K. S. Chithra
K. S. Chithra

K. S. Chithra

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Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra (born 27 July 1963) is an Indian playback singer and Carnatic musician. In a career spanning over four decades, she has recorded over 25,000 songs in various Indian languages, as well as foreign languages such as Malay, Latin, Arabic, Sinhalese, English and French. She is also known for her extensive history of collaboration with music composers like A. R. Rahman, Ilaiyaraja, Hamsalekha, M. M. Keeravani and with the playback singers K. J. Yesudas and S. P. Balasubrahmanyam over the years. She is regarded as a cultural icon of South Indian states. She is cited as the Golden Voice of India by world’s Prestigious Royal Albert Hall, London in 2001 and Melody Queen of Indian Cinema by Radio Mirchi, The Times Group in 2016. She is honoured with the title First Ladies by the President of India in 2018 for being the first Indian woman to be honoured by British Parliament at House of Commons, United Kingdom in 2003. People of India fondly called her as Little Nightingale of Indian Cinema.Chithra is a recipient of six National Film Awards, nine Filmfare Awards South and 36 different state film awards from six states of India such as 16 Kerala State Film Awards, 11 Andhra Pradesh State Film Awards, 4 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, 3 Karnataka State Film Awards, 1 Orissa State Film Awards, 1 West Bengal State Film Awards. She was awarded India's third-highest civilian honours Padma Bhushan in 2021 and Padma Shri in 2005 for her valuable contributions towards the Indian musical fraternity. Her performance at the Qinghai international water and music festival in Qinghai, China, in 2009 changed this national talent into a global musical genius. Her Performance in the Royal Albert Hall, London was applauded with much appreciation by a roomful of an international audience. Her song "Kannalane/Kehna Hi Kya" from the film Bombay (1995) was included in United Kingdom The Guardian's "1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear Before You Die" list.

Early life

Chithra was born 27 July 1963 in the city of Trivandrum (now Thiruvananthapuram) of the Kerala state. Her father, Krishnan Nair was a school teacher and a music enthusiast who taught basics of music to all his three children. He passed away after a long battle with cancer on 18 July 1986. Her mother Shanthakumari was also a music teacher. She has an elder sister, K. S. Beena who is a former singer and younger brother K. S. Mahesh who is a musician. Chithra completed her schooling at the Cotton Hill Government Girls High School in Thiruvananthapuram. She acknowledges that it was the teachers of the school who spotted her talent in music. Chithra received her training in Carnatic music from K. Omanakutty for seven years. She graduated in B.A. in music with first class and third rank from the University of Kerala. Chithra received her training in Carnatic music from K. Omanakutty for seven years. She graduated in B.A. in music with first class and third rank from the University of Kerala. She was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Government of India during the period 1978 - 1984.

Work and association with music directors

Chithra has sung over 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, Mickey J Meyer in Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. She has worked with Laxmikant–Pyarelal, Anu Malik, Anand–Milind, Rajesh Roshan, Jatin-Lalit, Pritam, Sandesh Shandilya, Nadeem-Shravan, Nikhil-Vinay, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen, Anand Raaj Anand, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Shantanu Moitra and A. R. Rehman in Hindi.
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 to 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, kavita Krishnamurthy, Anuradha Paudwal, Alisha Chinai, Harini, Chinmayi, 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 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.

Personal life

Chithra is married to Vijayashankar, an engineer and businessman. They had a daughter Nandana, who was born with Down's syndrome. Her daughter drowned in a pool in Dubai in 2011 when Chithra was about to perform at an A. R. Rahman concert.
Source: Wikipedia

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