CHENNAI: National award winning singer Swarnalatha passed away in a city hospital on Sunday morning following prolonged illness. She was 37.
The Palakkad-based singer was recently admitted to a private hospital here. She had been suffering from a chronic lung disorder, which had forced her to retreat from limelight for more than a year now. She was forced to take bed rest for the last couple of months, during which she had developed multiple organ complications.
Born in a family of musicians (father K C Cherukutty was a singer and harmonium player, while sister Saroja was her music guru initially), Swarnalatha took to music when she was in her teens. She opened her account in films when M S Viswanathan introduced her in a duet with singer Dr K J Yesudas. The song was Bharathiar’s Chinnanchiru Kiliye , for the film Neethikku Thandanai in 1987. Her next big break came in the film Kshathriyan (1990), in which she sang the melodious solo number, Maalaiyil Yaaro, by maestro Ilayaraja.
Her distinctive voice, which could effortlessly reach high octaves, quickly made her a name to reckon with in the playback music industry. During the last two decades, Swarnalatha sang over 7,000 songs in Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali and Badaga.
In Tamil, she is best remembered for her song Poralae in Karuthamma , which won her a National award in 1995, apart from Povoma Oorgolam ( Chinnathambi ), En Ulle ( Valli ), Maasi Masam ( Dharmadurai ), Aatamma Therottama ( Captain Prabakaran ), Usilambatti ( Gentleman ), Muqaala Muqabla ( Kadhalan ), Evano Oruvan ( Alaipayuthey ) and Malai Kovil ( Veera ).