On Day 1 of the India Today Conclave East 2018, Usha uthup brought down the house with her sharp wit and mesmerising performance.
When the conversation picked up the topic about her uncharacteristic voice, Usha said, “I started singing in 1969. Next year, I will complete 50 years. I came in at a time when people thought that ladies' voices should be pretty and gentle, and there I came with a voice like Mr Ram Madhav's. No one expected a woman in a saree looking like me singing in a nightclub. When I came on stage, they thought 'what is this amma going to do?' But when I sang, they were like, wow.”
There was a certain discussion about her look as well. To which she replied, “Many people think that this is strategy, marketing but in those days, there was nothing like that. I come from a middle-class family, my mother wore a saree. It's not for impact, it's the only dress I knew.”
She was even asked about her singing in a nightclub in the 1960s. The singer said, “I think it was the timing that made it so correct for me. I really don't have a hard luck story. There was no struggle. At that time, the nightclub was only a place where men went. After I came in, they began bringing their wives, sisters in. It became a family place.
The women in the audience became my best friends. They felt that with a body and a face like mine, I was no threat to their marriages. The only scandal I ever had, I married.”
Usha Uthup even answered questions related to alcahol. She glorified her respense by saying, “People talk about sharaab like it has never happened anywhere before. But it has been happening since time immemorial in India. In a nightclub, I got used to everyone drinking and having a good time. If you drink, it's okay. If you don't drink, it's okay. But don't smoke!”