(Last Updated on : 21/11/2014)
Rajkumari or Rajkumari Dubey has been reckoned as an accomplished Indian playback singer. She was born in the year 1924 in British India. She did not received any training in singing. Her family supported the talent of Rajkumari. In the year 1934, when she recorded her first song, she was only 10 years old. She recorded the song for big music recording house HMV. Then onwards, her career as a stage artist began.
During one of her stage shows, she has been spotted by Vijay Bhatt and Shankar Bhatt of Prakash Pictures. After that she has been employed by the Prakash Pictures as an actress and singer. Hindi-Gujarati bilingual called 'Sansar Leela Nayi Duniya' was the first film by Rajkumari under the production of Prakash Pictures. Later on in the year 1933, she got the significant role in the movies Aankh Ka Tara and Turki Sher. In the year 1934, she was made the heroine of the movie Bhakt Ke Bhagwan and Insaaf Ki Topi. In some films she has also playacted with Zakaria Khan (late actor Amjad Khan's father, whose screen name was Jayant).
Rajkumari used to sing under the illustrious music director Lallubhai. But after some years of acting career, she decided to pursue her career only in singing. She quit the Prakash Pictures and started play back singing for actresses like Ratnamala, Shobhana Samarth, etc. However she fetched the honor of being the 'First Female Playback Singer of Indian Cinema'. Apart from Hindi she has rendered many songs in Gujarati and Punjabi language.
Without having any formal training in music, Rajkumari possessed an excellent quality of picking up any sort of music. As a classical singer she has established herself. She has enriched her voice quality within the framework of classical forms of thumri and dadra. Shamshad Begum, Zohrabai Ambalewali, Juthika Roy, Zeenat Begum were her comtemporaries. In the film Naukar (released in the year 1943) she has sang song with another illustrious singer Noor Jehan.
Rajkumari was married to V.K. Dubey very late in her life. V.K. Dubey was originally from Benares (Uttar Pradesh). Later on, for Neel Kamal, a Raj Kapoor and Madhubala starrer, and Hulchul she would go on to sing songs in the year 1951. But Bawre Nain (1950) and Mahal (1949) are the two most famous films of her, where she lend her voice for the Indian actress Madhubala. It was music director Naushad who spotted Rajkumari from the chorus for his background score for Pakeezah (released in the year1972). Rajkumari recorded her last film song for R.D. Burman in the film Kitaab. In early 2000, Rajkumari died.