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Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra (born 27 July 1963), often credited as K. S. Chithra or simply Chithra, is an Indian playback singer from Kerala. Chithra also sings Indian classical, devotional, and popular music. She has lent her voice to Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Badaga, Sanskrit, Tulu, Urdu and Punjabi songs. She has recorded more than 30,000 songs for various films and albums. She is a recipient of six National Film Awards (the most by any female singer), 6 Filmfare Awards South and 31 different state film awards. She has won all the four south Indian state film awards.
Chithra is popularly and fondly referred to as Chinna Kuyil (English: Little Nightingale of South India) or Keralathinte Vanambadi (English: Nightingale of Kerala).Cite error: The named reference herself was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Nair, Sulekha (23 January 2001). "Nightingale of the south". Express India. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
Early life and family
Born on 27 July 1963, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, into a family of musicians, Chithra's talent was recognised 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 playback singer. Chithra received her extensive training in Carnatic music from Dr. K. Omanakutty, and Passed B.A. in music with first class and third rank from the University of Kerala and had completed Masters degree in Music. She was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 to 1984. She is married to Vijayashankar, an engineer and businessman and settled in Chennai. Their only daughter, Nandana, died aged eight, in a pool accident in April 2011 in Dubai.S.R. Ashok Kumar (21 July 2005). "One more feather in her cap". The Hindu. Cite error: The named reference night was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "KS Chithra's daughter reportedly drowned and died in Emirates Hills pool". Emirates247.com. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011. "Singer Chithra's daughter drowns in dubai". Khaleej Times. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
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, Kannur 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 1985 directed by himself.
By the mid-eighties, she became the most sought after female singer in South India. She recorded many hit songs for the most famous composers in Malayalam and numerous songs for Ilayaraja and others in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. She has been accredited 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, V. Dakshinamoorthy, M. B. Sreenivasan, M. S. Viswanathan, Ravi (music director), M. G. Radhakrishnan, Johnson, Raveendran, Shyam, Rajan-Nagendra, K. V. Mahadevan, M. M. Keeravani, S. P. Venkatesh, Ouseppachan, Hamsalekha, Deva, Mohan Sithara, Vidyasagar, Bharadhwaj, Chakravarthy, M. Jayachandran, M. G. Sreekumar, Berny-Ignatius, Sharreth, Ramesh Narayan, Deepak Dev, Raj-Koti, S. A. Rajkumar, Mani Sharma, Harris Jayaraj, Devisri Prasad, Yuvan Shankar Raja, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Bijibal, Mejo Joseph, Sejo John, Shahabaz Aman, Alphons Joseph, S. Thaman, Ratheesh Vegha, Achu Rajamani, Mickey J Meyer, M. Ghibran 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, R D Burman, Naushad Ali, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Jatin-Lalit, Sandeep Chowta, Vishal, Sandesh and many others. She also recorded the Hindi versions of her own Tamil songs sung for A. R. Rahman.
She recorded maximum number of duet songs with K. J. Yesudas, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Mano (singer). She has sung maximum number of songs to Ilaiyaraaja, A. R. Rahman, Ravi (music director), M. M. Keeravani, Hamsalekha, Johnson, Raveendran, Raj-Koti and M. Jayachandran.
Apart from playback singing, she also appeared among the panel of judges in the singing reality Television shows at Kerala (Idea Star Singer, Josco Indian Voice) at Tamil Nadu (Airtel Super Singer Junior) and Telugu (MAA TV Super Singer)
K.S. Chithra is popularly and fondly referred to as Chinna Kuyil (English: Little Nightingale of South India) or Keralathinte Vanambadi (English: Nightingale of Kerala).
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 (2000) and Sunset Point. She associated with Ustad Sultan Khan for Piya Basanti which was certified Gold, a rare feat for Indian music albums. Sunset Point had eight songs conceived, 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. 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. She also planned a ghazal album with Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhosle.
In 2014, Chithra recorded a song at a Singapore studio for A. R. Rahman's private album Raunaq written by Kapil Sibal.
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.Cite error: The named reference herself was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Tamil singers". Kollywood Singers. Retrieved 2011-12-22.  http://www.josco-indianvoice.com Airtel Super Singer Junior 2 Cite error: The named reference Musically_Yours was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Gulzar's Sunset Point". Gulzaronline.com. Retrieved 28 June 2013. K. Jeshi (8 December 2006). "Song all the way". The Hindu. "CHORDS AND NOTES". The Hindu. 2 July 2009. "Recording a song with K S Chithra in Singapore for Raunaq". Twitter page. 2014.
