The late 50’s fifties saw the entry of a 19-year old singer capturing everyone’s attention with her magical voice, easily traversing thehighest and the lowest octaves with ease. Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki, popularly now known as S Janaki had the looks that could light up the silver screen. Yet she chose to stay behind it lending her voice to almost all the leading ladies of her times, across all south Indian movie productions, for starters.
Though her debut ( first released movie) was Citadel’s Magnalanattu Mary (1957) – a duet with PB Srinivas, what shot her into prominence in Tamil was Konjum Salangai (1962). Legend has it that S M Subbiah Naidu, who was in the look out for a singer to sing his challenging song Singara Velanin Deva for the film Konjum Salangai (1962), where the singer had to match or rather compete with the Nadaswaram, was recommended this young lady’s name by none other than P Leela, a proficient classical vocalist herself who was offered the song in the first place. With not much of classical training, young Janaki’s performance got noticed by the South Indian film fraternity.