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K. S. Chithra
|Birth name||Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra|
|Also known as||Melody Queen of Indian Cinema|
Little Nightingale of India
Vanambadi in Kerala
Chinna Kuyil in Tamil Nadu
Kannada Kogile in Karnataka
Sangeeta Saraswathi in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
|Born||27 July 1963|
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
|Genres||Playback singing, Carnatic music, Hindustani music|
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Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, often credited as K. S. Chithra or simply Chithra, is an Indian playback singer and carnatic musician from Kerala. Chithra also sings Indian classical, devotional, and popular music. She has sung more than 25,000 songs in a number of Indian languages, including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tulu, Urdu, Sanskrit, and Badaga, as well as foreign languages such as Malay, Latin, Arabic, Sinhalese, English and French.
Chithra is a recipient of six National Film Awards (most by any female singer in India), eight Filmfare Awards South and 35 different state film awards. She has won all the four south Indian state film awards. She was honored with India's civilian honor Padma Shri in 2005. She is the first Indian woman who was honored by House Of Commons, British Parliament, United Kingdom. She is the only singer from India who was honored by the Government of China at the Qinghai International Music and Water Festival. She is the only South Indian female singer who has presented her maiden concert at the world's prestigious concert hall Royal Albert Hall in London. Her song "Kannalane/Kehna Hi Kya" from the film Bombay (1995) was included in The Guardian's "1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear" list.
Born in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, into a family of musicians, Chithra's father, the late Krishnan Nair, was also her first guru (teacher). Her elder sister K. S. Beena and her younger brother K. Mahesh are also playback singers. Chithra received her training in Carnatic music from Dr. K. Omanakutty, passed B.A. in music with first class and third rank from the University of Kerala, and completed a master's degree in music. She was selected to the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 to 1984.
Chithra was introduced to Malayalam playback by M. G. Radhakrishnan in 1979 who recorded her voice for films and private albums. Attahasam, Snehapoorvam Meera and Njan Ekananu were the first few films in which she recorded her voice. She also performed live concerts with K. J. Yesudas in India and abroad. The song "Manjal Prasadavum" from the film Nakhakshathangal (1986) composed by Bombay Ravi got her the second National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer. For the same composer, she sang the song "Indupushpam Choodi Nilkum" for the film Vaishali (1989) and won her third National Film Award. Her first Kerala State Film Award for Best Singer was for the song "Aayiram Kannumayi" from the film Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu (1986) composed by Jerry Amaldev. Since then, she has earned wide recognition by singing popular songs under the compositions of Raveendran, Shyam, S. P. Venkitesh, Mohan Sithara, Kannur Rajan, Ilaiyaraaja, Johnson, Ouseppachan, M. K. Arjunan, A. T. Ummer, Berny Ignatius, M. B. Sreenivasan, Mohan Sithara, Vidyasagar, Ramesh Narayan, Sharreth and M. Jayachandran. She is regarded as "Nightingale of Kerala (Vanambadi)" and recorded many successful songs in Malayalam. She recorded a number of songs for the composer S. P. Venkitesh and her maximum duet songs in Malayalam are with K. J. Yesudas and M. G. Sreekumar. As of 2017, she has won the Kerala State Awards for the record 16 times.
Chithra made her debut in the Tamil film industry through the song "Poojaikketha Poovithu" from the film Neethana Antha Kuyil (1985), which was composed by Ilaiyaraaja. She was given the title Chinnakuyil after singing the song "Chinna Kuyil Paadum" from the 1985 released film Poove Poochudava. Director Fazil cast her for this song after Ilaiyaraaja got impressed with her song sung in original version in Malayalam for the film Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu in 1985 directed by himself.. For the folksy classical song "Paadariyaen Padippariyaen" from the film Sindhu Bhairavi (1986), she was awarded with the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer. Since then, she has recorded thousands of Tamil film songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja, A. R. Rahman, Deva, S. A. Rajkumar, Vidyasagar, Sirpy, Yuvan Shankar Raja, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Harris Jayaraj and Santhosh Narayanan. She has sung huge number of evergreen hit songs in Tamil which are remembered till date. She is the only female singer who has sung the maximum number of songs for the Academy Award winning composer A. R. Rahman for his Tamil film songs.. Her fifth National award for best singer was for the song "Oooh La La" from the film Minsara Kanavu (1997).
