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P. Leela's death mourned



P. Leela, a renowned playback singer.

CHENNAI: The renowned playback singer P. Leela passed away on Sunday midnight at Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre in Chennai.

Leela, 75, was admitted to the hospital after a fall in her bathroom a month ago. Doctors diagnosed a blood clot in the brain and performed a surgery. While she was recovering, pneumonia afflicted her. Being an asthma patient, Ms. Leela's condition worsened.

Born in Chittur, near Palakkad, Leela was trained in Carnatic music by doyens such as Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar and Dakshinamoorthy Swami. She started her career as a playback singer in Malayalam films. Later, she went on to sing for blockbuster hits in Tamil, such as Vanjikottai Valiban, Missiamma and Lava Kucha.

However, her contribution to devotional music is considered an effort non-pareil. Narayaneeyam was one of her personal favourites. "She considered the opportunity to render Narayaneeyam the greatest blessing ever," says a relative.

Among several honours is the Kalaimamani award, conferred upon her in 1992.

Jayalalithaa's condolence

Chennai Special Correspondent reports:

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday condoled the death of Carnatic musician and playback singer P. Leela.

In a condolence message, she described Leela as "one of the greatest vocal musicians of India, who made a name for herself by singing exquisite songs in her mellifluous voice in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu both for the film industry, as well as in Carnatic music." She had also rendered melodious devotional songs, Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

Though she had been decorated with a number of awards including the Kalaimamani Award of the State Government for 1991-92, she was the epitome of humility and considered her contributions in the field of music a humble service to humanity and an offering to the Lord, she said.

"In her passing, we have lost a great singer, leaving a great void in the world of music," Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

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