Bombay Jayashri

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Not to be confused with theatre personality, B. Jayashree.
Bombay Jayashri
Bombay Jayashri in a concert
Bombay Jayashri in a concert
Born Jayashri Ramnath
Kolkata, India
  • singer
  • music composer
  • teacher
Years active 1982–present
Musical career
  • vocals

Jayashri Ramnath (popularly known as Bombay Jayashri) is an Indian Carnatic music vocalist and music composer. She is a disciple of violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman.[1][2]

Early life and training[edit]

Jayashri was born in Kolkata, into a family of music connoisseurs and musicians. While growing up in Mumbai, she started training in Carnatic music under the guidance of her parents Seetha and N. N. Subramaniam. She attended St. Anthony's High School in Chembur. Soon, she went on to learn with T. R. Balamani, and trained under her for a period of 10 years.[3] Jayashri was also initiated into Hindustani music and trained under Sri Mahavir Jaipurvale and Sri Ajay Pohankar[4] for about six years. When she moved to Chennai, she came under the guidance and mentorship of her guru Lalgudi Jayaraman.[5] She also learnt the veena from G. N. Dhandapani Iyer.[6] Jayashri has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from R. A. Podar College, Mumbai, a Diploma in Music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi and has been conferred a Doctorate by the Mother Theresa Women's University.[4]


Jayashri performed her first concert in 1982. She has performed at various festivals and venues all across India and in over twenty different countries. In India, she has performed in all the major cities. In New Delhi: The Rashtrapati Bhavan, Vishnu Digambar festival, Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Sri Shanmukhananda Sabha, India International Centre and Bhakti Utsav. She has performed also at Saptak, Ahmedabad; The Music Academy and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai; ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata;NCPA and Sri Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai; Chowdiah Memorial Hall and Vasantha Habba, Bangalore; Kuthira Malika and Soorya Festival, Trivandrum, The Palace of Mysore and at the Matrimandir Amphitheatre at Auroville. Across India, she has performed for the Spirit of Unity Concerts for National Integration, SPIC MACAY Festivals and All India Radio's Sangeet Sammelan.

In the US, she has performed at the World Music Institute – New York; University of Arizona – Tucson; University of Texas – Austin; MIT – Boston; University of Louisiana – New Orleans; Cornell University and Amherst College.

Jayashri's Europe tours have included venues such as: Saddlers Wells and Queen Elizabeth Hall – London; Festival of Sacred Voices and Museum Rietberg – Switzerland; Vantaa Festival and The Russian Opera House – Helsinki, Finland; Théâtre de la Ville, Festival of Nantes, The Museum of Sculpture and Arts, Musee des Asiatiques and Citi de la Musique – in France; Casa da Musica a Porto – Portugal; Sala de Camera – Spain and at the University of Cologne.

She has also performed at The Royal Opera House – Durban, Monash University – Melbourne and Esplanade Theatre – Singapore.

Musical collaboration[edit]

Musical exchanges and dialogues[edit]

Jayashri's jugalbandis with Ronu Majumdar[7] and Shubha Mudgal have been very well received.[8] She has dialogued with artistes in dance like Leela Samson and Priyadarsini Govind.[9] Jayashri has sung Thirukkural and an Annamacharya verse in the prestigious audio autobiography – Wings of Fire of former President Shri Abdul Kalam. She performed in 'Bhaire Baanvari', the story of Meera, conceptualised and directed by Gowri Ramnarayan.[10] She also was a part of 'Mathemagician' with actor V Balakrishnan and written by Gowri Ramnarayan. Jayashri also performed at the MTV Coke Studio(India) Season 1 with Ustad Rashid Khan and Richa Sharma.[11]

Jayashri also conceptualised 'Listening to Life' – A concert that features the journey of a musician as a lover of music.[12]

Cross cultural collaboration[edit]