Chithra started her journey in Kannada cinema through the film Preethi released in 1986. The duet song "Nee Hacchida Ee Kumkuma" along with S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was composed by G. K. Venkatesh. In the same year, composer M. Ranga Rao offered her two songs in the film Aruna Raaga. This was followed by "Sheela O My Sheela", a duet song with K. J. Yesudas and composed by Bappi Lahiri for the Dwarakish directorial fantasy-adventure film Africadalli Sheela. For the rest of the 1980s, she recorded songs for composers like Rajan-Nagendra, S. P. Venkatesh, Chakravarthy, Sankar Ganesh and Vijay Anand. Some of her popular songs in the 1980s were from the films such as Karunamayi (1987), Suprabhatha (1988), C.B.I. Shankar (1989), Hrudaya Geethe (1989) and Krishna Nee Kunidaga (1989).From the early 90s, she was the most preferred female voice in Kannada industry and Chitra sang for most of songs released for the entire decade. The 1990s saw Chithra being extensively featuring in most of the soundtracks composed by the popular composer Hamsalekha. Starting with the song "Idu Maya Bazaru" from the film C.B.I. Shankar, her collaboration with the composer brought out many successful songs from the films such as Muthina Haara ("Madikeri Sipayi" ), Navathare, Neenu Nakkare Haalu Sakkare, Shanti Kranti, BelliKalungura, Chaitrada Premanjali, Gopi Krishna, Mannina Doni, Solillada Saradara, Annayya, GadibidiGanda, Mane Devru, Munjaneya Manju, Shrungara Kavya, Halunda Tavaru, Mahakshathriya, Himapatha,Putnanja, Karpoorada Gombe, Hrudaya Hrudaya and Shabdavedhi to name a few. Throughout the 1990s, she went on to become a notable singer in Kannada film industry with her perfection in diction and finesse. Her solos and duets with S. P. Balasubrahmanyam made her famous and she received great acclaim for portraying great deal of nativity in her singing. She continued to sing for notable music directors like V. Manohar, SadhuKokila, Deva, Rajesh Ramanath, Gurukiran, S. A. Rajkumar, K. Kalyan, Mano Murthy, V. Harikrishna, ArjunJanya and B. Ajaneesh Loknath. The song "Hele Kogile" composed by Ilaiyaraaja for the film Nammura Mandara Hoove (1996) brought her the first Kannada state award. "Tunturu" and "Ee Sundara Beladingala" songs from Amrutha Varshini (1997),"Navileno Kunibeku" and "Hamsave Hamsave" from Gattimela, "Araluva Hoovugale" from My Autograph, "Onde Usiranthe" from Snehaloka, "Sangaathi" and "Oho Chenne Chenne" from Sparsha, amongst many are considered Chithra's some of the most evergreen Kannada songs. For the 1986 Kannada film Sathkaara, composer Satyam called upon her to sing a duet song along with K. J. Yesudas and since then, Chithra has recorded around 2000 songs in Kannada film industry. Her most frequent collaborations in Kannada has been with Hamsalekha, V. Manohar and her duet songs have been largely with S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Rajesh Krishnan. She is fondly referred to as Gaana Kogile in Kannada cinema industry.
In 1995 Chithra established the Audiotracs Music Company in Chennai. AUDIOTRACS is the brand name of AT MUSICS a music label promoted by the well known singer CHITHRA known as the nightingale of the south in 1995. Audiotracs is one of the most respected music label of south India producing albums in the non film space such as devotional music, classical music, light songs, traditional music etc. Some of the most prominent music directors of Malayalam films like M.Jayachandran, Deepak Dev, Viswajith etc. made their debut thro this label. All of Chitra's non film albums are produced by AUDIOTRACS and released thro MANORAMA MUSIC the music division of the media group Malayala Manorama thro a licensing arrangement since 2001. Apart from music cds the audiotracs catalogue is available in the digital space like YouTube, iTunes, Google+, Nokia music store etc.
Krishna Digidesign is a digital recording studio promoted by K S Chithra in Chennai. The studio is a dream come true project for Chithra.The studio was inaugurated on 6 April 2000 jointly by two of Chithra's mentors K J Yesudas and mastero Ilayaraja in the august presence of her guru Omanakutty and M. G. Radhakrishnan who had introduced her to the field of film music.
The first song was recorded by Sonu Nigam to the music of Bharadwaj. We have two studios studio A and B for song recordings and mastering projects.Today Krishna Digidesign is considered as one of the most popular and professional destination for musicians of all genre in Chennai. luminaries of the music fraternity of the country like M. Balamuralikrishna, K J Yesudas, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan and others had graced the studio with their presence and soulful melodies.
