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Malayalam Movies and Songs

KS Chithra

Born27th July, 1963
CareerSinging (2331 songs from 1300 Movies), Cast (1)
First MovieKummaatti (1979)

Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, popularly known as K. S. Chithra or simply Chithra, is an Indian playback singer. Popularly and fondly referred to as Chinna Kuyil (English: Little Nightingale) of South India, Chithra sings Indian classical, devotional, and popular music. She has lent her voice to Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Badaga and Punjabi films. She is a recipient of six National Film Awards (the most by any female singer), five Filmfare Awards South and more than thirty different state film awards. She is the only singer to have won all the four South Indian state awards till date.

Early life and family

Born on July 27, 1963, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, into a family of musicians, Chithra’s talent was recognized and nurtured from an early age by her father, the late Krishnan Nair. He was also her first guru (teacher). Her elder sister K. S. Beena is also a singer who has performed in many films as a playback singer.

Chithra received her extensive training in Carnatic music from Dr. K. Omanakutty, and got a Master Degree in Music from the University of Kerala. She was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978–1984.

She is married to Vijayashankar, an engineer and businessman and settled in Chennai. Their only daughter Nandana died aged 8, in a pool accident in April 2011 at Dubai.


Playback singing

Chithra was introduced to Malayalam playback by M. G. Radhakrishnan in 1979 and went on to become a regular singer for many Malayalam musicians, including Raveendran. Attahasam, Snehapurvam Meera and Njaan Ekananu were the first few films in which she recorded her songs. She also performed live concerts with K. J. Yesudas in India and abroad and that was a turning point in her career. Veteran music directors such as Raveendran, Shyam, Jerry Amaldev, Mohan Sithara, Kannoor Rajan and Johnson also helped her move up in her career ladder. She made her debut in the Tamil film industry through the song "Poojaikketha Poovithu" from the film Neethana Antha Kuyil, 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 1984 directed by himself.

By the mid-eighties, she became the most sought after female singer in Malayalam and Tamil. She recorded many hit songs for the most famous composers in Malayalam and numerous songs for Ilaiyaraaja in Tamil. She has been acredited as the only female singer to have sung the maximum number of songs for the Academy Award winning composer A. R. Rahman for his Tamil film songs. She also sang for veteran composers such as G. Devarajan, M. S. Viswanathan, K. V. Mahadevan, Ouseppachan, Deva, Vidyasagar, Bharadhwaj, Chakravarthy, M. Jayachandran, M.G.Sreekumar, M. M. Keeravani, Hamsalekha, Sharreth, Raj-Koti, Rajan-Nagendra, S. A. Rajkumar, Mani Sharma, Harris Jayaraj, Devisri Prasad and many other south Indian music directors.

She has recorded many memorable Hindi songs for various music directors in Bollywood, namely A. R. Rahman, Anand-Milind, Anu Malik, Rajesh Roshan, Viju Shah, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Naushad, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Jatin-Lalit and many others. She also recorded the Hindi versions of her own Tamil songs sung for A. R. Rahman.

Apart from playback singing, she also appeared among the panel of judges in the singing reality Television shows at Kerala (Idea Star Singer) and Tamil Nadu (Airtel Super Singer Junior).

Studio Albums

Chithra recorded her first studio album with Voodoo Rapper for the album called Ragga Raaga in 1993. She has in her credit, private albums in Hindi, namely Piya Basanti and Sunset Point. The former was penned by Ustad Sultan Khan and was certified Gold while the latter was penned by Gulzar. Her first ghazal album with Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhosle is ready for release. In 2006, she released an album in dedication to Smt.M.S.Subbulakshmi named My Tribute. It is a collection of krithis and bhajans dedicated to Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi. Sony Music is planning to release a solo album soon owing to success of Piya Basanti. She also recorded many Malayalam albums for K. J. Yesudas, M. Jayachandran and Sharreth compositions.

Chithra, who is a Grade A artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan, has established her own recording label, Audiotracs, to promote new talents in the music world by giving them opportunities to collaborate with her as singers, lyricists and music directors.


Chithra, along with a Kerala based satellite channel, Asianet Cable Vision (ACV), has jointly launched a fund raising organization Sneha Nandana to raise funds for the betterment and welfare of long forgotten and aged musicians who have lost their careers to the emerging technological elements in the music industry. She has launched this organization on the occasion of her completion of three decades in the music playback industry. Chithra has remarked that the fund would provide help to the musicians with financial impediments and those suffering from health problems.

