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Malayalam Movies and Songs

Latha Raju

CareerSinging (84 songs from 67 Movies), Cast (5)
First MovieKannum Karalum (1962)
MotherSantha P Nair
HusbandJM Raju
ChildrenAalaap Raju

Dubbing - 15 Characters

Latha Raju has dubbed for various actors and acted in a few Malayalam films but it is the melodies she crooned that has helped this veteran playback singer, celebrating her golden jubilee in cinema, carve her own niche in the hearts and souls of music-loving Malayalis.

Latha Raju's first song was in the 1962 Malayalam film 'Snehadeepam'. She used to go with her mother Shanta P Nair (popular singer in the 1950s and 60s) for rehearsals. Those days recordings were done after rehearsals. Music director M B Sreenivasan heard her rendering of a popular Mukesh song. He then suggested to the movie producer that it could be better that a child sing for a child. The song,'Onnaam tharam baloon tharaam, oru nalla peeppi tharaam', picturised on Baby Vinodhini,was okayed in the first take itself. She got a remuneration of Rs 101 for the effort. The song is popular even now.

The same year she sang 'Thaatheyyam kaattilu thakkaalikkaattilu', picturised on Kamal Haasan as a child actor in his first Malayalam movie 'Kannum Karalum'.

Hers was a arts-cum-music inclined family. Her mother, a popular singer, Shantha P Nair, had rendered the evergreen 'Thumbi thumbi vaa vaa', the first song penned by famous poet-lyricist Vayalar Ramavarma in the 1956 movie 'Koodappirappu'.

Her father Padmanabhan Nair was a radio dramatist. He was the first Malayalam newsreader for Akashvani in the 1940s. He was conferred the state Sangeetha Nataka Akademi award for his contributions to broadcasting.

She has crossed the milestone of 50 years in the industry. After her two songs became hits, there was no looking back. Whenever there was a song to be picturised on a child, producers and directors would flock to her house. Some of her popular Malayalam numbers include 'Pinchu hridayam devalayam', 'Manjakkilee swarnakkilee mayilppeelikkaattile varnakkilee' (film Sethubandhanam) 'Ividuthe chechikkinnale' (Azhakulla Saleena),'Chippee Chippee
muthuchippee' (with CO Anto in Aranaazhikaneram), and 'Aaluvaappuzhakkakkareyoru ponnambalam' ('Aadyathe Kadha').

Besides Malayalam, she has rendered songs in Tamil, Kannada and Tulu. She has also dubbed for actressess like Suhasini, Shobhana and the late Shobha.

Her dubbing for Sumithra in the 1973 film Nirmalyam directed by novelist and Padma Bhushan awardee M T Vasudevan Nair was praised by P J Antony, who won the national award for the best actor for his performance in the movie, and the director himself.

Since the mid-nineties, Latha Raju has been involved in home productions. Her husband, J M Raju, himself a playback singer,produces music albums and family members--her son Aalaap Raju, who won the Filmfare Award in 2011 for the best male playback singer for his rendition of 'Enamo Aedho' in Tamil movie 'KO' and daughter Anupama, an MPhil in English Literature and corporate trainer besides herself render the songs.

Both Raju and Latha were and are still fans of music composer Salil Chowdhury and director Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

Her children were both named after movies directed by Hrishkesh Mukherjee.

She still has her hands full, singing devotional songs, besides conducting stage performances.

Latha and her husband Raju have done 1000 stage performances in various parts of the world, including South Africa and the Gulf, probably the first such couple. An album of Christian devotional songs was recently released.

She had retired as director (marketing) Akashvani-Doordarshan, Chennai in 2011 and is continuing in the same post as consultant at present.

Prepared by: Dr. Susie Pazhavarical


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