Leading music directors like Sharreth, M. M. Keeravani, Mani Sharma, M. Jayachandran, Deepak Dev, S. Thaman, Anu Malik, Kamalakar and revered personalities like M. S. Viswanathan, Raveendran, Johnson (composer), Shyam (composer), Jerry Amaldev, L. Vaidyanathan, Hamsalekha, Lalgudi Jayaraman, Karaikudi Mani and a host of others have used the services provided by the studio over the years. Most of the recordings of Chithra's music label and the sister concern of the group 'AUDIOTRACS' are also recorded mixed and mastered in Krishna Digidesign. Apart from song recordings the studio undertakes re-recording projects.
Chithra's father, the late Krishnan Nair, was also her first guru (teacher). She started singing at her house as well she used to sing in neighbours' occasional events. Her mother Shantha, who is a veena player (not professionally) used to teach Chithra and her elder sister Beena some devotional slokas and asked them to perform in front of God.
Chithra has sung more than 25,000 songs in number of Indian languages. But predominately she works in South Indian film industry. Chithra has the fame of working with huge number of music directors across India. She has recorded maximum number of songs to the music directors like A. R. Rahman, Ilayaraja, M. M. Keeravani, Koti, S. V. Krishna Reddy, Hamsalekha, Raveendran, Johnson, Sharreth, S. A. Rajkumar, Manisharma, Vidyasagar, Deva, Devi Sri Prasad, Anu Malik, Mickey J Meyer in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. She has recorded huge number of duets with singers like S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, K. J. Yesudas, M. G. Sreekumar, Mano, Hariharan, Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu, Rajesh Krishnan, Karthik, P. Unnikrishnan, Shankar Mahadevan, Vijay Yesudas in all Indian languages. Chithra, Mano, S.P.Balasubrahmanyam have a special fame of recording all the songs in one film dominatly from 1990-1997 mostly in Telugu, Kannada and few Tamil films. She has even recorded hit female duets with P. Susheela, Vani Jairam, S. Janaki, S. P. Sailaja, Sujatha Mohan, Shreya Ghoshal, Shweta Mohan, Swarnalatha, Minmini, Sadhana Sargam, Harini, Sunidhi Chauhan, Alka Yagnik, Madhushree, Sunitha Upadrashta in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam & Hindi. The most successful duet combination was S.P.B-Chithra duo in Telugu and Kannada especially. They have sung maximum number of songs to so many music directors together. They have a fame of recording 2,500 songs to composers Raj-Koti where in total Raj-Koti composed 3,000 songs. Chithra sang some rare duets with the legendary actor and singer Dr.Rajkumar in Kannada. She has been singing since more than 3 decades and yet gets chances to work with latest film music directors like Santhosh Narayanan, S. S. Thaman, Devi Sri Prasad, Mickey J Meyer, Sai Karthik, Ghibran.
Apart from playback singing, she also appeared among the panel of judges in the singing reality television shows at Kerala (Idea Star Singer and Josco Indian Voice), at Tamil Nadu (Airtel Super Singer Junior), where she also won the award for Best Female Judge and at Andhra Pradesh (MAA TV) Super Singer. Apart from this judgement panel she has appeared in many of the ETV (Telugu) music-shows like Swarabhishekam, Super Masti, Jhumandi Nadam etc. She is a regular singer in Ilayaraja's, A.R. Rahman's and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam's concerts. She has performed all over the world in SPB's concerts along with S. P. Sailaja, S. P. Charan. She has been a regular singer participating in all the concerts of SPB50-The World Tour, she has performed almost all around the world with S. P. B. Charan, S. P. Sailaja, Sunitha Upadrashta Karthik & Shweta Mohan.
Chithra recorded her first studio album with Voodoo Rapper for the album called Ragga Raaga in 1993. She recorded the albums in Hindi, Piya Basanti (2000) and Sunset Point. She associated with Ustad Sultan Khan for Piya Basanti which was certified Gold. Sunset Point had eight songs written and narrated by Gulzar and sung by Chithra and Bhupinder. In 2006, she released an album in dedication to M. S. Subbulakshmi named My Tribute. It is a collection of Kritis and bhajans dedicated to Subbulakshmi. In 2009 she released Nightingale: A Salute to Lataji, a musical tribute to Lata Mangeshkar on her 80th birthday. She also recorded many Malayalam albums for K. J. Yesudas, M. Jayachandran and Sharreth compositions. She also planned a ghazal album with Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhosle.
Chithra has established her own recording label, Audiotracs, to promote new artists to collaborate with her as singers, lyricists and music directors.
