Early Life of K S Chitra
K S Chitra, the nightingale of South India, was born on July 27, 1963 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala into a musician's family. Her father, Krishnan Nair, nurtured her from an early age. Her father was her first Guru or teacher. This extraordinary singer learned music at the graduate and post-graduate levels and completed her BA in music with the third rank from the university. She went on to complete her MA in music from Kerala University for which she was chosen for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978-1984. From Dr. K. Omanakutty, K S Chitra received her extensive training in Carnatic Music afterwards. Chitra is married to Vijayashankar and has a daughter named Nandana.
Career of K S Chitra
K S Chitra got a chance in films when Prof. K. Omanakutty introduced her to her brother M.G. Radhakrishnan, a famous music director in Malayalam film industry. Her career in music started with the movie 'Attahaasam'. From then on there was no looking back. She sang for the films like 'Snehapoorvam Meera', and 'Njaan Ekananu'. Her expressive melodious voice got her plenty of offers and she was soon making a mark in Malayalam films to the extent that she has today monopolized Malayalam film music.
K S Chitra's big break came into Tamil films when she met with the famous music director Ilayaraja, with his film 'Nee Thaanaa Antha Kuyil'. During the same time, she received an offer from S.P. Venkatesh, for singing in a Hindi film being directed by him. But it was with 'Sindhu Bhairavi' that she became a known name in Tamil industry that also won her the National Award for best playback singer. Ms Chitra's venture into Hindi film music was with the song 'Saathiya, ye tune kya kiya' in the film 'Love'. Some of the Hindi films that she has given hit songs are 'Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya', 'Aks', 'Ashoka', 'Rangeela' etc. This eminent singer is one who has successfully broken the North-South divide and blazed a trail of glory in both worlds. Chitra did her first album in Indipop with Voodoo Rapper.
K S Chitra has performed all over India, Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, France, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Western European Countries like Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark. Ms Chitra has many albums especially devotional music to her credit. She has also worked with legends like Ustad Sultan Khan in the Album 'Piya Basanthi' and Gulzarin the Album Sunset Point in Hindi. She has released an album in dedication to Smt. Subbulakshmi and gave it the title 'My Tribute.' It is a collection of kirthis and bhajans dedicated to Subbulakshmi. Her first ghazal album with Masterio Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhosle is ready for release.
K S Chitra has an ability to pick up even the most difficult pitch with ease as because she has a strong base in classical music. She is a Grade A artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan. Chitra 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. Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chitra also appeared in the panel of judges in the singing reality Television shows at Tamil Nadu Airtel Super Singer Junior and Kerala Idea Star Singer.
Awards and Honours of K S Chitra
K S Chitra has own the unique distinction of being the first female singer in the history of South Indian film playback singing to be honoured by all the four southern state governments as the best playback singer. The Kerala government has crowned upon her the best playback singer award more than 12 times. Chithra has recorded thousands of film and non-film songs. During her career, numerous recognitions have come her way. She has won the National Award for the best playback singer five times for 'Sindhu Bhairavi' (Tamil, 1986), 'Nakhashatangal' (Malayalam, 1987), 'Vaishali' (Malayalam, 1989), 'Minsara Kanavu' (Tamil, 1996), 'Virasat' (Hindi, 1997). In 1997, Chithra was also honoured with the Kalaimamani title from Tamil Nadu Government.
She was awarded the K. J. Yesudas Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 and Kalaiselvam title from the South Indian Nadigar Sangam in 2002. The Lifetime Achievement Award from Global Malayalee Council in London was conferred to her in 2003. She has also received numerous mainstream awards like MTV Video Music Award, Screen - Videocon Award, Film Fans Association Awards, and Cinema Express Awards. K S Chitra also received the Lata MangeshkarAward in 2011 and the Thikkurissy Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 2012.
Recognising the contribution of K S Chitra to the music world, K S Chitra has been conferred the prestigious Padma Shri title by the Government of India.