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Contribution ( Telugu Film Industry )

Courtesy : Sreevidya

Although Nightingale P.Susheela began her career in telugu in the film “Kanna thalli”(recorded in 1952 and movie got released in 1953) with a duet "endukku pilichavendukku" with A.M.Raja, it took her a few years to gain solid footage in the industry.

Within a short span, she became the numero uno singer in telugu while competing with singers like P.Leela, Jikki who were pretty strong in her days and quite a few like MLV, balasaraswathi, rani, jamuna rani, swarnalatha etc who were making their mark).

Her greatness lies in her rendition, elegance and clarity . Perhaps there is no singer in the south male or female to match up to it. One more advantage is her knowledge of carnatic music which could make it easier for her classical based numbers. Her melodious voice flowed with ease whether it was a melody, classic, a duet, folk or song of any other category. Her voice was an asset in any type of movies be it historical ,mythology or socio or neat family entertainer or folk lore. Most of the the heroines of her time(from late fifties to seventies) wanted P.susheela to render songs for them and were huge fans of her.

Be it a mythology, a historical movie, a folk lore , a devotional movie,a social film or a neat family entertainer, P.Susheela’s voice vibrated deep and flowed with that character making the listeners spellbound imagining as if the character was real ala a prahaladha or a rambha or a sakubai was singing on their own accord in front of them. Most of her songs were hits and it becomes a tough job to pick a few of her pearls.It is estimated that she could have rendered more than 30,000 songs in the south film industry.

Such was her versatility that although she rendered her voice for different characters and personalities in the movie, each song had its own flavor and never was a repeat or stereo typed. Such examples are many. She sang for all heroines in a multi star studded movies and had the brilliance to make her voice sound different and at the same time natural for that particular character. For example who can forget her in Mooga manasulu where she sang for both heroines Jamuna , a village belle (godari gattundhi maanu maakunu, gowramma nee and Savithri , an educated female (, Na paata nee nota,Ee nati ee bandham),One of her super hits Dr.Chakravarthi for heroines Savithri (Neevu leka veena,Paadamani nan),Sowcar janaki(Nijam cheppave pilla), Krishna kumari(Ee mounam Ee bidiyam with Ghantasala),in the same movie the sister character played by Geetanjali(Paadamani nanu) and a dance no (ungarala bongurula raja with madhavapeddi). This type of brilliance is unmatched by any other singer in the south.

This trend continued for a long time till the early eighties where she rendered her voice for all characters in the same movie .

Who can forget her fervent voice in Chenchu lakshmi (1958)(Paalakadali pai, kanalera) for the young character of Prahladha while she retained the same fervor and devotion for the same character played by Roja ramani in the movie “Bhakta Prahladha”(1967) almost a decade after . Her songs “Narayana mantram, kanulaku veluguvu”, jeevamu neeve” are unforgettable. If PS sang those for young prahladha, she rendered “Raara priya sundara” for courtesan (played by L.Vijayalakshmi) and other numbers for other characters in the same film. Who can forget P.S in Suvarna sundari(Socio –folklore) (Piluvaku raa,) Panduranga Mahatyam(Nee vani nenani),Pandava vanavasam(Himagiri sogasulu), Gulebakavali katha(Nannu dochu),gundamma katha for heroines jamuna (Sanaga veeche, prema yatralaku with ghantasala) and savithri(aligina velane), rain song chitapata chinukulu (ANR , B.Saroja devi from movie atma balam) .

P.Susheela rendering of Jayadeva asthapdhi "Chandana charchita" from movie Tenali ramakrishna is a classic by itself.

The list is endless and countless……………….

Another speciality of PS is her instrument based songs. No other voice can match up to veena numbers. Examples are Movie Athmeeyulu(Madhilo veenalu mroge), Veenalona theegalona(Desodarakulu), Paadetha nee namame (Amayakuralu), swaramulu yedaina (thoorpu padamara), manase andhala brindavanam(Manchi kutumbam) etc.

In the sixties and seventies there were very few movies in which P.susheela did not render her voice.

She was the prime choice for the heroines of the late sixties and early seventies for eg : manjula, vansiree, chandrakala, Vijayanirmala etc. Some immemorable no’s under MD’s satyam, rajan nagendra are kalise kallalona (Nomu), kurisindhi vaana(Bullemma bullodu), O bangaru rangula(thota ramudu), radhuku neevera(thulabaram),Manasaveena and manaserigina vaadu from moviePanthulamma, aakasam and yenniyalo from bhakta kannappa.

Her unforgettable and evergreen classic “vasthadu naa raju” in the mid seventies from movie” Alluri seetha rama raju” is picturised on vijayanirmala, Krishna.

The late seventies saw the arrival of glamour heroines Sridevi, jayapradha, jayasudha to name a few for whom PS has rendered several hits. The numbers for these heroines are fast paced step numbers and peppy. To list a few : Aaresu koboyi (Jayapradha, NTR in “adavi ramudu),Athamaduguvaagulona(sridevi,NTR in Kondaveeti simham), Donga donga dorikadu(Jayasudha, NTR in Driver ramudu). While PS eased in her rendition of peppy numbers , she was equally adept in rendering cabaret no’s for glamour stars like jayamalini, jyothilakshmi,silk smitha etc.

Her solo “Joru meedunnovu” from the movie Siva ranjani featured on jayasudha will remain a classic forever.

jhummandhi nadham (featured on Jayapradha(for movie Siri siri muvva – won her the best female national singer award the third time and the first time in telugu) . She won two more national awards in telugu for Priye charuseele (Meghasandesam(featured on Jayasudha)) and yenta beeda for movie “M.L.A. Yendukondalu(featured on sujatha).”

She has also rendered her voice to other heroines like Radha, vijayashanthi, Bhanupriya, Madhavi,Radhika,Rajani, Roja, rambha to name a few.

Among male singers, P.Susheela’s maximum number of songs is with Ghantasala until the early seventies and with S.P B (from early seventies to late eighties).She also rendered a few duets with Md.Rafi in movies like bhale thammudu (“Nede Ee nade”, etc)and Akbar salim anarkali(Sipayi oh sipayi). He rothe rsingers include talat mahmood(movie manorama), A.M.Raja, P.B.Srinivas, K.J.Yesudas, mano , Ramakrishna , anand rajseetharam etc.

She has shared a lot of songs with S.Janaki, vani jayaram, P.Leela,jikki, vasantha etc among the female lead. Her numbers with P.Leela in “Lava Kusa” is a trend setter and cannot be equalled.

She is a recipient of several nandi awards (best play back in state),Raghupathi venkayya award and also several other government awards and titles from other states . Andhra university has conferred Doctorate title on her for her outstanding achievement in the industry.

The central government awarded “Padma Bhushan “ on her for her contributions towards the south Indian film industy.

P.Susheela who has turned 74 recently is still actively engaged in music by giving concerts,being a judge on several music shows on Television networks and being a valuable guide to the new generation of music lovers.

She now has a trust in her name through which she could reach out to the up -coming singers and also artists who are in financial distress.