She is the incredible singing machine of the south. Her winsome smile and humble behaviour is liked by everybody in the industry. Having won the Kerala state award 11 times, Tamilnadu state award 3 times and the national awards 5 times, she seems to have made a habit of winning all the awards.
Chitra’s father was a vocalist and mother was a veena-player and music teacher. She entered the industry in 1983 by singing a Malayalam song under M.G.Radhakrishnan, brother of her guru Dr Omanakutty, a professor at the Music College at Thiruvanathapuram. Since then there was no looking back for this talented singer who won the Kerala state award for the Best Female Playback Singer eight years in a row from 1986 to 1993, and 97,98,99. In 1984 she came to Chennai to sing for Fazil’s film Poove Poochoodava but it was Sindhu Bhairavi which gave her the biggest break she could ever dream of. The song ”Padariyen Padippariyen…” won her the first National Award and later she went on to become the number one playback singer in Tamil too. The song was unforgettable for Chitra who had to skip her M.A final exams to record it. However it was Illayaraja who helped her to make up her mind as he told her: “Music has more in store for you than academics”.
Chitra has sung in nine languages and she considers that for a multilingual singer, the basic knowledge of all the languages is a must to do full justice to the songs. After Malayalam she has sung most number of songs in Telugu and then Tamil. Almost 13,000 in all languages put together.
However, success has made Chitra more humble and down to earth. She admits that what ever she has achieved so far, are because of her parents and now her husband, Jayashankar an engineer who is extremely supportive, undemanding and shares her devotion to music.