Playback singer Chandru Atma is known for films such as Lakhpati (1991), Maar Dhaad (1988), Prem Bandhan (1979), and Bhumika (1977). He also rendered several popular devotional and spiritual songs for recording companies such as T-Series and HMV. Starting off with singing at stage shows, he graduated to rendering playback for films, following in the footsteps of his brother, the well-known singer C H Atma.
He was born Chandru Hashmatrai Chainani in 1938 in Karachi, to a prominent lawyer father, Hashmatrai Chainani. His father’s fondness for music carried over to his children as well, including Chandru’s older sibling, the popular singer C H Atma. Chandru joined his brother in Bombay, where artistes like Talat Mehmood, Mukesh and Jaikishan would mingle at their home. He would also be present at C H Atma’s stage shows. This exposure saw Chandru leaning heavily towards singing as well. Bhaisaab, as Chandru addressed his brother, was his guru as well, who recognised his aspirations and started his tutelage in music. Thus did Chandru start off singing at private mehfils or musical gatherings.
He got his first opportunity to sing onstage in the 1960s when, during a show, C H Atma fell ill and he was asked to take over the microphone. The programme was a success and Chandru too started getting more and more shows. As he made a name for himself, HMV followed by T-Series made several private albums with him. Interestingly, he spontaneously came to be known as Chandru Atma, after his brother, who had changed his name from Atma Hashmatrai Chainani to C H Atma.
Chandru Atma went on to render playback for films with songs such as Meri zindagi ki kashti tere pyar ka sahara from Bhoomika (1977), Hum paap tu bakhshankar from Sahib Bahadur (1977), Sanwariya tori preet naye naye roop dikhaye from Prem Bandhan (1978), Tumse badkar duniya mein na dekha koi aur from Kaamchor (1982), and Pagal man mera prem dewana from Maardhaad (1988). Other songs he rendered include Tere daar pe sar jhukake Sherawali Ma, Hum paapi tu bakhshanhar, Meri zindagi ki kashti, Uth jaag musafir bhor bhai, Chalo Shiv Dham, Shree Hanuman chalisa, Aarti Shree Hanumanji Ki, Dil se aawaz aayee maa maa, Yo sansar ajab hai re bhai, Dulha sai aas pujaai, and Bhajo re bhai.
Like his older brother, he too was apparently typecast within the K L Saigal mould of singing. Chandru Atma also featured onscreen in the film Prem Bandhan (1979). He played a sailor in this Ramanand Sagar directorial which starred Rajesh Khanna, Rekha and Moushumi Chatterjee.
Chandru Atma passed away on 12 April, 2009.
Image credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynQvGmu07h4