Her quest to interact and experiment with various forms of music has resulted in collaborations with various eminent artistes from around the world. She has sung with Egyptian singer Hisham Abbas and Senegalese singer Thione Seck. In 2008, she was part of an Indo-Finnish venture 'Red Earth and Pouring Rain', where she sang Kuṟuntokai  – ancient poems from Sangam literature – with Avanti, a Philharmonic Orchestra from Finland and set to music by Eero Hämeenniemi.[13] In 2012, she sang the poetry of Mirza Ghalib composed by Eero Hämeenniemi at the Vantaa festival, Finland.[14]

Film music[edit]

Jayashri is also a playback singer whose film music includes collaborations with composer A. R. Rahman on the song "Narumugaiye" from Mani Ratnam's Iruvar. Collaborations with music composer Harris Jeyaraj has won her the Filmfare Awards South for Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil for the popular song "Vaseegara" from the Tamil film Minnale. She sang in Mahesh Dattani's 'Morning Raga' for the music of Amit Heri. She has also sung in various films in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam languages. She collaborated with composer Mychael Danna on "Pi's Lullaby" from the film adaptation of Yann Martel's book Life of Pi in 2012.

Music composition[edit]

Jayashri worked with Ang Lee on his motion picture, Life of Pi. She wrote and performed the lyrics for "Pi's Lullaby", which was nominated for the 2012 Oscars in the Best Original Song category. She has also composed music for actor Revathi's films Verukku Neer and Kerala Cafe.[15] In 2004, Jayashri composed music for Silappadhikaaram, a dance drama commissioned by the Cleveland Cultural Alliance.

Passing on an inheritance[edit]

In 2001, Jayashri, along with Sanjay Subrahmanyan and T. M. Krishna wrote the book 'Prof. Sambamoorthy, the visionary musicologist', detailing the life and times of Prof.Sambamoorthy – eminent Indian musicologist. The book was published to commemorate his birth centenary. In 2007, Jayashri, T. M. Krishna – leading Carnatic vocalist and Mythili Chandrasekar – Senior Vice-President at JWT together wrote the book 'Voices Within',[16] – a one-of-a-kind coffee table book that captures the pioneering spirit of 7 of the greatest Carnatic masters of the previous generations.

Jayashri featured in the first full length Carnatic music film 'Margazhi Ragam', conceptualised by Director P Jayendra. This was a ground breaking venture that showed Carnatic music in a whole different light. The movie, released in 2008, used the very best and latest technologies for video and sound recording. In her quest to reach music to the next generation, she along with T. M. Krishna and YACM initiated Svanubhava – a week-long Music Festival, exclusively for students of music, which continues to be conducted annually.[17]


Another dimension of music which Jayashri is focused on is in exploring the therapeutic and healing value that music can generate. She has been working closely with institution like Kilikili, Sampoorna in Karnataka and Sankalp in Tamil Nadu which care for autistic children. This domain is a matter of serious engagement for Jayashri and her students. Some other institutions that Jayashri has worked with include: The Banyan Chennai (rehabilitation of homeless/mentally challenged women), Vasantha Memorial Trust (cancer patients),[18] Stepping Stones Orphanage Home, Malaysia, Multiple Sclerosis Society of India, Bangalore[19] and more.

