Shobha Gurtu (born as Bhanumati Shirodkar on 8 February 1925) was a light Hindustani classical singer who came to be known as the ‘Thumri Queen’.
Hailing from Belgaum, Karnataka, it was her mother, danseuse Menekabai Shirodkhar, who gave her basic training in music. Formally, she began her training with Ustad Bhurji Khan, the son of Ustad Alladiya Khan who founded the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. Her other gurus included Ustad Natthan Khan and Ustad Ghamman Khan. She adopted the name ‘Shobha Gurtu’ post marriage. One of her sons is a renowned percussionist Trilok Gurtu.
She has sung in Marathi films and in Bollywood. In 1971 she debuted in Hindi films with “Pakeezah” and then recorded “Bedardi Ban Gaye Koi Jaao” for “Phagun” (1973). Filmfare nomination for Best Female Playback Singer came her way for her rendition of “Saiyyan Rooth Gaye” from the 1978 movie “Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki”.
She received the Padma Bhushan award in 2002, was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987 and has also won the Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar, Shahu Maharaj Puraskar and the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar.
Survived by two sons, Gurtu passed away on 27 September 2004 after five decades as the queen of Thumri.