Chithra has an extensive history of collaboration with A. R. Rahman.
|1||1992||"Rukkumani Rukkumani"||Roja||Tamil||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam|
|2||1992||"Yeh Haseen Waadiyaan"||Hindi||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam|
|3||1992||"Nagamane Nagamane"||Telugu||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam|
|4||1992||"Chella Chella Asha"||Malayalam||-|
|5||1992||"Chella Chella Asha (bit)"||Malayalam||-|
|6||1993||"Kulu Kulu"||Asokan||Tamil||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam|
|7||1993||"Mujhko Yeh Lagta Hai"||Dharam Yoddha||Hindi||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam|
|8||1993||"Thenkizhakku Cheemayile (1)"||Kizhakku Cheemayile||Tamil||Malaysia Vasudevan|
|9||1993||"Thenkizhakku Cheemayile (2)"||Tamil||Malaysia Vasudevan|
|10||1993||"Kaathu Kaathu Dinam Kaathu"||Uzhavan||Tamil||G. V. Prakash Kumar|
|11||1993||"En Aatha Pon Aatha"||Tamil||K. J. Yesudas|
|12||1993||"Kangalil Enna Eeramo"||Tamil||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam|
|13||1993||"Veerapandi Kottayile"||Thiruda Thiruda||Tamil||Mano, Unni Menon|
|14||1993||"Putham Pudhu Bhoomi"||Tamil||Mano|
|15||1993||"Jhoom Jhoom"||Chor Chor||Hindi||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam|
|16||1993||"Pyar Kabhi"||Hindi||Udit Narayan, Mano|
|17||1993||"Veera Bobbili"||Donga Donga||Telugu||Mano, Unni Menon|
|18||1993||"Kotha Bangaru Lokam"||Telugu||Mano|
|19||1994||"Baboo Love Cheyyara"||Super Police||Telugu||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam|
|23||1994||"Chumma De Chumma De"||Khel Khiladi Ka||Hindi||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam|
|24||1994||"En Kadhale" (Female version)||Duet||Tamil||-|
|25||1994||"Anjali Anjali Pushpanjali"||Tamil||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam|
|29||1994||"Neenecheli Neenecheli"||Telugu||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, Noel James|
|31||1994||"En Mel Vizhunda"||May Madham||Tamil||P. Jayachandran|
|33||1994||"Edapai Jarina"||Telugu||P. Unnikrishnan|
|36||1994||"Thenmerku Paruva Kaatru"||Karuthamma||Tamil||Unnikrishnan|
|37||1994||"Sirimalle Mogga Meeda"||Vanitha||Telugu||Unnikrishnan|
|38||1994||"Onnu Rendu Moonuda"||Pudhiya Mannargal||Tamil||Mano|
|42||1994||"Enna Mayam Kannamma"||Manitha Manitha||Tamil||Mano|
|43||1994||"Kisu Kisu Namakkal"||Tamil||Mano|
|44||1994||"Hello Hello Anburani"||Tamil||Mano|
|45||1994||"Neelimabbu Kondallona"||Palnati Pourusham||Telugu[better source needed]||K J Yesudas|
|46||1995||"Kehna Hi Kya"||Bombay||Hindi||-|
|51||1995||"Thoda Thoda Malardhadhenna"||Indira||Tamil||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam|
|52||1995||"Thoda Thoda Pyar - 1"||Priyanka||Hindi||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam|
|53||1995||"Thoda Thoda Pyar - 2"||Hindi||Hariharan|
|54||1995||"Tholi Tholi Bidiyala"||Indira||Telugu||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam|
|55||1995||"Yaaro Sunlo Zara"||Rangeela||Hindi||Udit Narayan|
|56||1995||"Kuluvalilae"||Muthu||Tamil||Udit Narayan, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Kalyani Menon|
|57||1995||"Kalagalile Prema"||Telugu||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Kalyani meno|
|58||1995||"Phoolwani Ne Loota Mujhko"||Hindi||Udit Narayan, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Kalyani Menon|
|59||1996||"Malargaley Malargaley"||Love Birds||Tamil||Hariharan|
|62||1997||"Ooh La La La (Maana Madurai)"||Minsara Kanavu||Tamil||Unni Menon, Srinivas|
|63||1997||"Ek Bhagiya Mein"||Sapnay||Hindi||Srinivas, Shankar Mahadevan|
|64||1997||"Machilipatnam"||Merupu Kalalu||Telugu||Srinivas, Unni Menon|
|65||1997||"Kasirepi"||50-50||Telugu||Deena Chandra Das|