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song (Oscar) for Pi's Lullaby from Life of Pi, 2013[20][21][22]
  • "Nada Ratna" award from Nada Sudha, Velachery, 2011
  • Honorary Doctorate – Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa), awarded by Mother Theresa Women's University, Kodaikkanal, October 2009
  • "Sangeetha Saraswathi" from the South Indian Cultural Association (SICA), during its Golden Jubilee Year, 2009.
  • Sangeetha Kalasarathy award from the Vanamamalai Mutt pontiff Kalian Ramanuja Swamigal on behalf of Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Chennai, 2007.
  • Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 2005.
  • "Kalaimamani Virudhu" from the Government of Tamil Nadu, 2007.
  • "Shanmukha Sangeetha Shiromani" from Shanmukhananda Sabha, Bombay, 2006.
  • "M S Subbulakshmi Puraskar" from Vishaka Music Academy, Vishakapatnam. Conferred By Shri Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, 2006.
  • Received the prestigious 'Sangeetha Choodamani Award' from Dr. A C Muthiah from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai in the presence of her Guru Lalgudi Jayaraman, 2005[23]
  • Conferred "Atma Vanishri" from Poojya Shri Shantananda Swami of the Temple of Fine Arts at Varanasi, in the presence Tabla Maestro, Pt. Kishan Maharaj, 2003
  • 'Mani Makudam' by Rajalakshmi Fine Arts, Coimbatore, 2002.
  • Received the 'Kalki Award' from Cine Director K Balachander, on behalf of the Kalki Krishnamoorthy Trust, 2002.
  • Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil for the song 'Vaseegara' from the movie Minnale, 2001.
  • 'Naadabhooshanam' by Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, New Delhi, 2001.
  • 'Asthana Vidhushi' of the Shringeri Mutt, 2001.
  • Conferred the title of 'Isai Peroli' by Dr. P Chidambaram, Union Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Karthik Fine Arts, in the presence of Music Maestro Balamurali Krishna, 1997.
  • "Yuvakala Bharati" conferred by Bharat Kalachar, Chennai, 1992.


  • Smaranam: Song of the Soul (2010, Inreco )
  • WindSong – Classical Jugalbandi by Pandit Ronu Majumdar & Bombay Jayashri (2010, Kosmik)
  • Confluence of Elements (2007, Saregama)
  • Kannamma (2007, Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Azhaga (2006, Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Salokyam (2005, Charsur Digital Workstation)
  • Margam (2004, Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Kashi (2003, Charsur Digital Workstation)
  • Panchabhutams (2003, Music Today)
  • Shyama (2003, Music Today)
  • Vatsalyam (2001, Charsur Digital Workstation)
  • Shravanam: Music for Meditative Listening (2001, Charsur Digital Workstation 018)
  • Atma: Soul (2000, Charsur Digital Workstation 6235)

Semmozhi Anthem[edit]

Jayashri was one among the singers who sang the "Semmozhiyaana Thamizh Mozhiyaam" song for the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010. She also appeared on the screen after T. L. Maharajan and was followed by Aruna Sayeeram. The visualisation of the theme song was directed by the renowned director Gautham Menon which had an extremely positive response from the audience. The song features the fusion of various musical cultures including Carnatic, Folk, Acoustic, Sufi, Rock and Rap.

The Lyrics of the song was written by the popular politician M. Karunanidhi and composed by A. R. Rahman. The other popular singers who sang the theme song are T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela, T. L. Maharajan, Aruna Sayeeram, Nithyasree Mahadevan, S. Sowmya, T. M. Krishna, Srinivas, Naresh Iyer, Harini, Chinmayi, Karthik, Hariharan, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Vijay Yesudas, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Blaaze, Lady Kash, Shruthi Hassan and Chinna Ponnu.

Film playback singing[edit]

Jayashri has sung several film songs for movies under eminent music directors like M. S. Viswanathan, Ilayaraja, A. R. Rahman, Harris Jayaraj, Dhina, M. M. Keeravani, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, R. P. Patnaik, HariharanLeslie Lewis, D. Imman and Srikanth Deva. Her first song was for Ilayaraja. She shot to fame after singing the classical duet song "Narumugaiye" for the film Iruvar along with Unni Krishnan and composed by A. R. Rahman. Her other playback career highlighting song was "Vaseegara" for the film Minnale in 2001, composed by Harris Jayaraj. This song was sung again by herself in the Telugu version of the film (Cheli) also. She had given many hit songs with Harris Jayaraj in various languages. She has a mesmerising voice which makes all class of listeners to pay attention on her songs. She has rendered her voice to popular actresses like Jyothika, Tabu, Asin, Divya Spandana, Rakshitha, Reema Sen, Madhoo, Karthika, Suhasini, Meera Jasmine, Kajal Agarwal, Kamalini Mukherjee, Sneha, Charmi and Nayanthara

