Playback singer Swarnalatha who lived as music in the world of Tamil cinema and got immersed in music at a young age. Swarnalatha was born on 29 April1973, in Palakkad, Kerala, to K.C. Cherukutty and Kalyani. She learned in and out of music from his father, a singer and harmonical player.
The first opportunity came from M. S. Viswanathan in 1987, when she performed a duet with K. J. Yesudas, “Chinnachiru Kiliye” in the film Neethikku Thandanai, which was based on the story and dialogues of former chief minister Kalaignar Karunanidhi. At that time, Swarnalatha was 14 years old. Swarnalatha was the perfect match when Ilayaraja’s patron singers S. Janaki and Chitra needed a replacement.
She was also known as the “Nightingale of Tamil cinema” and The Humming Queen Of India and is referred to as “Kuralarasi“. She was one of the most versatile singers of her times, as she was able to sing melodies like “Maalayil Yaaro Manathodu Pesa” from Sathriyan or “Porale Ponnuthayi” from Karuthamma as well as Rahman’s experimental songs like “Mukkabla” from Kadhalan or “Mottu Vittadha” from Pavithra. Swarnalatha was the first female playback singer to fetch the National Award under A. R. Rahman’s music direction. She received the award for the song “Porale Ponnuthayi”.
She has sung over 7000 songs in various languages like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi. Even though she got lost in music at a young age, her songs still resonate with many people. She died on 12 September 2010 at the age of 37 due to lung disease. It has been 12 years since she passed away. But Swarnalatha lives on in timeless songs.
National Award and State Awards
1994– National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for “Porale Ponnuthayi” from Karuththamma
1991 – Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback for “Povomma Oorkolam” from Chinna Thambi
1994 – Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback for “Porale Ponnuthayi” from Karuththamma
2000 – Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback for “Evano oruvan” from Alaipayuthey
1994– “Kalaimamani Award” by the Government of Tamil Nadu