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Surmukhi Raman predominantly works in Tamil cinema. She is both a playback singer and lyricist. Her recent song Aandipatti Kanava Kathu from the film Dharmadhurai garnered 26 million views on Youtube. She has tried her luck in Kannada and Telugu films as well.
She has sung for the movies including Sethu Boomi, Jippaa Jimikki, Yamaleela 2,Drishya, Aranmanai, Mudhal Thagaval Arikkai, Aakkam etc.
Kalyani Menon, the famous Tamil playback singer acquired her knowledge of classical music from the well-known classical master and guru ‘Sangeethabhooshanam' M.R. Sivaraman Nair. Her merit as a classical vocalist soon blossomed under the guardianship of M.R. Sivanaraman Nair, developing and making a mark as a playback singer for South Indian films as well. In Madras in the year 1977, she was able to make her first debut through the renowned dance drama of Dhananjayan's Malayalam, ‘Magdalana Mariyam', which was choreographed for the Madras Doordarshan as part of the Vallathol Centenary celebrations. The lines that Kalyani sang of Vallathol Narayana Menon's were set into tune and composed by the Dhananjayans.
From the stage, when Menon moved to the background, her first song in the Tamil language was "Sevvaaname Ponmegame" under the baton of IR. She performed this song with artists like Tiruchi Loganathan Maharajan, J.C., and B.S. Sasirekha in filmmaker K.Balaji's 'Nallathoru Kudumbam' (1979) which became quite popular getting a high airtime. Balaji continued to ensure that Menon performed in a number of his films from the early 80s. Some of the films were, namely, 'Sujatha' (1980) in which the song "Nee Varuvaaiyena" was performed by her, then she was involved in the comic dance drama 'Devdas', which was a quite popular comedy, in which she performed "Thanniya Potta Sandhosham Pirakkum" with Kamal, in 1981.
There was a breezy duet, a melody recorded with SPB, "Aei Rajave Un Rajathi" from the film 'Vaazhve Mayam' in 1982, and another, "Vidhi Varaindha Paadhai Vazhiye from the film "Vidhi" (1984). Her most memorable duet was with KJY for S-G, "Naan Iravil Ezhuthum kavithai Muzhuthum" from the film 'Suba Muhoortham' in 1983. Radio Ceylon aired another wonderful duet from Menon and JC, "Theril Vandhaal Devadhai, Enai Thedi Vandhaal Thaargai", from an unreleased film called 'Mookuthi Meengal'. In 1977 Kalyani Menon sang for the legendary composer M.S. Baburaj in the movie 'Dweep' made by Ramu Kariat.The song "Kanneerin Mazhayathum" was a melodious blue, poignant in its own way making a subtle impression of beauty on the listeners' mind and moving their emotions at moments. Soon after that, Kalyani Menon was subtly overlooked by the TFM, and probably would have remained such, had not A.R. Rahman reintroduced her back into the mainstream to sing "Vaadi Saathukkudi" in the film 'Pudhiya Mannargal', following it up with a part in the song "Kuluvalile" in the film 'Muthu'. The piece was "Omana Thingal".
Her recent songs for composer A.R. Rahman include "Alaipaayuthe Kanna" from 'Alaipaayuthe' and "Adhisaya Thirumanam" from 'Paarthaale Paravasam'. Menon featured in Rahman's historical milestone in patriotic music album 'Vandhe Maataram'. In the album 'Ussele', by Srinivas, in which Kalyani Menon and Unnikrishnan sang a duet, Gopalakrishna Bharathi's "Eppo Varuvaaro" set to a modern beat. Later in life her talented son, Rajeev Menon, after gaining proper fame and attention in his line of profession, has always acknowledged his mother's never-ending encouragement and support during his endeavors. As a gesture of gratefulness and respect, Kamal Hasan called Kalyani Menon on stage to receive the first cassette on behalf of her son, when the audio cassette of ‘Kandukkonden Kandukkonden’, his magnum opus, which was released in a grand function, delivered to her. Menon's film industry career also included acting, as she made a brief appearance the movie as Aishwarya's guru in music.
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