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S. Janaki



Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki, (తెలుగు : ఎస్.జానకి), (ಕನ್ನಡ : ಎಸ್.ಜಾನಕಿ), (தமிழ் : எஸ்.ஜானகி), (മലയാളം : എസ്.ജാനകി ), (born 23 April 1938), commonly known as S. Janaki, is a versatile Indian Playback singer. As of 2007 Janaki had sung nearly 17,000 songs, encompassing most of the languages of South India, during a career that has lasted over 50 years. She confirmed in a speech while receiving the second highest civilian award of Karnataka state, Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, that the highest number of songs that she sang was in Kannada. She was very active in Telugu and Tamil film industries too. She has won four National Film Awards and 31 different State Film Awards. Her association with singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and composer Ilaiyaraaja is among the most popular musical combinations in South India.

She is known as, "The Nightingale of the South". She is a recipient of a Honorary doctorate from the University of Mysore and the Kalaimamani award from Tamil Nadu State Government.

In 2013, she refused the offer of a Padma Bhushan award by the Government of India, saying that it had come too late and that South Indian artists were not given their due recognition.

S. Janaki was born on 23 April 1938 in a Telugu speaking family in Pallapatla, Repalle Town, in Guntur, Madras Presidency, British India (now in Andhra Pradesh). She was interested in music from early age and started performing at the age of three. She learnt music from Sree Paidiswamy, a nadaswaram Vidwan.

Janaki started singing at 19. She later moved to Chennai on the advice of her uncle Dr. Chandrashekar and joined AVM Studios as a singer. She started her career in movies by singing songs composed by T. Chalapati Rao in the Tamil movie Vidhiyin Vilayattu in 1957. Subsequently, she performed in the Telugu movie MLA. She went on to become one of the most favourite singers of Ilayaraja and began to sing for him for at least 2-3 songs per movie in all four languages of South India.

She also wrote many songs for Tamil and Telugu movies. She has sung more than 40000 songs, in almost all languages in South India as well as in Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Sinhalese, Bengali, Oriya, English, Sanskrit, Konkani, Tulu, Saurashtra, Baduga, Japanese and German.

She has also recorded Hindu devotional music on Meera.

The toughest song in Janaki's career is the song "Shiva shiva ennada nalige yeke?" from the Kannada movie Hemavathi, as she said. Most of the music lovers and music critics have the same opinion. The song composed by L. Vaidyanathan which is in two different ragas called Todi and Abhogi.

Janaki was increasingly given work by music directors such as M. S. Viswanathan in Avargal, K. V. Mahadevan in Mazhai Megham), Sankar Ganesh in Aasai Manaivi and V. Kumar in Oruvanukku Oruthi.

Janaki has also recorded devotional music of Meera.

Janaki's recent song was "Amma amma" a duet with Dhanush in the movie Velai Illa Pathatari. She has sang several songs which is yet to release.

S. Janaki married V.Ramprasad. She lives in Chennai with her son Murali Krishna, who acted in few films and has an audio business of his own; and his wife Kailaimamani Uma Murali Krishna, a classical dancer (Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi); they have two daughters Amruthavarshini and Apsara.

She is also a close relative of carnatic classical vocalist, Garimella Balakrishna Prasad.