Suneeta Rao is an Indian playback singer, pop singer, and stage actor. She is known for singing the song “Paree Hoon Main” from the Hindi music album ‘Dhuan’ (1991).
Suneeta Rao aka Sunita Rao was born on Wednesday, 5 April 1967 (age 55 years; as of 2022) in Germany. Her zodiac sign is Aries. In childhood, she started her training in Carnatic vocal music under the Indian singer P V Shankar. Thereafter, she did her training in Bharatanatyam and Jazz Ballet.
Suneeta Rao’s childhood picture
In 1983, she did her schooling at Bombay International School, Mumbai, Maharashtra. She pursued her graduation at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. While she was studying in college, Sunneeta started performing in stage plays.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Dr D K Rao. Her mother, Komala Sista Rao, is an Indian classical singer and author. She has three elder siblings; one brother and two sisters. Her sisters are Kalpana Rao who owns a music band named Just Two, and Aarti Rao, who is also a singer. Her brother, Narasimha Rao, is a guitar player and a former visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
Suneeta Rao with her mother
Suneeta Rao’s sister Arati Rao
Suneeta Rao’s sister Kalpana Rao
Suneeta Rao’s brother Narasimha Rao
Husband & Children
On 9 October 2008, she got married to her long-time boyfriend Jason West, who is a film cinematographer. The couple has a daughter named Maya.
Suneeta Rao and her daughter
She has performed professionally in various musical stage plays such as ‘Evita,’ ‘They’re Playing Our Song,’ and ‘Greased Lightning.’
In 1989, she started her career as a singer with the Hindi music album ‘Suneeta Senorita.’ Some of the songs from the music album are ‘Chhoo Lein Aasman,’ ‘Kaun Jane,’ ‘Ye Sama,’ and ‘Mazaa.’
Suneeta Senorita music album
She came into the limelight with her 1991 Hindi music album ‘Dhuan’ in which she sang the song “Paree Hoon Main.” After the success of the song, the media persons started calling her ‘Paree of the Masses.’
A still from the song Paree Hoon Main
In 1999, she released another Hindi music album titled ‘Talaash.’ Some of the popular songs from the album are “Kesariyaa,” “Deewangi,” and “Sheeshe Me.”
Talaash music album
Later, she released a few Hindi music singles like “Choti Choti Batein” (1997), “Mujhe Pyar Ho Gaya” (2001), and “Vaada Karo” (2018).
Vaada Karo song poster
In 1995, she lent her voice to the title song “Ekk Pal Hai Zindagi” from the Hindi TV serial ‘Swabhimaan.’
In 1989, she made her Bollywood debut as a playback singer with the film ‘Kahan Hai Kanoon.’
Kahan Hai Kanoon (1989)
She has lent her voice to many Hindi films like ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’ (1993), ‘Ek Tha Raja’ (1996), ‘Laawaris’ (1999), ‘Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge’ (2000), and ‘Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye’ (2000). Suneeta has sung sequences in various Hindi songs such as “Catch Me If You Can” from ‘Sapoot’ (1996), “Kuchh Hamare Pas Hain” from ‘Laawaris’ (1999), and “O Re Kanchi” from ‘Aśoka’ (2001).
In 1994, she made her Telugu film debut as a playback singer with the film ‘May Madham’ in which she lent her voice to the song ”Adi Paru Mangatha.”
A still from the song Adi Paru Mangatha
She worked with the Indian music director A. R. Rahman in the film. She has also sung sequences in various Telugu songs such as “Bang Bang” from ‘Bava Nachadu’ (2001) and “Adithadi Appatha” from ‘Samurai (2002).
Suneeta has also worked as a model. She has worked as a voice-over artist for many TV commercials such as Wheel, Thums Up, and Rich Cafe. Suneeta has performed live at various stage events at national and international levels.
Suneeta Rao performing at an event
- While she was studying in school, she used to participate in singing competitions. Since childhood, she wanted to become a singer and performer.
- At the age of 16, while she was performing a musical play on stage, she was spotted by the Indian actor Sanjeev Kohli. In an interview, while talking about it, Suneeta said,
I was on stage doing Grease and just 16 at that time. Sanjeev Kohli spotted me on stage and he approached me and said, ‘I’d like to do an Indipop album’. At first, I was not interested in Indipop, I was like, ‘No, I’m not going to sing in Hindi and I’m in English theatre and a performer, you know, the nose-up-in-the-air thing. (laughs). But a year and a half later, I wisened up. I said, to reach out to the masses, I’m going to have to sing in Hindi.”
- After the success of the Hindi song “Paree Hoon Main,” her fans started calling her Suneeta Paree Rao.
- She has been associated with an NGO named Population First for a very long time. She has been working for ‘Laadli,’ an initiative started to save the girl child. In June 2014, she participated in Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to raise funds for the Laadli campaign.
- In her leisure time, she loves to read books and do painting.
- In 2017, she came out in the media to share that her song ‘Paree Hoon Main’ was used in one of Shah Rukh Khan’s TV commercials without her consent. She further said that her song was misused in the ad and was wrongly portrayed. In an interview, while talking about it, she said,
When a high-profile brand, a reputed agency and an intelligent superstar come together and create an ad, that can at best be described as prejudiced, narrow minded, and insensitive, knowing fully well that there are a million impressionable minds out there who are believing blindly and lapping up what is being offered up on the screen, one wonders whether the ‘influencers’ really care about the influence they have, or whether it’s just a purely greedy business that generates money without a thought for the social implications of their actions.”
- Later, her song ‘Paree Hoon Main’ was again in the news as some media sources claimed that the song was about child abuse. However, Suneeta denied all such claims and said that the song was about women’s beauty and not child abuse.