(Last Updated on : 28/07/2014)
Amirbai Karnataki has been an illustrious actress and playback singer of the yesteryears. She is well regarded as Kannada Kokila. The song 'Vaishnav Jaan' that was sung by Amirbai was a favourite one of Mahatma Gandhi
. She was born into a lower middle class family at Bilgi village, district of Bijapur
. She was born as one of the five sisters of whom Amirbai and her elder sister Gauherbai gained fame and fortune in the field of singing. She married Badri Kaanchwala, the editor of Paras.
After finishing her matriculation, Amirbai moved to Mumbai
(then known as Bombay) at the age of fifteen years; she got an offer from the big recording house HMV. They made her sing a Qawwali
, which became immensely popular. Gauherbai, elder sister to Amirbai, was an actress. She helped Amirbai earn a role in the film Vishnu Bhakti in 1934. Since then she had been dishing out songs in many films but, those songs were not as much popular. But she rose to fame with the release of Bombay Talkies' Kismet. The songs of the film were declared huge hit, and she became a star overnight.
All the songs of Kismet were composed by music maestro Anil Biswas. By the year 1947, Amirbai Karnataki reached the zenith of her career. But later on she shifted her career focus towards acting, where she largely played character roles. She also bagged the honour of composing music for Wahab Pictures' film Shehnaaz (1948). Later on Amirbai left Hindi Cinema for Gujarati and Marwari films. Some movies by Amiribai are- Boy Friend (1961); Dark Street (1961); Bedard Zamana Kya Jane (1959); Hum Panchhi Ek Dal Ke (1957); Mr. X (1957); Subah Ka Tara (1954); Mashooka (1953); Deewana (1952); Bedardi (1951); Lav Kush (1951); Sipahiya (1949); Vidya (1948); Haqdar (1946); Narsi Bhagat (1940); Yasmin (1935).
In the year 1965, Amiribai had a paralytic attack and died abruptly just four days later. She was buried in her hometown.