Audience determines today's music, says K S Chitra
Chennai, April. 29 (PTI): She had never thought that she would become a playback singer but destiny had other plans. Twenty-five years after her song was first featured in a film, Padmashri awardee K S Chitra believes music and lyrics have changed over the years to accommodate changing tastes.
Chitra, whose first recorded song was featured in "Njaan Ekakanu" (I Am Alone), a Malayalam film in 1982, was responding to a question on some songs in Malayalam and other languages featuring a smattering of English words.
"Nothing is static. Look, there has been a change over 25 years. There is a change in our food habits, the way we dress. It is the same in all fields. The audience too has changed, hasn't it ? The present audience wants these kind of songs," she told PTI.
"If there is no audience, then it will fade out. The audience is the determining factor."
Chitra first sang for the Malayalam film "Attahasam" in 1979. But that film got delayed and was released only in 1983. Her first recorded song was a duet with legend Yesudas in "Njaan Ekakanu". "Pranayavastham" turned out to be a hit and there was no looking back for the affable nightingale.
Radhakrishnan Master (Malayalam music director M G Radhakrishnan) introduced her to films. He was the music director for "Njaan Ekakanu".
"How time flies. There were no celebrations. In fact, it was my friends and the media which drew my attention to the fact that I had completed 25 years in music," said Chitra.
Asked to compare between music then and now, she said: "Technology has advanced so much. Earlier, we practised and practised and went in for a rehearsal before going in for the take. Now look at the equipment we have. It is so sophisticated. Now we hardly get to see who is singing with us. Most of the time, it is only at stage shows that we get to see the musicians. Times have changed."
Chitra's reign truly began after her melodious numbers in the Malayalam films "Ente Mmatekutteammakku", "Nookathudoorathu Kannenattu" and "Naksthangal" in the early 1980s became big hits. She had taken over the baton from music veterans like P Sushila and S Janaki, who dominated south Indian music for over two decades.
A clutch of awards followed. She received her first national award for best female playback singer in 1986 for the Tamil film "Sindhu Bhairavi". She won the next year's award too for the Malayalam film "Nakhaksthangal". She garnered more awards for "Vaisali" (1989, Malayalam), "Minsara Kanavu" (1996, Tamil), "Virasaat" (1997, Hindi) and "Autograph" (2004, Tamil).
Chitra has also received the Kerala Government award for best female playback singer 15 times. She holds the rare honour of being the first person to be recognised by all four state governments in south India as best playback singer. In 2004, she won the award for the best female singer from the Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Governments.