KS Chithra Awarded Padma Bhushan: Veteran singer-performer Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, popularly known as KS Chithra, has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award of India during the Republic Day celebrations.
With an outstanding career in music for over four decades, Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra has sung more than 25 thousand songs till date. She won six national awards and 35 State awards. Furthermore, she is the only singer to be honoured by the four southern states. She was also awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in India, in 2005.
She is one of the two women to be conferred the prestigious award. The second woman is Sumitra Mahajan, former Speaker of Lok Sabha.
Chithra is called the Nightingale of South India and many other vernacular titles all over South. She has recorded more than 200 Bollywood songs as well.
On winning the Padma Bhushan, the 57-year-old singer said, “It’s been a 42-year musical journey for me so far. At this juncture, I thank the Almighty and note the profound blessings of my parents and gurus. Today, I remember all producers, directors, music composers, lyricists and sound engineers who made this possible.”
Born Among Musicians
Born in a family of musicians in Trivandrum, Kerala in 1963, her father, Krishnan Nair, was her first music teacher. Her siblings KS Beena and K Mahesh are also playback singers. Chithra received her training in Carnatic music from Dr K Omanakutty, renowned teacher, academician and vocalist. She passed BA in music with first class and third rank from the University of Kerala, and went on to complete her masters. In fact, she was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 to 1984.
Making of the Melody Queen
Chithra started with the Malayalam industry first in 1979. She recorded her voice for the first time for the films Attahasam, Snehapoorvam Meera and Njan Ekananu. She then went on to perform live concerts with KJ Yesudas in India and abroad. Chithra is known as Nightingale of Kerala, i.e Vanambadi, and recorded many successful songs in Malayalam. As of 2017, she has won the Kerala State Awards for 16 times.
Entry in Hindi Music Industry
Chithra made her debut in Hindi film music in 1985. She recorded her first Hindi song composed by SP Venkitesh, which was not commercially released. For the 1991 movie Love, composers Anand-Milind, called her to sing duets song along with SP Balasubrahmanyam.
She won her fifth National Award in 1997 for the song Payalein Chun Mun in Virasat.
Furthermore, Chithra recorded for many private albums like Piya Basanti and Sunset Point, which became hugely popular and went on to win several awards including the MTV Music Video Awards. Chithra has a successful history of collaboration with AR Rahman, with whom she recorded 112 songs in many languages.
Numerous Awards and Honours
The legendary singer has won more than 220 awards and honours in her lifetime. Chithra has performed all around the world and been a part of various international projects as well. She is the first Indian woman who was honoured by the House of Commons in 1997. Furthermore, she is also the only singer from India who was honoured by the Government of China at Qinghai International Music and Water Festival in 2009.
Chithra was awarded the National Excellence Award 2001 by Limca Book of Records and the Rashtrapati Award in 2018, felicitated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
In a Friday Review interview, she spoke about how her father and husband, Vijayashankara, have contributed immensely to her successful career. “I needed to concentrate only on my singing; they have taken care of everything else. In fact, Vijayan even gave up his career for mine,” she added.
Feature Image Credits: MyindMedia