K. S. Chithra

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K. S. Chithra
Background information
Native name കെ.എസ്. ചിത്ര
Birth name Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra
Born (1963-07-27) 27 July 1963 (age 50)
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Genres Playback singing, Carnatic music
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1979–present
Labels Audiotracs
Website http://www.kschithra.com/

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 is a recipient of six National Film Awards (the most by any female singer), five Filmfare Awards South and 31 different state film awards. She has won all the four south Indian state film awards.[1]

Chithra is popularly and fondly referred to as Chinna Kuyil (English: Little Nightingale of South India) or Keralathinte Vanambadi (English: Nightingale of Kerala).[2]

Early life and family[edit]

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 got a Masters degree in Music from the University of Kerala.[1] She was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 to 1984.[2] 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.[3][4]


Playback singing[edit]

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.[1] Attahasam, Snehapurvam Meera and Njaan Ekananu were the first few films in which she recorded her songs.[1] She also performed live concerts with K. J. Yesudas in India and abroad and that was a turning point in her career.[1] Veteran music directors such as Raveendran, Shyam, Jerry Amaldev, Mohan Sithara, Kannur Rajan and Johnson also helped her move up in her career ladder.[1] 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.[1][5] 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, M. G. Radhakrishnan, Johnson, Raveendran, Shyam, Rajan-Nagendra, K. V. Mahadevan, S. P. Venkatesh, Ouseppachan, Hamsalekha, Deva, Mohan Sithara, Vidyasagar, Bharadhwaj, Chakravarthy, M. Jayachandran, M. G. Sreekumar, M. M. Keeravani, Sharreth, Deepak Dev, Raj-Koti, S. A. Rajkumar, Mani Sharma, Harris Jayaraj, Devisri Prasad, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Bijibal, Mejo Joseph, Sejo John and many other south Indian music directors.[6]

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 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, Josco Indian Voice[7]) and Tamil Nadu (Airtel Super Singer Junior).[8]

Studio albums[edit]

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.[9] Sunset Point had eight songs conceived, written and narrated by Gulzar and sung by Chithra and Bhupinder.[10] 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.[11] In 2009 she released Nightingale: A Salute to Lataji, a musical tribute to Lata Mangeshkar on her 80th birthday.[12] 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.[11]

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 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 officially 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, Priyadarshan among others felicitated Chithra and praised her noble cause and intentions to help for the ailing musicians.[13]

Stage performances[edit]

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

Awards, honours and recognition[edit]

Awards Wins
National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
Andhra Pradesh State Film Awards
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards
Karnataka State Film Awards
Orissa State Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South
Asianet Film Awards
Mathrubhumi Film Awards
Mirchi Music Awards South
Bollywood Movie Awards
Star Screen Awards

Chithra has won six National Awards for best female playback singer.[14][15] 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.[15] 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:

Special Honour:

National Film Awards:[15]

Filmfare Awards South:

  • 2009: Best Female Playback Singer – Malayalam – "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)

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 – multiple films
  • 1990 – Best Female Playback Singer – "Chinna Ponnu Dhaan" (Vaigaasi Porandhaachu)
  • 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:

Orissa State Film Awards:

  • 1993 - Best Female Playback Singer - (Mo Kanhu Re)

Asianet Film Awards:

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)

Mirchi Music Awards South:

  • 2009 – Radio Mirchi Listeners Choice Award – "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)
  • 2010 - Best Female Playback (Malayalam)- "Chithra Shalabhame" (Karayilekku Oru Kadal Dooram)
  • 2010 – Radio Mirchi Listeners Choice Award – "Kunnathe Konnakyum" (Pazhassiraja)
  • 2012 - Best Female Playback (Malayalam)- "Vishukili" (Ivan Megharoopan)
  • 2012 - Best Female Playback (Telugu) - "Paluku thelpu" (Devasthanam)

Bollywood Movie Awards:

Star Screen Awards:

Other awards:

  • 2007 - "Sathyan National Film Award-2007" By Sathyan Foundaion, Thiruvananthapuram.
  • 2007 – Sunfeast Tamil Music Awards for Best Female Playback Singer Award – "Yaaro Yarukkul" (Chennai 600028)
  • 2010 – Jai Hind Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer 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" (Pazhassi Raja)
  • 2011 – Lata Mangeshkar Award (2011)
  • 2012 – Thikkurissy Award for Best Female Playback Singer – "Naattuvazhiyorathe" (Khaddama)[20]
  • 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) Award
  • 2013 - 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) [21]
  • 2013 - CERA Big Malayalam Music Awards for Face of the Award - Honoured for completing three decades in in the industry [21]
  • 2014-Global Indian Music Awards(GIMA): Best Carnatic Album for Vande Vasudevam an album based on Annamacharya Krithis.
  • 2014 - Minimol Memorial Charitable Trust - "Sathkeerthi Puraskaram"[22]
  • 2014 - Mappila Kala Academy in memory of K Raghavan Master - "Sangeetha Ratnam Puraskaram" for her contribution to film industry[23]

Other achievements[edit]

  • She has also been honoured with 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.[9]
  • 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 "Kannalane (Kehna Hi Kya)" from the film Bombay (1995) was included in The Guardian's "1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear" list.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g S.R. Ashok Kumar (21 July 2005). "One more feather in her cap". The Hindu. 
  2. ^ a b Nair, Sulekha (23 January 2001). "Nightingale of the south". Express India. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "KS Chithra's daughter reportedly drowned and died in Emirates Hills pool". Emirates247.com. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Singer Chithra's daughter drowns in dubai". Khaleej Times. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Tamil singers". Kollywood Singers. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ http://www.josco-indianvoice.com
  8. ^ Airtel Super Singer Junior 2
  9. ^ a b Subha J Rao (28 October 2004). "Musically yours". The Hindu. 
  10. ^ "Gulzar's Sunset Point". Gulzaronline.com. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b K. Jeshi (8 December 2006). "Song all the way". The Hindu. 
  12. ^ "CHORDS AND NOTES". The Hindu. 2 July 2009. 
  13. ^ "Chitra launches fund for unemployed musicians". 24dunia.com. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  14. ^ "Padma Shri K. S. Chitra". Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c "Audience determines today's music, says K S Chitra". The Hindu. 29 April 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  16. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)". Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  17. ^ "Sathyabhama doctorates for scientist, stars". The New Indian Express. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  18. ^ "Sunita,Chitra,Shankar receive Lata Mangeshkar award | Latest News | ManaTeluguMovies". News.manatelugumovies.net. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  19. ^ "52nd National Film Awards". Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  20. ^ Press Trust of India (7 January 2012). "`Aadminte Makan Abu chosen best film by Thikkurissy foundation". IBN Live. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  21. ^ a b http://kerala9.com/news-category/news/kerala-news/chitra-vijay-yesudas-jayachandran-win-cera-big-malayalam-music-award
  22. ^ http://youtube/cWr5AKWfxoY
  23. ^ http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20140201/2331985.html
  24. ^ "Love: part one of 1000 songs everyone must hear". The Guardian. 14 March 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 

External links[edit]