|66||1997||"Ee Praayam Needhe Ra"||Telugu||Unnikrishnan|
|67||1997||"Sooriyanaai"||Ottam||Tamil||Deena Chandra Das|
|68||1997||"En Kadhal Neruppe"||Tamil||Unnikrishnan|
|70||1998||"Mere Yara Dildara"||Kabhi Na Kabhi||Hindi||S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, Hariharan|
|71||1998||"Tu Hi Tu"||Hindi||M. G. Sreekumar|
|72||1998||"Innalila Ledule"||Prematho||Telugu||M. G. Sreekumar|
|73||1999||"En Swasa Kaatre"||En Swasa Kaatre||Tamil||M. G. Sreekumar|
|76||1999||"Naa Prana Jyothi"||Premante Pranam Ista||Telugu||M. G. Sreekumar|
|79||1999||"Mel Nattu Isai"||Jodi||Tamil||-|
|82||1999||"Karisal Tharasil"||Taj Mahal||Tamil||M. G. Sreekumar|
|84||2000||"Kannamoochi (Solo)"||Kandukondain Kandukondain||Tamil||-|
|85||2000||"Kannamoochi (Duet)"||Tamil||K. J. Yesudas|
|86||2000||"Engae Enathu Kavithai"||Tamil||Srinivas|
|87||2000||"Dobuchulatelara (Duet)"||Priyuralu Pilichindi||Telugu||K. J. Yesudas|
|89||2000||"Yemaye Naa Kavitha"||Telugu||Srinivas|
|90||2000||"Injerungo Injerungo"||Thenali||Tamil||Kamal Haasan|
|93||2000||"Neethan En Desiya Geetham"||Parthale Paravasam||Tamil||P. Balaram|
|95||2001||"Shingu Lingu"||Alli Arjuna||Tamil||-|
|96||2004||"Mazhai Megha Vanna"||Desam||Tamil||Srinivas|
|98||2006||"Rang De Basanti"||Rang De Basanti||Hindi||Daler Mehndi|
|99||2007||"Jaage Hain "||Guru||Hindi||A. R. Rahman|
|100||2007||"Ek Lo Ek Muft"||Hindi||Bappi Lahari|
|102||2007||"Orey Kanaa"||Tamil||A. R. Rahman|
|104||2007||"Innalle"||Telugu||A. R. Rahman|
|105||2008||"Idhayam Idam Maariyathe"||Jodhaa Akbar||Tamil||Karthik|
|106||2010||"Tu Mera Hai"||Ada... A Way of Life||Hindi||Sukhwinder Singh, Naresh Iyer|
|107||2010||"Nammakam Eeyara Swami"||Puli||Telugu||Harini, Madhushree|
|108||2014||"Unborn Child"||Million Dollar Arm||English||Unnikrishnan|
|109||2014||"Sach Kahoon"||Raunaq||Hindi||A. R. Rahman|
|110||2014||"Naada Gaanangal"||Pradhi Nayagan||Malayalam||Haricharan|
|111||2015||"Malargal Kaettaen"||OK Kanmani||Tamil||A. R. Rahman|
|112||2015||"Manase Theeyaga"||OK Bangaram||Telugu||Dr. Narayan|
Chithra, along with a Kerala-based satellite channel, Asianet Cable Vision (ACV), jointly launched a fundraising organisation, Sneha Nandana, to raise funds for the welfare of retired musicians who have lost their careers due to changes in the music industry. She launched this organisation on the occasion of her completion of three decades in the music playback industry. She said that the fund would provide help to the musicians with financial impediments and those suffering from health problems. A cultural event called Chithra Pournami was held on 15 February 2011 at Thiruvananthapuram to celebrate the 30th year of her career and also to launch this organisation. Attendees included K. J. Yesudas, V. Dakshinamurthy, Sreekumaran Thampi, P. Susheela, Hariharan, P. Jayachandran, Usha Uthup, M.K. Arjunan, Johnson, Shyam, M. Jayachandran, M. G. Sreekumar, Sharath, Sujatha Mohan, Unni Menon, Srinivas, G. Venugopal, Minmini, and Priyadarshan.
Chithra is married to Vijayashankar, an engineer and businessman and settled in Chennai. They had a daughter Nandana,who was born with down syndrome. Her daughter died in a pool accident due to drowning in Dubai in 2011 when Chithra was about to perform at an A. R. Rahman's concert.
Chithra has performed in India, the Middle East, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom, France, United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Uganda, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.
|Awards and honours||Wins|
State Government Honours:
Life Time Achievement Award:
Nandi Awards (Andhra Pradesh State Film Awards):
Gulf Malayalam Music Awards (GMMA):
Gulf Andhra Music Awards (GAMA):
Mazhavil Mango Music Awards:
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