For a singer, getting a National Award is the best thing achieved in life. Here are some of the legendary singers from the South, who grabbed the National Award for the Best Singer.
K J Yesudas
The Gana Gandharvan “K J Yesudas” grabbed the National Award for the Best Singer, eight times. This is the highest number of times, a singer received the National award. His first award came in the year 1972 for the Malayalam film, Achanum Bappayum. In 1973, he got it for Gayathri, a Malayalam film. In 1976, he got it for a Hindi film, Chitchor. In 1982, Yesudas received the Best Singer award for a Telugu film, Megashandesam featuring Akkineni Nageswara Rao. In 1987, he got it for a Malayalam film, Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam. In 1991, he got it for Bharatham and in 1993 for Sopanam. In 2017, Yesudas received the award for the film, Viswasapoorvam Mansoor.
S P Balasubrahmanyam
“S P Balasubrahmanyam” the versatile singer has won the National Award six times and he is in second place next to Yesudas. These six awards are for four language songs, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi. In 1979, SPB received his first award for the film, Sankarabharanam featuring “Somayajulu” directed by Kasinathuni Viswanath. In 1981, he received the award for Ek Duuje Ke Liye, a Hindi film directed by K Balachander, featuring Kamal Haasan. In 1983, he got the award for the Telugu film, Saagara Sangamam featuring Kamal. In 1988, he received it for the Telugu film, Rudraveena. In 1995, he got it for the Kannada film, Sangeetha Sagara Ganayogi Panchakshara Gavai. In 1996, he received the award for Minsara Kanavu, featuring Arvind Swamy directed by Rajiv Menon.
K S Chithra
Chithra, the versatile singer is the one, who grabbed the award, the maximum times in the female singer category. She got it six times and the first time is for Sindhubhairavi, a Tamil film featuring Suhasini Maniratnam, directed by K Balachander in 1985. The music is composed by “Ilaiyaraaja.” In 1986, she received it for a Malayalam movie, Nakhakshathangal. In 1988, she got it again for a Malayalam movie, Vaishaali. In 1996, she received the best singer award for Minsara Kanavu composed by “A R Rahman.” In 1997, she got it for the Hindi film, Virasat. In 2004, she got it for the Tamil film, Autograph, directed by “Cheran” and composed by “Bharathwaj.”
P Susheela, the versatile singer received her first National Award in 1968 for the Tamil film, Uyarndha Manidhan, featuring Sivaji Ganesan, Sowcar Janaki and “Vanisri.” She is the first National Award winner in the national Award for Female Singer category. In 1971, she received it for Savale Samali featuring “Jayalalithaa.” In 1976, she got the award for a Telugu film, Siri Siri Muvva. She grabbed the award consecutively in 1982 and 1983 for the films, Meghasandesam and M. L. A. Yedukondalu. Susheela got five National Awards.
“S Janaki,” the melody queen grabbed the National Award four times. Her first award is for the Tamil film, 16 Vayathinile directed by “P Bharathiraja.” The film featured “Rajinikanth,” Kamal Haasan and “Sridevi.” In 1980, she received the award for a Malayalam movie, Oppol. In 1984, she got the award for a Telugu film, Sitaara. Her final National Award is for the film, Thevar Magan, featuring Kamal and “Revathi.”