Film Discography[edit]

Tamil Songs[edit]

Year Song Title Movie Music Director Co-Singers
1983 "Vaada Kanna" Thambathigal M. S. Viswanathan S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
"Oruvan Oruthi"
"Nenjai Kilappi" Solo
1994 "Kaiyil Veenai Yendhum" Vietnam Colony Ilayaraja
1997 "Naramugaiye Naramugaiye" Iruvar A. R. Rahman Unni Krishnan
1998 "Raagam Azhaithu" Kanmani Oru Kavithai Ilayaraja Arun Mozhi, K. S. Chithra
2000 "Ninnai charan" Bharathi Solo
2001 "Vaseegara" Minnale Harris Jayaraj
"Mudhal Kanave" Majunu Harish Raghavendra
2002 "Theenda Theenda[Duet]" Thulluvadho Ilamai Yuvan Shankar Raja Unni Krishnan
"Theenda Theenda[Solo]" Solo
Fusion of classical song "Kuzhaloodhi Manamellam" Mitr, My Friend Bhavatharini
2003 "Ondra Renda" Kaakha Kaakha Harris Jayaraj
"Unnai Thedum" Pon Megalai Ilayaraja
2004 "Malargale" Pudhukottayilirundhu Saravanan Yuvan Shankar Raja
"Thithi Thidave" Jana Dhina
2005 "Suttum Vizhi" Ghajini Harris Jayaraj Sriram Parthasarathy
"Uyire En Uyire" Thotti Jaya Karthik, Anuradha Sriram
2006 "Paartha Mudhal" Vettaiyadu Vilayadu Unni Menon
"Pudichirukku Pudichirukku" Nenjirukkum Varai Srikanth Deva Vijay Yesudas
2007 "Minnalgal Koothadum" Pollathavan G. V. Prakash Kumar Karthik
"Uppu kallu" Karuppusamy Kuththagaithaarar Dhina Solo
"Unakkul Naane" Pachaikili Muthucharam Harris Jayaraj Chorus
2008 "Abinayam Kaatugindra" Uliyin Osai Ilayaraja Sudha Raghunathan
"Yaaro Manadile" Dhaam Dhoom Harris Jayaraj Krish
"Siru Thoduthalile" Laadam Dharan Haricharan
"Chellame Chellame" Sathyam Harris Jayaraj Balram, Sunitha Sarathy
"Priya Ithu Sitout" Nepali Srikanth Deva Karthik, Savitha
"Enna Matramo" Ennai Theriyuma Achu Karthik
2009 "Paadhi Kaadhal" Modhi Vilayadu Hariharan, Leslie Lewis Sunitha Sarathy
"Nilai Varuma" Unnaipol Oruvan Shruthi Hassan Kamal Haasan
"Neenda Thooram[Female Version]" Vedigundu Murugesan Dhina Solo
"Orumurai Nee Paarthal" Eesa Haran Harish Raghavendra
"Orumurai Nee Paarthal 2"
"Kana Ondru Kanden" Anthony Yaar? Dhina Shankar Mahadevan
"Vizhigalile" Renigunta Ganesh Raghavendra Solo
2010 "Kanna Nee" Irumbukkottai Murattu Singam G. V. Prakash Kumar Naveen Iyer, D. A. Srinivas
"Nenjukulle" Thittakudi Selva Nambi Selva Nambi
"Pemmane" Aayirathil Oruvan G. V. Prakash Kumar P. B. Sreenivas
2011 "Venpaniye" Ko Harris Jayaraj Sriram Parthasarathy
"Kalvane En Kalvane" Ninaivil Nindraval D. Imman Sricharan
2012 "Pi's Lullaby" Life of Pi Mychael Danna Solo
"Vennilave" Thuppakki Harris Jayaraj Hariharan
"Yen Uyire{Unplugged}" Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakathilaey Achu Solo
"Otrai Viralal" Soozhnilai Dhina
"Ariya Paruvathil" Vinmeengal Jubin Rahul Nambiar
"Muthangal" Eppadi Manasukkul Vanthai A. J. Daniel Unni Menon, Jai Geetha
"Neeradinom" Ithanai Naalai Engirunthai Dhina Solo
2014 "Nee Vandhu Ponadhu" Yaan Harris Jayaraj KK, Ramya NSK

