When melodious singer S.Janaki rejected Padmabhushan award conferred on her by Union Govt this year, alleging favouritism on part of the ruling fraternity towards North showing utter discrimination towards Southern talent, it opened a Pandora box. Whenever any awards are presented there is scope for criticism, so jury panel should be careful in selecting the final list. However Padma awards have always had their share of controversies. One can see the glaring discrimination when entire south comprising of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh got 21 Padma awards this year, only Delhi alone got 20 Padma awards and there is no one to question them. S.Janaki is not the only one hurt in the process, double Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar was shocked to find his name scrapped from the list at the last moment. How many more Olympic medals he should win to get Padma awards when lesser and unknown people are winning awards insulting his talent. Some of the few lesser known talents include Doctor who operated former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, US Hotelier who made possible Indo-US Nuclear deal etc. This shows other than talent, other factors play important role during awards.
S.Janaki deserves Bharathrathna
Coming to Janaki while her contemporaries from North Latha Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle won Padma awards long back it took so many years for Indian Govt to recognise her talent. Latha got Padma award in 1960s while Asha Bhonsle got direct Padmabhushan.Latha got Bharath rathna award also. If one thinks Janaki achievements pale in comparison with that of the other two then here are her achievements.She started her career in movies by singing songs composed by T. Chalapati Rao in the Tamil movie Vidhiyin Vilayattu in 1957. Subsequently, she performed in the Telugu movie MLA. "Singara velane deva" made her singing star over night. She sang several memorable duets with P B Srinivas and rarely with T M Soundarrajan, A M Rajah & Ghantasala during 1960s. Janaki became one of the most preferred female singers of south India from 1970s. Janaki went on to become one of the most favourite singers of Ilayaraja, and a phase ensued when she sang at least 2 to 3 songs per movie in all the four South Indian languages.Janaki holds the record of singing the most difficult song in South Films i.e. Shiva Shiva Ennada from the Kannada movie Hemavathi.Her vocal skills were tested to core and she won every time in songs of Ilayaraja. Her smile/laugh, sensuous notes, alaaps/humming were used to a major extent. She was invited to Hindi film industry by Bappi Lahri for Saheb movie, where she delivered super hit "Yaar bina chain kahare". She sang around 100 songs in music of Jaidev, Lakshmikanth pyarelal, R D Burman, Ravindra Jain, O P Nayyar, Bappi Lahri, Anu Malik and others. She recorded duets with Mhd Rafi (in Telugu movies), Kishore Kumar, Mannadey, Bhupinder, Manhar Udas, Amit Kumar, Suresh Wadkar, Mohd Aziz, Udit Narayan, Shankar Mahadevan and others. But she personally preferred singing south Indian songs as she was getting them with better quality at that time .She also penned many songs for Tamil and Telugu albums as she was extremely good in both the languages. She has also sung in Sinhalese, Bengali, Oriya, English, Sanskrit, Konkani, Tulu, Saurashtra, Baduga, Japanese and German. Some of her favorite songs include sirimalle poova, kannepillavani, jilibili palakula, chinnari ponnari, etc. She won Nandi award for 10 times, TN state award for 7 times, Oriya award and Kerala award for 11 times. She is not the only one dumped by Central Govt. Many Tollywood greats like Bapu, Dasari Narayana Rao etc were ignored as Bapu was only belittled by Padmasri. Politics surely play prominent role in awards as Cong’s favorite actor and politician from TN Puratchi Thalaivar MGR was given Bharat Rathna while NTR who made Andhra Pradesh and all Telugu people proud with his stature was insulted as he happened to be opposition leader who decimated Cong completely. Janaki is absolutely deserved for Bharath Rathna and one cannot find fault with her on rejecting Padma award. One cannot but feel sad that shine and sheen of Padmas are lost in the dirty politics, power and money play.