Continuing with the list of singers whose voices ae special to me, next on the list is a immensely talented Shankar Mahadevan. With his 'Varaga Nadhi' (the first song of his that I listened to during on the Kargil benefit matches in 1999), 'Breathless' and 'Yenna Solla Pogirai', he surely captured the attention of the music lovers. As a part of the successful composition trio - Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, he has been able to deliver classy-yet-popular albums like Kal Ho Na Ho, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Salaam-E-Ishq, Bunty Aur Babli, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom etc. Coming to my favorites in his CV, Enna Solla Pogirai - Kandukonden, Varaga Nadhi - Sangamam, Vennilave (sad version) - Minsara Kanavu, Hey Goodbye Nanba - Aayitha Ezhuthu, Merke Merke - Kanda naal Mudhal, Kadhal Vandhucho - Hey Nee Romba Azhaga Irukkey, Uppu Karuvadu - Mudhalvan and among his compositions I love the Hindi soundtracks in the movies mentioned earlier.
Karthik is yet another singer whom was unravelled by A.R.Rahman and I have a dedicated blog for this energetic singer, whose discography is filled with great numbers like Uyire En Uyire - Totti Jeya (one of my favorite non-ARR number of all times), Anarkali - Kangalal Kaithu Sei, Nendikitten - Star, Ale Ale - Boys, Oru Ooril - Khakka Khakka and many more. (I have purposely left out many immensely popular ones just to reduce the length of the blog).
Among the classical singers who've made their presence felt in film music, it is an undeniable fact that Bombay Jayshree is one singer, who made justice to her unconventional voice (for movies). Though Vaseegara - Minnale shot her to fame, it was Narumughaiye - Iruvar which was her first film-song and it will be remembered as a evergreen classic by music enthusiasts. In her not-so-extensive discography, she has had numbers like Uyire En Uyire - Totti Jeya, Ondra Renda - Khakka Khakka, Suttum vizhi - Ghajini, Paartha Mudhal - Vettaiyadu Vilayadu, Uppu Kallu - Karupasamy Kuthagaidhaarar (my personal favorite), Yaaro manadhile - Dhaam Dhoom, Minnalgal Koothadum - Polladhavan, Thithithidave - Janaa etc. With her really unique voice, I am sure she has a fan following in Hindi, thanks to her only song - Zara Zara (Vaseegara in Hindi).
Shreya Ghoshal with her wafer-thin yet divine voice is one of the great discoveries in this decade. Her Jaadoo Hai Nasha Hai - Jism, made a otherwise normal song (due respect to the sultry Bips and John), an instant hit and made the careers of the two stars in the song along with Shreya's (though she sung in Devdas earlier). She has been a regular in the Kannada films with her excellent diction in Araluthiru and Ivanu gelayanalla in Mungaru Male and Male Ninthu - Milana. In Tamil, she has been successful as well and pretty decent in her diction. And she does sound good with Sonu Nigam, who could probably be the next singer-jodi.
Just that Sonu Nigam thinks he has sung enough and is not singing too many songs these days. He is a classic singer too with many songs including the unforgettable title track of Kal Ho Na Ho.
Among the other popular singers, I have like the following singers at one point of time or the other.
Kay Kay - Alvida (Life in a Metro), Pani Thuli (Kanda Naal Mudhal), Khuda Jaane - Bachna Ae Haseeno.
Sujata Bhattacharya aka Madhushree - Tehzeeb ghazals, Sandai Kozhi/Kabhi Neem Neem - Aayitha Ezhuthu/Yuva, Tumhen Aaj Maine Jo Dekha - Kuchh Naa Kaho, Marudhaani - Sakkarakatti, In Lamhon Ke Daaman - Jodhaa Akbar.
Harini - Nila Kaigrathu - Indira, Sudum Nilavu - Thambi, Theekuruvi - Kangalal Kaithu Sei, Enakena Yerkanavey - Parthen Rasithen.
Mahalakshmi Iyer - Bol Na Halke - JBJ, Kandukonden title track, Yaaro Yarodi - Alaipayuthey, Velli Malare - Jodi.
With due respect to S.P.Balasubramanyam, S. Janaki, K.S.Chitra, K.J.Yesudas, Alka Yagnik, Kavitha Krishnamurthy, Udit Narayan who have sung innumerable songs, it was a kind of monopoly with these singers in till the early 1990's. These singers have had their gems in the past and in current times as well. But, it is just the fact that they had far more opportunities than the current singers to showcase their talents.
Thanks to the numerous reality shows and talent hunts, there are new singers introduced in every movie. It's just that not everyone sustains for a long time. Among the recent singers the following captured by attention greatly. I might have just heard one of their songs ;)
Benny Dayal - A singer who was brought out best in Sakkarakatti, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na by A.R.Rahman with songs like Chinnamma, Taxi Taxi, Pappu Can't Dance, Nazren Milaana
Naresh Iyer - The guy who didn't win the Indian Idol but won the Indian hearts with Roobaroo - Rang De Basanti.
Sowmya Raoh - The voice that made Shauk Hai from Guru sound so special
Krish - An Harris Jayaraj import who sounded great with Bombay Jayshree in Yaaro manadhile -Dhaam Dhoom, Minnalgal Koothadum - Polladhavan.
Javed Ali - Arziyan - Delhi 6, Jash-ne-Bahaara - Jodhaa Akbar.
Saindhavi - Kelamal Kaiyile - Azhagiya Tamil Magan, Andankakka - Anniyan
For those who might doubt my music sense/appreciation skills (:P), this is in no way, a comprehensive list of my most-liked singers. It is probably a subset of that :)