Chithra, along with a Kerala-based satellite channel, Asianet Cable Vision (ACV), has jointly launched a fundraising organisation, 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 organisation 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 launch this organisation. The who's who of South Indian music industry attended the event and felicitated Chithra with a Tamburu instrument. The prominent personalities being 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 felicitated Chithra and praised her noble cause and intentions to help for the ailing musicians."Chitra launches fund for unemployed musicians". 24dunia.com. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
Chithra has performed all over India, The entire Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, France, US, Canada, Australia,South Africa,Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Uganda, Western European Countries like Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.
World Stages (outside India)Royal Albert Hall London – First Indian female singer after Lata Mangeshkar to perform at Royal Albert Hall London.House of Commons London – First Indian singer to perform at the British ParliamentKennedy Center Honors – Washington. (United States)Rogers Centre – Toronto (Canada)Esplanade, SingaporeAlexandra Palace – LondonTrump Taj Mahal – Atlantic City (United States)Sydney Super Dome – Sydney (Australia)Rod Laver Arena – Melbourne (Australia)Sydney Opera House - Sydney (Australia) http://www.kschitra.info/?page_id=164
International projectsRecorded with Jawad Ali one of the most famous Arab singer for his new Album “AMAR UL HOB”Recorded a song for Herbie Hancock legendary Jazz Pianist and the mentor of Michael JacksonInvited by the Government of China to perform in the famous Quinghai international water and music festival in Quing Hai, China. Cite error: The named reference kschitra.info was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
Awards, honours 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 is the only person to win Kerala State Film Awards most number of times in a row (11 times). She has won the following awards:
Civilian Awards:2005 – Padma Shri – India's fourth highest civilian honour
Special Honour:1997 – Kalaimamani Award – Tamil Nadu Government2001 – National Excellence Award 2001 by Limca Book of Records2011 – Honorary Doctorate – Sathyabama University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu2011 – Bharath Ratna Lata Mangeshkar Award – Government of Andhra Pradesh for Cultural Council2014 – Kerala Samsthana Vanitha Rathnam (Kamala Surayya Award) by Government of Kerala for Social Welfare Department
National Film Awards:1986 – Best Female Playback Singer – Song: "Padariyen Padippariyen, Naan Oru Sindhu" (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)
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)2009: Best Female Playback Singer – Malayalam – "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)2013: Best Female Playback Singer – Telugu – "Seethammavaakitlo" (Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu)
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)
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 – "Mataivvamma" (Maavichiguru)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)
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards:1988 – Best Female Playback Singer – multiple films1990 – Best Female Playback Singer – "Chinna Ponnu Dhaan" (Vaigaasi Porandhaachu)1995 – Best Female Playback Singer – "Kannalane" (Bombay)2004 – Best Female Playback Singer – "Ovvoru Pookalume" (Autograph)
Karnataka State Film Awards:1997 – Best Female Playback Singer – "Hele Kogile Impagalaa" (Nammoora Mandara Hoove)2001 – Best Female Playback Singer – "Navileno Kunibeku" (Gattimela)2005 – Best Female Playback Singer – "Kandamma Kandamma" (Maharaja)
Orissa State Film Awards:1993 - Best Female Playback Singer - (Mo Kanhu Re)
Global Indian Music Awards(GIMA):2013 – Best Carnatic Classical Album - Vocal - Album "Vande Vasudevam" an album based on Annamacharya Krithis.
MTV Video Music Award:2001 – International Viewer's Choice Awards MTV India (Hindi pop category) Album Piya Basanti.(The first singer from South India to get the prestigious MTV Award).
