A birthday present for P Susheela

Sujatha and Shwetha Mohan pay a musical tribute to the singer who turned 84 on November 13

Singer Shwetha Mohan grew up listening to P Susheela’s songs. Her mother, playback singer Sujatha, would also sing those lovely songs in Malayalam and Tamil.

So when Shwetha came up with the idea of paying a unique tribute to the legendary singer on her 84th birthday, Sujatha was happy. The mother-daughter singer duo, with 19 other singers, created a medley of Susheela’s songs and posted it on YouTube. It was released on November 12, a day before her birthday.

But, there is more to follow. There would be cover versions of Susheela’s songs in various languages.

“Susheela has always been my favourite singer, and I liked Shwetha’s idea of making cover versions of her classics,” Sujatha says. “I enjoyed working with Shwetha, selecting the songs for the project.”

The medley, which has been recorded without background music, has already received excellent response on social media. It features some of the best-known voices in playback music, such as Unnikrishnan, Vijay Yesudas, Srinivas, Haricharan, Benny Dayal, Naresh Iyer, Anuradha Sriram as well some younger singers.

A birthday present for P Susheela

The songs featured are Malandhum malaraadha... (Paasamalar), Kannukku mai azhagu... (Pudhiya Mugam), Poo pookkum maasam... (Vasham 16) and Azhagiya Thami magal ival... (Rickshawkaran). They give us a fair idea about Susheela's incredible range and longevity.

It is refreshing to listen to those classics in different kinds of voices and styles. The singers have done an excellent job, too.

“All those singers took time off to be part of the project,” says Sujatha. “Some of them were abroad at the time when Shwetha told them about it, but they still recorded and mailed their respective songs to her.”

Little wonder everyone wanted to be part of the tribute. For, she is a singer’s singer. She is the favourite female singer of many leading playback singers.

No female voice has made as much impact on Southern cinema as Susheela’s. She has rendered some of the greatest melodies in various languages, be it Tamil, her mother tongue Telugu, or Malayalam.

One of her greatest strengths as singer is her ability to get into the soul of the song even if she doesn’t know the language. She always comes up with right the right emotion a song demanded despite not knowing what it meant; it is as if the bhava is inbuilt her voice.

That voice is, of course, unique. “She is truly a unique singer,” says Sujatha. “Singers like me and Shwetha may be more like S. Janaki, and I do admire her a lot, but Susheela to me has always been the singer that I idolised most.”

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 3:25:41 AM |

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