Renowned playback singer KS Chithra won the Padma Bhushan award, the third highest civilian award in India, for her contribution to the field of art. The singer, who has sung in all four south Indian languages as well as Hindi, was earlier honoured with the Padma Shri award in 2005. Kaithapram Damodaran Namboodiri, a noted Malayalam lyricist and Carnatic musician, also won the Padma Shri this year for his contribution to art.
Others from Kerala who won the Padma Awards this year are sportsperson Madhavan Nambiar, Dr Dhananjay Diwakar Sagdeo, writer Balan Putheri and puppetry artist KK Ramachandra Pulavar.
Chithra â€“ whose full name is Krishnan Nair Shanthakumari -- has won six National Awards and more than 35 state awards for Best Female Singer.
The singer who hails from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, comes from a family of musicians. She began singing in films in 1979 as a child. Chithra won her first National Award for Best Female Singer in 1986, for the songs â€˜Padariyen Padippariyeinâ€™ and â€˜Naan Oru Sindhâ€™ from the Tamil film Sindhu Bhairavi.
Chithra has sung over 25,000 songs in various Indian languages including Bengali, Oriya, Tulu and Urdu. In Tamil, she debuted with the song â€˜Poojaikkethaâ€™, composed by Ilaiyaraaja for the film Neethana Antha Kuyil. The same year she debuted in Kannada with the film Preethi. Her songs in Sindhu Bhairavi were dubbed to Telugu in 1985.
Chithra is known for her many wonderful collaborations with Oscar-award-winning musician AR Rahman for a number of films since 1992, when the latter composed for the first time with Mani Rathnam's Roja.
Apart from Indian languages, she has sung in foreign languages such as Latin, English, Arabic and French.
Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, known popularly as Kaithapram, began writing songs for films in 1986 with Fazil's Ennennum Kannettante. He has written songs for over 300 films since then. Kaithapram has also occasionally acted in films, one of his most known performances coming in His Highness Abdulla as an established singer who challenges the character played by Mohanlal. Kaithapram also wrote the screenplay of the film Sopanam, directed by Jayaraj.
He has won two state awards before, for his lyrics in the film Paithrukam in 1993 and for the songs in Azhakiya Ravanan in 1996.