bhupen Hazarika was an Indian playback singer, musician, poet, lyricist, and filmmaker. He is remembered for composing such songs that highlight the importance of humanity and universal brotherhood. His songs remain popular in places like Assam and Bangladesh. He is also credited with introducing the folk music of Assam to Bollywood. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2019.
Shankar Mahadevan is an Indian film composer and singer. He is one-third of the popular musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy which predominantly composes music for Bollywood films. A well-known playback singer, Mahadevan has won three National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer. In 2019, Shankar Mahadevan was honored with the Padma Shri for his contributions to film music.
Rajesh Roshan is an Indian music director who works in Hindi films. Over the years, he has composed music for many popular Hindi films like Kaabil, Krrish, Koi... Mil Gaya, and Karan Arjun. He has received a couple of Filmfare Awards for Best Music Director for his work in films like Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai and Julie.
M.M. Keeravaani is an Indian playback singer, film composer, and lyricist. One of the most respected and decorated music directors in the Telugu film industry, Keeravani is the recipient of 11 Nandi Awards, eight Filmfare Awards, and a National Film Award. Over the years, he has composed music for successful and popular movies like Baahubali.
Anoushka Shankar is a British-Indian music composer and sitar player. Over the years, she has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and has won many prestigious awards, such as Songlines Music Award. In 2004, she was named in the 20 Asian Heroes list published by Time. Anoushka Shankar is also known for her activism and is a supporter of animal rights.
Anuradha Paudwal is an Indian playback singer who has contributed to the soundtrack of many Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, and Marathi films. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, such as Filmfare Awards and a National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer. In 2017, Anuradha Paudwal was honored with India's fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri.
Yuvan Shankar Raja is a music composer and singer-songwriter. He is credited with introducing hip-hop to the Tamil music industry and became one of the most sought-after Tamil composers in 2000s. In 2006, he won the Cyprus International Film Festival Award, becoming the first Indian composer to win the award. He has also won other awards like Filmfare Awards South.
Chinmayi Sripada is an Indian singer, voice actor, radio jockey, and TV presenter who works predominantly in the South Indian film and TV industry. Chinmayi is also credited with founding Blue Elephant, a translation services company, for which she serves as the CEO. Also known for her activism, Chinmayi Sripada has been an important figure in India's Me Too movement.
43 Jagjit Singh
Jagjit Singh was an Indian singer, musician, and composer. Nicknamed King of Ghazals, Jagjit Singh is credited with reviving and popularizing an Indian classical art form called ghazal. Regarded as one of the most influential artists in India, Singh was honored with India's third-highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2003. He was also honored with other awards like Lata Mangeshkar Samman.
44 S. Janaki
Better known as Janaki Amma, playback singer S. Janaki had begun her career with the Tamil film Vidhiyin Vilayattu. Also known as the Nightingale of South India, she has lent her voice to over 48,000 songs. Following her retirement, she has been the victim of death hoaxes at least twice.
45 S.D. Burman
S.D. Burman was an Indian singer and music director. One of the most influential and successful film music composers in the history of Bollywood, Burman composed the music for more than 100 movies. During his career, he won many prestigious awards like Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Filmfare Awards, and National Film Awards. In 1969, he was awarded the Padma Shri.
Indian flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia, a major figure of Hindustani classical music, is known for taking the Indian bansuri to the international stage. Born in Allahabad, he hid his musical aspirations from his father, who wanted him to take up wrestling. He grew up to became a luminary of the Senia gharana.
Though renowned playback singer Hariharan is known for his soft ghazals, he rocked the 1990s with the musical duo Colonial Cousins, with fellow singer Lesle Lewis. The two-time National Award winner also has a Padma Shri to his credit. He is also known for his long-term collaboration with A.R Rahman.
48 Bappi Lahiri
Bappi Lahiri is an Indian singer and music composer. He is credited with popularizing synthesized disco music in India. He achieved popularity in the 1980s and 1990s and is best known for his work in dance films like Dance Dance and Disco Dancer.
49 Kamal Haasan
Harris Jayaraj is an Indian film composer who works predominantly in the Tamil film industry. Dubbed The Melody King, Jayaraj is renowned for composing soothing music. One of the most decorated film composers of his generation, Harris Jayaraj has received several prestigious awards including six Filmfare Awards South, six Mirchi Music Awards, and four Tamil Nadu State Film Awards.