( Telugu Film Industry )
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
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
The list is endless and
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
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
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
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
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.