Monali Thakur is a Kolkata-born playback singer and actress. Born in a musical family, Monali's father is a renowned Bengali Playback singer and her sister, Mehuli Thakur, is also a Playback singer. Monali's singing talent was initially recognized when she'd won the Best Playback Singer award at the 'Amandalok Awards', for the serial 'Sri Rama Krishna' at the age of 14. She'd been trained under Padma Shri Pandit Jagdish Prasad and Padma Shri Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty for Hindustani music. Monali's singing career started when she auditioned for
Indian Idol 2 (the Indian version of Pop Idol) in 2005. Monali had been well acclaimed for her singing by the judging panel that included
Sonu Nigam, and Farah Khan.
She was placed ninth in the competition, but recognizing her potential in singing; Anu Malik introduced her to Bollywood in the movie Jaan-e-Man. However, she had her share of struggle as a newborn in the industry. Her wait for a breakthrough had a full stop when
Pritam Chakraborty gave her a chance in “Khwab Dhekhe” (sexy lady) for the Bollywood thriller '
The film directors were so impressed by her voice that she was offered a second song in the same movie. This song 'Zara Zara Touch Me' changed her career. The song was a big hit in the box-office and was the fourth most played song during the first half in Indian radios. Monali had been nominated for the IIFA Best Female Playback Singer Award, and she also won the Apsara Award for the Best Female Playback singer, for the same song. She won the prestigious National Award for the Best Female Playback Singer for 'Sawar Loon' for the movie '
Lootera' in the year 2014.
Many Bollywood hits followed her that includes Raghupati Raghav (Krrish 3),Khudaya Khair (
Billu Barber), Anjana Anjani Ki Kahani (Anjana Anjani), Dil Ye Ladaku (Sala Kadoos) and many more. Her song 'Moh Moh Ke Daage' for the movie Dum Laga Ke Haisha won her the Best Female Playback singer in the Guild Awards 2015 and is also nominated for the National awards this year. This “Singing-Diva” is also a renowned actress. She first appeared on the screen in a Bengali soap 'Alokito Ek Indu', where she played the lead role Indubala.
Her debut as an actor was in Raja Sen's Bengali film “Krishnater Will”. She made her Bollywood debut in the award-winning “
Lakshmi”, where she played the role of a 15-year old village girl who gets trapped in child prostitution. The story depicts Lakshmi’s struggle and the way she fights back and win the case against the traffickers. Her flawless acting in this movie won her the prestigious South-Asian International film festival in Washington D. C for the Best Actress. She had made an appearance in the
Aamir Khan starrer '
She will be seen next in Abbas Tyrewala’s multi starrer '
Mango', which is set to release later this year. Monali was also a part of a couple of short films like 'Jingle Bells' along with
Nandita Das and 'Didi'. She was among the judging panel in the Bengali music reality show 'Bengali Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li'l Champs' for two years. She was also a part of Coke Studio and had also appeared in the Bengali show “Key Hobe’s biggest fan”. Her field of expertise also includes Hip-Hop, Bharatanatyam and Salsa.