Telugu Songs[edit]

Year Song Title Movie Music Director Co-Singers
1997 "Sasivadane" Iddaru A. R. Rahman Unni Krishnan
2001 "Manohara" Cheli Harris Jayaraj Solo
2002 "Tiya Tiyani Kalalanu" Sreeram R. P. Patnaik
2004 "Mahaganapatim" Morning Raga Mani Sharma/Amit Heri
"Mahaganapatim Jam"
"Jagada Dharana(Kannada)" Nandini Srikar
2005 "Hrudayam Ekkadunnadi" Ghajini Harris Jayaraj Harish Raghavendra
"Aamani Koyilanai" Premikulu Sajan Madhav Solo
2006 "Vere Maina Anani" Amma Cheppindi M. M. Keeravani
"Yentho Dooram"
"Ulike O Chilake" Jalakanta Harris Jayaraj Karthik
2007 "Banam" Raghavan Harish Raghavendra
2008 "Anti Pettukundhuna" 16 Days Dharan Haricharan
"Enduko Madi" Nenu Meeku Telusa Achu Hemachandra
"Muddula Muddula" Salute Harris Jayaraj Balram, Sunitha Sarathy
2009 "Eenaadu Ee Samaram" Eeenadu Shruthi Hassan Kamal Haasan
2011 "Ee Manchullo" Rangam Harris Jayaraj Sriram Parthasarathy
2012 "Vennelave[Telugu]" Thuppakki Hariharan
2013 "Kamalaasana" Intinta annamaya M. M. Keeravani Solo

Kannada Songs[edit]

Year Song Title Movie Music Director Co-Singers
2003 "Preethse Antha Prana" Excuse Me R. P. Patnaik Solo
2005 "Usire Usire" Deadly Soma Sadhu Kokila Karthik
2006 "Summane Summane" Jothe Jotheyali Harikrishna Solo
2007 "Manaseega Maathanna" Right Adhre Neel
2009 "Huduga Huduga" Meghave Meghave Harikrishna
"Ee Thampu Gali" Karanji Veer Samarth Hariharan, Fayaz Khan, Kushala
2010 "Suvvali Suvvalali" Janani Asif Ali Unni Krishnan

Malayalam Songs[edit]

Year Song Title Movie Music Director Co-Singers
1992 "Kamalambike" Kudumbasametham(1992) Johnson[24] K. J. Yesudas
"Jagadaananda" Neyveli Santhanagopalan, Sreemathi Bindra, Sreemathi Soundaram Krishnan
1993 "Neelanjanapoovin" Paithrukam(1993) S.P.Venkitesh[25] Solo
2005 "Tanha Tanha" Daivanamathil Pravin Mani
2007 "Prayana Sandhya Oru" Ore Kadal Ousepachan
2014 "Enthu Cheyyan" Peruchazhi Arrora

Hindi Songs[edit]

Year Song Title Movie Music Director Co-Singers
2001 "Zara Zara" Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein Harris Jayaraj, Aadesh Shrivastava Solo
2004 "Khul Ke Muskurale" Phir Milenge Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy
2011 "Chahoon Bhi toh" Force Harris Jayaraj Karthik

She has worked with the music Maestro M.S. Viswanathan in a devotional album called "Arul tharum Abirami".

Album Songs[edit]

She sang the indoarabic single album Habibi Dah (Nari Narain)(Nari Nari) along with Hisham Abbas in 2001.


External links[edit]