Susheela is a well-renowned and highly talented playback singer in the Indian film industry. Her songs were famous all over India and she has literally sung songs in almost all the languages of India. Besides working in the mainstream film industry as a successful playback singer, she has also done many shows and stage performances across many parts of the world. She is considered one of the iconic singers in Indian cinema. In a career span of more than four decades, she has won many state and national awards. She has sung many hit songs that still stand evergreen among the film audience.
Susheela’s Early Life:
Susheela was born on 13th November 1935 in Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh to Mukund Rao and Sheshawata Ram. Susheela was 5th child in a family of a total 9 children. She developed an interest in singing at a very young age and also participated in many competitions during her schooling days. After completing her schooling, she enrolled herself at Maharajah’s Government College of music and dance in Vijayanagaram to learn music and graduated in first class.
After graduating, she joined Sangeeta Academy in Chennai and received guidance from Subramani Iyer. She’s a completely professionally trained singer who is expected to do big things in life.
Susheela’s Professional Career:
Music director Pedyala Nageshwara Rao gets the credit for discovering the talent in P. Susheela and bringing it in front of the world. Nageshwara Rao was in search of a new singer for All India Radio and the search came to an end when he found P. Susheela.
Susheela sang her first song “Edhukku Azhaithai”, with A.M.Raja for the 1951 Tamil movie Petra Yhaai (Kanna Thalli in Telugu). She was only 16 years old when she started her professional singing career.
Susheela entered the industry as a playback singer when there was stiff competition with stars like M.L.Vasantha Kumari, P.Leela, Jikki, Jamuna Rani, T.V.Rathinam, Radha Jayalakshmi, Soolamangalam, and Rajalakshmi among others. However, it didn’t take much time for Susheela to grab the spotlight in a short time.
She has given many memorable songs and worked alongside famous directors including K.V.Mahadevan, M.S.Viswanathan, and Saluri Rajeswara Rao. With continuous hard work and determination, she emerged as an award-winning playback singer. So learned Tamil under Meyyappa Chettiar and this helped her in singing Tamil songs with not much difficulty. She mesmerized the Tamil audience with her magical voice; a blend of her sweet voice and proper pronunciation of Tamil words. She has also sung more than 2000 sings in Malayalam without actually knowing how to read and write in the Malayali language.
Susheela’s National Awards:
Susheela was the first person to win the National award in the category of best playback singer in the year 1969. She won the National award 5 times in the years 1969, 1971, 1977, 1982, and 1983.
Susheela’s Padma Bushan Award:
Susheela was awarded the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India the ‘Padma Bushan’ in January 2008.
She was also honored with several awards from Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments. The Tamil Nadu Government honored her in 1968, 1980, 1981, 1989, and 1991 with various titles, prizes, and awards.
She was awarded the “Ragupathi Venkaiah Award” for lifetime achievement in the Telugu film industry as the best female playback singer.
Susheela’s Personal Life:
Susheela was married to Mohan Rao and the couple is blessed with a son whom they have named Jayakrishnan and 2 granddaughters Jaya Shree and Suba Shree. Her daughter-in-law is no other than the popular singer Sandhya Krishnan who debuted with Rahman for the film Iruvar.
Susheela’s Net Worth:
Susheela’s net worth is estimated to be $1 million – $5 million dollars as of 2021