Bollywood Movie Awards:2004 – Best Playback Singer Female – "Koi Mil Gaya" (Koi Mil Gaya)
Star Screen Awards:1998 – Best Female Playback – "Payale Chummun" (Virasat)
MTV Immies Awards:2003 - Best Play Back Singer - "Koi Mil Gaya" (Koi... Mil Gaya)
Mirchi Music Awards South:2009 – Radio Mirchi Listeners Choice Award – "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)2010 – Best Female Playback (Malayalam)- "Chithra Shalabhame" (Karayilekku Oru Kadal Dooram)2012 – Best Female Playback (Telugu) - "Paluku thelpu" (Devasthanam)2012 – Best Female Playback (Malayalam)- "Vishukili" (Ivan Megharoopan)2013 – Best Female Playback (Telugu) - "seethamma vakitlo sirimalle chettu" (Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu)2013 – Best Female Playback (Malayalam) – "Ilaveyil Viralukalaayi" (Artist (film))2013 – Song of the Year (Malayalam) – "Ilaveyil Viralukalaayi" (Artist (film))
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)2012 – Best Female Playback – "Ponnodu Poovayi"(Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty)
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 Idam Kannin" (Mizhi Randilum)2008 – Best Female Playback – "Enguninnuvanna " (Calcutta News)2011 – Best Female Playback – "Chengathir Kaiyum" (Snehaveedu)
Gulf Malayalam Music Awards(GMMA):2005 - Best Female Playback Singer2006 - Best Female Playback Singer2008 - Best Female Playback Singer
Other honours:1994 – Ugadi Purashkar by Madras Telugu Academy, Chennai2002 – Title of “KALAISELVAM” From South Indian Film Artistes' Association or South Indian Nadigar Sangam2003 – Lifetime Achievement Award from Global Malayali council London2003 – Swaralaya Yesudas Award Lifetime Achievement Award2005 – SIKHARAM – 15 lifetime achievement award 2005 from India Today2005 – Jeevan TV – P. Jayachandran Lifetime Achievement Award 20052007 – Aginhotri lifetime achievement award 2007 from SAMORIN OF CALICUT2008 – JANMASHTAMI lifetime achievement award 20082012 – "People of the Year" Honoured by Limca Book of Records2013 – Special Honour for contribution to Malayalam Film Industry 100 years Indian Cinema Celebration at Chennai.2014 – Lifetime Achievement Award from Raindropss a youth-based social organization on the occasion of Women's Day2014 – Felicitated by Limca Book of Records for "Empowering Women - Women Achievers of Kerala"2014 – Vayalar Award by Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Foundation for contibution of Malayalam Music Industry
Other awards:Cinema Express Awards for 1986, 1987, 1988,1990,1991,1993,1994,1995,1998Film Fans Association Chennai Award – 20 times (This is the oldest film award in South India)Gamma Indian Music Award, Malaysia for 1988,1989,1990,19962001 – “For the sake of honour” award from Rotary International2001 – Lux – Asianet Award for the best playback singer Kannada2004 – “Vocational excellence” award from Rotary International2005 – VIRTUSO Music Awards 20052006 – Lux – Asianet Award for the best playback singer Kannada2007 – "Sathyan National Film Award-2007" By Sathyan Foundaion, Thiruvananthapuram.2007 – Sunfeast Tamil Music Awards for Best Female Playback Singer Award – "Yaaro Yarukkul" (Chennai 600028)2008 – Devasthanam Award for GANAPRIYA Puraskaram by Peringottukara Devasthanam Temple Trust2010 – Jai Hind Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer Award – "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)2010 – Swaralaya – Eenam Award for Decade's Best Talent in Malayalam Music2010 – South Scope Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer Award – "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassi Raja)2011 – Lata Mangeshkar Award (2011)2012 – Thikkurissy Award for Best Female Playback Singer – "Naattuvazhiyorathe" (Khaddama)2013 – Maa Music Award for Best Duet Song – "Nee Choopule" with Haricharan (Endukante... Premanta!, Telugu Film )2013 – K P Brhamanandan Memorial Awards for Best Female Singer (2013)2013 – ETV Kannada Sangeet Samman (P. B. Sreenivas) Award2013 – Asiavision Movie Awards-2013 for Best Female Playback - "Ilaveyil Viralukalayi" (Artist)2013 – CERA BIG Malayalam Music Awards for Best Female Playback - "Ilaveyil Viralukalayi" (Artist) and "Ponnodu Poovay" (Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty)2013 – CERA Big Malayalam Music Awards for Face of the Award - Honoured for completing three decades in in the industry2014 – Minimol Memorial Charitable Trust - Sathkeerthi Puraskaram2014 – Mappila Kala Academy in memory of K Raghavan Master - Sangeetha Ratnam Puraskaram for her contribution to film industry2014 – K.P. Radhakrishna Menon memorial Kala Ratna Award for her outstanding contributions to music.2014 – STAR Vijay Vijay Television Awards 2014 Favourite Judge Female for Airtel Super Singer