Mano (singer)

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Playback singer Mano.JPG
Background information
Birth nameNagoor Babu
Also known asRockstar In Tamil Nadu
Born26 October 1965 (1965-10-26) (age 57)
Sattenapalli, Andhra Pradesh, India
Genresplayback singing, carnatic music
Occupation(s)Singer, actor, producer, voice dubbing artist, music composer
Years active1977–present

Nagoor Babu, known by his stage name Mano, is an Indian playback singer, voice-over artist, actor, producer, television anchor and composer. He is a recipient of several awards such as the Nandi Awards from the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Kalaimamani award from the Government of Tamil Nadu.[1]

Mano has recorded more than 1,000 songs for film and private various Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya and Hindi films.[2] He has also performed for over 3000 live concerts across the continents.[3] Notably, he has recorded 500 songs for music director Ilayaraja. Mano is also recognized for being as the full-fledged dubbing artist for Rajanikanth in Telugu from Muthu (1995) onwards.

Early life and background[edit]

Mano was born as Nagoor Babu in Tenali, Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. His father Rasool, was a musician in the All India Radio, Vijayawada division and his mother Shaheeda, was a popular Stage actress. Inspired heavily by his mother, Mano joined the stage theater and played many historical characters which also involved singing live songs in his own voice. He soon started taking formal training of carnatic classical music under the vocalist Nedunuri Krishnamurthy. Subsequently, he started his film acting career in the late 1970s and acted in about 40 movies as child artist. He featured as a supporting character in films such as Rangoon Rowdy.


Mano has sung almost 30,000 songs for films and private in 15 languages such as Telugu, Tamil, Oriya, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.[citation needed]

Early days and debut[edit]

While in 1977, Mano was shooting for a Telugu film for which the veteran M. S. Viswanathan was the music composer, it so happened that the original singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam who was supposed to sing a song could not show up to the recording studio. Accidentally, Mano was asked to show his singing skills by the composer's assistant who was a good friend of Mano's father. Mano rendered a few of the Ghazal songs much to the appreciation of audience present there and the composer himself. From then on, Mano was signed by Viswanathan to sing few track songs upon which the main singer would sing in the final version. In 1982, Mano approached the famous composer Chakravarthy seeking a chance for his brother who was upcoming as a Tabla player. However, Chakravarthy insisted that he wanted an assistant like him to sing track songs. Mano, joined his troop and assisted for almost 2 years. In his tenure with Chakravarthy, Mano sang over 2000 tracks for almost all the leading singers.

Name change and association with Ilaiyaraaja[edit]

Before beginning his long standing career with Ilaiyaraaja, Nagoor Babu was rechristened as "Mano" to avoid clash of names with the already established singer Nagore E. M. Hanifa. The name was selected and christened by Ilaiyaraaja himself in his first song "Annae Annae nee enna sonnae" in the Tamil film Fazil's "Poo Vizhi vaasalilae" title song. Mano went on to record many memorable songs under the same composer for his Tamil and Telugu films. In 1987, Mano got a big break by singing popular songs for the film Enga Ooru Pattukkaran. The songs "Shenbagame Shenbagame" and "Madhura Marikozhundu Vasam" became instant hits among the listeners. However, he also faced criticism from the critics who dubbed that his voice was an absolute clone to S. P. Balasubrahmanyam.

Taking the criticism in his stride, Mano went on recording as many as 500 successful songs with Ilaiyaraaja and slowly branched out to sing for other Tamil composers as well.[4] He recorded maximum number of duet songs with K. S. Chithra, Swarnalatha and S. Janaki. He simultaneously sang many hundreds of songs in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries. His teaming up with Hamsalekha in Kannada produced many chart buster numbers which are considered evergreen. His few Malayalam, Hindi and Oriya songs also were well received.

