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Early Life and family

Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra more popularly known as K.S.Chitra was born in Thiruvanathapuram on 27th July 1963.Chitra is a great Indian playback singer and a native of Kerala. Apart from playback singing she has also proved her talents in Indian classical and devotional In the industry she is more popularly referred as Chinna Kuyil (Little Nightingale) of South India or Keralathinte Vanambadi who is noted and appreciated for her multitalented voice.

K.S.CHITRA Chitra was born in a music family were her father late Krishnan Nair was her first Guru in teaching music. Krishnan Nair was a famous singer and composer. Even at a very young age her interest in music was recognized and was encouraged by her father and other family members. Her sister K.S.Beena is also a playback singer in the Malayalam film industry. Though Chitra's father was her first Guru, she officially learnt Carnatic music from Dr. K. Omanakutty and was extensively trained by her.

Chitra has proved herself in different languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Badaga, Tulu, Urudu and Punjabi films. After finishing her school Chitra decided to further pursue her graduation and post graduation in music from the Kerala University. Chitra completed her bachelor's in music with a third rank at the University level.

Further Chitra also finished her post graduation in music from the Kerala University during which she was chosen under the support of the National Talent Search Scholarship programme and was trained by Professor K.Omanakutty. Chitra was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 – 1984. It was in 1979 she was introduced to playback singing in Malayalam by M. G. Radhakrishnan.

Chitra is married to Vijayashankar, an engineer and businessman and lives in Chennai. Unfortunately her only daughter Nandana died in a pool accident in Dubai at the age of 8 in April 2011. Chitra takes the pride of being the recipient of six National Film Awards (the most by any female singer), 6 Film fare Awards South and 31 different state film awards.


K.S.CHITRA It was M. G. Radhakrishnan who introduced Chitra to playback singing in the year 1979. The first few Malayalam films for which Chitra recorded her voice are "Attahasam", "Snehapurvam Meera" and "Njaan Ekananu". Her debut in Tamil music industry was with Ilaiyaraaja for the song "Poojaikketra Poovithu" from the film Neethana Antha Kuyil. Chitra performed at a number of live concerts both in India and abroad along with the veteran singer K. J. Yesudas.

Her live concerts brought a major turning point in her life. Chitra was offered songs by many veteran music directors from the Malayalam film industry like Raveendran, Shyam, Jerry Amaldev, Kannoor Rajan and Johnson. All these music directors helped Chitra in climbing her career ladder. It was after singing the song "Chinna Kuyil Paadum" from the "Poove Poochudava" by the veteran director Fazil in 1985 Chitra was conferred the title 'Chinna Kuyil Chitra'. Chitra's career was at its peak during the mid eighties and she was the most wanted female singer in almost all the south Indian languages.

In the Tamil music industry she recorded for most of Ilaiyaraaja's song and almost most of the songs turned out to be a major hit. Chitra is also been recognized as the one and only female singer who has recorded for the maximum number of A. R. Rahman Tamil film songs. Chitra takes the credit of singing the maximum number of solo songs in Tamil and Telugu for A. R. Rahman. Apart from A. R. Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja she has also sung for veteran composers like 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, Ramesh Narayan, Deepak Dev, Raj-Koti, S. A. Rajkumar, Mani Sharma, Harris Jayaraj, Devisri Prasad, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Bijibal, Mejo Joseph, Sejo John, Shahabaz Aman, Achu Rajamani and many other south Indian music directors.

K.S.CHITRA She is recognized and appreciated for her contributions in the music world by all the four state governments in South India. Chitra has given a number of hits for singing Hindi songs in the Bollywood industry for music directors like 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.

Adding to her credits includes the private albums sung by her in Hindi namely Piya Basanti and Sunset Point. Piya Basanti was written by Ustad Sultan Khan and was certified Gold, while Sunset Point was written by Gulzar. Chitra has now casting her appearance as one of the panel of judges in the most famous singing reality Television shows at Kerala (Idea Star Singer, Josco Indian Voice[7]) and Tamil Nadu (Airtel Super Singer Junior). She has performed in almost all the countries of the world like India, Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, France, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, Western European countries like Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.

Contributions of Chitra

K.S.CHITRA With Ilaiyaraaja recording of "Michael Madana Kama Rajan" song - Mathappoove oru penna ahaada" 1990 Chithra recorded her first studio album with Voodoo Rapper for the album called Ragga Raaga in 1993. As mentioned earlier her Hindi albums Piya Basanti and Sunset Point which was released in 2000 was a major hit. Piya Basanti penned by Ustad Sultan Khan was credited gold and is considered to be a golden achievement in the field of Indian Music albums.

The album Sunset Point had totally eight songs written and narrated by Gulzar and sung by Chithra and Bhupinder. In honour of her dedication to the great singer M. S. Subbulakshmi Chitra released an album in 2006 dedicating to M. S. Subbulakshmi in the name of "My tribute". This album included a collection of Kritis and bhajans exclusively devoted to Subbulakshmi. On the eve of the 80th birthday of Lata Mangeshkar, as a salute to the great singer Lataji, Chitra released an album in 2009.

She has given a number of albums in Malayalam along with K. J. Yesudas, M. Jayachandran and Sharreth. Chitra is on the process of a ghazal album with Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhosle. 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.

The pioneers in music are also planning to release a solo album of Chitra. Some of her international projects include with Jawad Ali one of the most famous Arab singer for his new Album "AMAR UL HOB" and a song for Herbie Hancock legendary Jazz Pianist and the mentor of Michael Jackson. A fundraising Organization in the name of Sneha Nandana is been started by Chitra along with a Kerala-based satellite channel, Asianet Cable Vision (ACV) , to help and assist the musicians with financial impediments and those suffering from health problems and also the aged musicians who has been forgotten.

Awards and Accolades - National Film Awards

K.S.CHITRA 1989 – Best Female Playback Singer – Song: "IndupushpamChoodiNilkumRaathri"

1996 – Best Female Playback Singer – Song: "Maana Madurai"

1997 – Best Female Playback Singer – Song: "Payalein Chun Mun"

2004 – Best Female Playback Singer – Song: "OvvoruPookkalume"

Civilian Award

2005 – Padma Shri – India's fourth highest civilian honor

Film fare Awards South

2006: Film fare Best Female Playback Award (Malayalam) – "KalabhamTharam"

2006: Film fare Best Female Playback Award (Kannada) – "AraluvaHoovugale"

2008: Film fare Best Female Playback Award (Malayalam) – "OduvilOru"

2009: Film fare Best Female Playback Award (Malayalam) – "KunnatheKonnakyum"


She has also received 15 awards for the best female playback singer from Kerala State Government, 8 awards from Andhra Pradesh State Government, 4 awards from Tamil Nadu State Government and 3 awards from Karnataka State Government. Chithra was also honored with the Kalaimamani title from Tamil Nadu Government in 1997, 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.

K.S.CHITRA Chitra has been awarded with an honorary Doctorate degree by the Chennai based Sathyabama University for her tremendous achievement in the field of cinema music. Recently, she was bestowed upon with C. Cheriyan Memorial Award by Cochin Fine Arts Society, Swaralaya – Eenam Award for Best Female Singer and Chakkulathamma Swaravarsha Award.

Furthermore, her song "Kehna Hi Kya (Kannalane)" from the film Bombay (1995) was included in The Guardian's "1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear" list. Chitra is the female singer next only to Lata Mangeshkar to peform at Royal Albert Hall London. Also she takes the credit of being the first Indian singer to perform at the British Parliament. Chitra has also won MTV Video Music Award, Screen Videocon Award, Film Fans Association Awards, and Cinema Express Awards.