Bangalore, March 15: Legendary south Indian playback singer S Janaki, who has sung in umpteen Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam films, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Mysore University and leading music directors say it is high time a state institution recognised her contribution.
Janaki has won four National Awards for her songs in two Tamil films and one song each from Malayalam and Telugu filmS. She has been named best singer by the Kerala state film awards at least 14 times, while she has won 10 such awards from Andhra Pradesh and seven from Tamil Nadu. But the singer has never been honoured by the Karnataka state film awards.
"At last we have belatedly recognised Janaki-amma`s talents. It is still a mystery as to how such a great talent did not figure in the state government`s film awards though she has sung for Kannada films for more than 35 years," said music director Hamsalekha.
"I was a great fan of hers ever since I started hearing film music. I`m very happy to be associated with such a great singer. There are many popular songs that she has sung under my music direction, but songs like `Akashadaage Neenu Maayagaaranu` and `Yaarivanu` have been popular," the composer added.
The 70-year-old singer was last week conferred an honorary doctorate by Mysore University for her contribution to the Kannada film industry. She is the second Kannada film personality to receive the honour after movie icon Raj Kumar.
Though Janaki was born in a village in Andhra Pradesh`s Guntur district, she gained popularity as a singer in Karnataka having sung with music greats like SP Balasubramaniam, PB Sreenivas and Yesudas.
Well-known lyricist and composer K Kalyan also said he was glad that the Mysore University has attempted to rectify the lapse on the part of Karnataka state film award juries over the years.
"There are more than 1,000 Kannada film songs of Janaki-amma that can be distinguished for her magical voice. She was associated with many musical maestros like Ilayaraja, GK Venkatesh, MS Vishwanathan, Chalapathy Rao and Vijaya Bhaskar to render some unforgettable songs. I don`t know how successive juries have ignored Janaki-amma`s contribution to the Kannada film industry," Kalyan said.
Janaki has lent her voice to many heroines including Rekha, Sridevi and Jayaprada, among many others. Apart from the south Indian language films, she has also sung in Hindi, Bengali, Konkani and Tulu.
Though Janaki has not been taking on singing assignments, she has agreed to be a judge for a popular music-based programme on the Kannada Zee TV Channel.