Voice modulation and its success[edit]

The late 1980s saw Mano experimenting with his voice through some modulations and it indeed worked in his favor to silence his critics. In the 1988 Kamal-starrer Soorasamharam, he first experimented with his voice encouraged by his mentor Ilayaraja (who wanted him to sound different in the song - Vedhalam Vandhirukuthu). He took inspiration for that song from the evergreen RD Burman number Mehbooba Mehbooba from Sholay and the song went on to be a big hit and he was much appreciated for the voice modulation. He later followed the same style for some more songs especially those with Arabic tunes. In 1994, he was approached by A. R. Rahman to sing the duet song "Mukkabla" with Swarnalatha for the movie Kadhalan. Mano was asked to sing in a very different style by the composer and he took the R. D. Burman route and the Mukkala song went on to become a huge blockbuster which broke all the regional barriers and reached out to the entire country. He recorded the same song in the Telugu and Hindi versions which also were well received. Following this stupendous success in experimentation, many music directors cashed in his newfound fame and made him sing in the same style. Some of the songs he modulated his voice for are "Aye Shabba Aye Shabba" for Vidyasagar's Karna, "I Love You" and "Azhagiya Laila" for Sirpy's Ullathai Allitha and "Thillana Thillana" for Rahman's Muthu. He has also done a few semi-classical numbers such as Athma Varaiyo. He has also sung a few Hindi film songs for Gulshan Kumar in Aaya Sanam, Aaja Meri Jaan, Kasam Theri Kasam, and Chor Aur Chand.

Voice-over dubbing[edit]

The year 1995 also saw another face of Mano as the voice-over dubbing artist in the Telugu film industry. He dubbed his voice for almost all Rajinikanth starrers in Telugu. His voice became almost synonymous with Rajinikanth and was in great demand by all the directors and producers.[5] He also dubbed his voice for Kamal Haasan in some movies in Telugu.He also dubbed for Akshay kumar in Galatta Kalyanam(Atrangi re).

Music composing and producing[edit]

Mano has worked as a music composer for the 2008 released Telugu film Sombheri. He got good response for his compositions. He also tried his hands on releasing Tamil film Azhagiya Tamil Magan (2007) as Mahaa Muduru in 2010 starring Vijay and Shriya Saran. The film, however, flopped at the box-office. He also produced two movies dubbed from Telugu to Tamil Madurai Thimiru and Kumaran Rajini Rasigan (dubbed versions of Yogi and Bujjigadu) under the studio name, "Lord Venkateswara Productions" and "Mano Media Entertainments" respectively.[4]

Television works[edit]

Mano is hosting Manathodu Mano – a musical talk show in Jaya TV. He is also one of the permanent judging panel for Vijay TV's musical reality show Airtel Super Singer Junior along with Chitra and Malgudi Subha. He also co-judges the musical show Idea Super Singer on Maa TV. He also co-judges the musical show Sun Singer S6 (2019) with Karthik and Remya Nambesan. Since 2019, he co-judges popular Telugu television reality-comedy series Jabardasth and Extra Jabardasth alongside Roja. In 2021, he is one of the judges of Tamil reality-music show Rockstar.

Personal life[edit]

Mano is married to Jameela in 1985. They have three children. Shakir, Rafi, and Sofia. They both have made their debut in singing for the movie Kumaran Rajini Rasigan. The elder son Shakir is being introduced as a lead actor in a couple of Tamil films. Mano loves listening to ghazals by Mehdi Hassan and Ghulam Ali.


As actor[edit]

  • 1992: Soorya Manasam - playback Singer

As dubbing artist[edit]

Actor Film Original language Notes
Rajinikanth Muthu,
Tamil Only for Telugu dubbed versions
Kamal Haasan Sathi Leelavathi,
Tamil Telugu version
Anupam Kher Little John Tamil/Hindi/English Tamil version
Akshay Kumar Galatta Kalyanam Hindi Tamil version




  1. ^ Kamath, Sudhish (28 March 2013). "Tune into Mano". The Hindu. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Mano's Songs List at". Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Mano - Singer | MySwar".
  4. ^ a b "Nagur Babu (Mano) interview - Telugu Cinema interview - Telugu film singer and music director".
  5. ^ Nadadhur, Srivathsan (6 June 2018). "Mano : The voice of Rajini". The Hindu.
  6. ^ "Veettukku Vilakku Video Song | Porantha Veeda Puguntha Veeda | Sivakumar | Bhanupriya | Ilayaraja" – via
  7. ^ "Mano". Jointscene. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012.

External links[edit]