A cultural event named Chitra Pournami was held on 15 February 2011 at Thiruvananthapuram to celebrate the 30 glorious career years of Chithra and also to officially launch this organization. The who's who of South Indian music industry attended the event and felicitated Chithra with a Tamboora instrument. The prominent personalities being K. J. Yesudas, V. Dakshinamurthy, Sreekumaran Thampi, P. Susheela, Hariharan, P. Jayachandran, M. Jayachandran, M. G. Sreekumar, Sharath, Sujatha Mohan, Unni Menon, G. Venugopal, Minmini among others felicitated Chithra and praised her noble cause and intentions to help for the ailing musicians.

Stage performances

Chithra has performed all over India, Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, France, US, Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.

Awards and recognition

Chithra has won six National Awards for best female playback singer. This is the highest number of national awards awarded to any female playback singer. She has won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Singer 15 times. She has won the following awards:

Civilian Awards:

2005 - Padma Shri - India's fourth highest civilian honour

National Film Awards:

1986 - Best Female Playback Singer - Song: "Padariyen Padippariyen" (Sindhu Bhairavi, Tamil)
1987 - Best Female Playback Singer - Song: "Manjal Prasadavum" (Nakhakshathangal, Malayalam)
1989 - Best Female Playback Singer - Song: "Indupushpam Choodi Nilkum Raathri" (Vaishali, Malayalam)
1996 - Best Female Playback Singer - Song: "Maana Madurai" (Minsaara Kanavu, Tamil)
1997 - Best Female Playback Singer - Song: "Payalein Chun Mun" (Virasat, Hindi)
2004 - Best Female Playback Singer - Song: "Ovvoru Pookalume" (Autograph, Tamil)[14]

Filmfare Awards

1996: Nominated, Best Female Playback - "Payale Chunmun" (Virasat)
2004: Nominated, Best Female Playback - "Koi Mil Gaya" (Koi Mil Gaya)

Filmfare Awards South:

2004: Best Female Playback Singer – Telugu - "Nuvvostanante" (Varsham)
2006: Best Female Playback Singer – Malayalam - "Kalabham Tharam" (Vadakkumnathan)
2006: Best Female Playback Singer – Kannada - "Araluva Hoovugale" (Autograph)
2008: Best Female Playback Singer – Malayalam - "Oduvil Oru" (Thirakkatha)
2008: Nominated, Best Female Playback Singer – Kannada - "Nadheem Dheem Tana" (Gaalipata)
2009: Best Female Playback Singer – Malayalam - "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)
2010: Nominated, Best Female Playback Singer – Malayalam - "Malakha Pole" (Mummy & Me)

Kerala State Film Awards:

2005 - Best Play Back Singer - "Mayangipoyi" (Nottam)
2002 - Best Play Back Singer - "Karmukil Varnante" (Nandanam)
2001 - Best Play Back Singer - "Mooli Mooli" (Theerthadanam)
1999 - Best Play Back Singer - "Pular Veyilum" (Angane Oru Avadhikkalathu)
1995 - Best Play Back Singer - "Sasikala Charthiya" (Devaraagam)
1994 - Best Play Back Singer - "Parvanenthu" (Parinayam)
1993 - Best Play Back Singer - "Ponmeghame" (Sopanam), "Rajahamsame" (Chamayam), "Sangeethame" (Gazal)
1992 - Best Play Back Singer - "Mounasarovaram" (Savidham)
1991 - Best Play Back Singer - "Thaaram" (Keli), "Swarakanyakamar" (Santhwanam)
1990 - Best Play Back Singer - "Kannil Nin Meyyil" (Innale), "Palappoove" (Njan Gandharvan)
1989 - Best Play Back Singer - "Kalarivilakku" (Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha), "Thankathoni" (Mazhavilkavadi)
1988 - Best Play Back Singer - "Indupushpam" (Vaishali)
1987 - Best Play Back Singer - "Eenam marannakatte" (Eenam Maranna Kattu), "Thalolam Paithal" (Ezhuthappurangal)
1986 - Best Play Back Singer - "Manjalprasadavum" (Nakhakshathangal)
1985 - Best Play Back Singer - "Oreswaram Ore Niram" (Ente Kaanakuyil), "Poomaname" (Nirakkootu), "Aayiram Kannumai" (Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu)

Tamil Nadu State Film Awards:

1988 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Ninnukkori Varanam" (Agni Natchathiram)
1990 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Vanthathey Kungumam" (Kizhakku Vasal)
1995 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Kannalane" (Bombay)
2004 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Ovvoru Pookalume" (Autograph)

Nandi Awards (Andhra Pradesh State Film Awards):

1990 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Kaliki Chilaka" (Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu)
1991 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Endharo"(Rajeswari Kalyanam)
1992 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Akasana" (Sundarakanda)
1993 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Venuvai Vachhanu" (Matrudevobhava)
1996 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Priya" (Srikrishnarjuna Vijayam)
1998 - Best Female Playback Singer (Television) - "Anweshitha" (Anweshita Etv Serial)
1999 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Marala Telupuna" (Swayamvaram)
2004 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Nuvvostanante Neddontana" (Varsham)
2009 - Best Female Playback Singer- "Pallavinchanee" (Kalavaramaye Madilo)

Karnataka State Film Awards:

1997 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Hele Kogile Impagalaa" (Nammoora Mandara Hoove)
2001 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Busu Busu Nagappa" (Arunodaya)
2005 - Best Female Playback Singer - "Kandamma Kandamma" (Maharaja)

Asianet Film Awards:

1999 - Best Female Playback - "Thumbayum Thulasiyum" (Megham)
2000 - Best Female Playback - "Varmukile" (Mazha)
2003 - Best Female Playback - "Enthinai Nin Idam Kannin" (Mizhi Randilum)
2005 - Best Female Playback - "Enthu Paranjalum" (Achuvinte Amma)
2007 - Best Female Playback - "Chellathamare" (Hallo)
2009 - Best Female Playback - "Kunnathe Konnakkyum" (Pazhassiraja)

Mathrubhumi Film Awards:

1999 - Best Female Playback - "Thumbayum Thulasiyum" (Megham)
2000 - Best Female Playback - "Varmukile" (Mazha)
2001 - Best Female Playback - "Katte Nee Veesharuthippol" (Kattu Vannu Vilichappol)
2002 - Best Female Playback - "Kaarmukil Varnante" (Nandanam)
2003 - Best Female Playback - "Enthinai Nin Iadam Kannin" (Mizhi Randilum)
2008 - Best Female Playback - "Enguninnuvanna " (Calcutta News)
2011 - Best Female Playback - "Chengathir Kaiyum" (Snehaveedu)

Bollywood Movie Awards:

2004 - Best Playback Singer Female - "Koi Mil Gaya" (Koi Mil Gaya)

Star Screen Awards:

1998 - Best Female Playback - "Payale Chummun" (Virasat)
2004 - Best Female Playback - "Koi Mil Gaya" (Koi Mil Gaya)

Other awards:

2010 - Jai Hind Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer Award - "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)
2010 - Radio Mirchi Listeners Choice Award - "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)
2010 - Swaralaya - Eenam Award for Decade's Best Talent in Malayalam Music
2010 - South Scope Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer Award - "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)
2011 - Radio Mirchi Best Female Singer Award - "Chithra Shalabhame" (Karayilekku Oru Kadal Dooram)
2011 - Lata Mangeshkar Award (2011)
2012 - Thikkurissy Award for Best Female Playback Singer - "Naattuvazhiyorathe" (Khaddama)

Major Achievements

Chithra is presently awarded with an honorary Doctorate by the Chennai based Sathyabama University for her tremendous achievement in the field of cinema music.
Andhra Pradesh Government for Cultural Council has conferred the "Bharath Ratna Lata Mangeshkar Award" on Chithra for her contribution towards Indian film music.
She has also been honoured with the Kalaimamani title from Tamil Nadu Government in 1997, the Swaralaya Yesudas Award in 2004, Kalaiselvam title from the South Indian Nadigar Sangam in 2002, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Global Malayalee Council in London in 2003.
She has also received numerous mainstream awards like MTV Immies, Screen – Videocon Award, Film Fans Association Awards, and Cinema Express Awards. Chithra was also awarded the 'Vocational Excellence' Award by the Rotary Club of Coimbatore.
In 2010, she bagged C. Cheriyan Memorial Award by Cochin Fine Arts Society, Swaralaya - Eenam Award for Best Female Singer and Chakkulathamma Swaravarsha Award.
Her song "Kehna Hi Kya (Kannalane)" from the film Bombay (1995) was included in The Guardian's "1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear" list.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Prepared by: Winston Morris


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