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Your heart will really 'thullum' when you hear the old song 'Thulladha Manamum Thullum…' (film - Kalyana Parisu). The singer who gave life to this song with her beautiful voice is no more. 'Jikki' - as she was popularly known - died of liver cancer recently in Chennai.

By the way, Jikki's real name was P G Krishnaveni.

Jikki has sung nearly 10,000 songs in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Sinhala language during her career spanning over five decades.

Born to Gajapathi Naidu and Rajakanthamma at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, she started her film career as a child artiste at the age of seven in the Telugu movie 'Pandallama'. Her role was that of a little learning a song from the heroine. She switched over to actual singing at the age of 16.

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Music ran in Jikki's blood. Her uncle Devaraja Naidu was an assistant with famous Kannada music director Gubbi Veeranna.

In 1946, she once again hit the silver screen with the movie 'Mangalasutram', the remake of an English movie called 'Excuse Me'. She slowly started penetrating the Tamil film industry. In 1948, she got a chance to sing for the Tamil movie 'Gnanasoundari'. This was the turning point in her life. Jikki sang for the heroine, when she was young, and was played by Baby Rajamani, the song 'Arultharum Devamatha', which was a big hit: This changed actress Jikki into playback singer Jikki.

There was no stopping her after this. She got several chances to sing playback in all southern languages. She has sung many songs with P Leela, another famous playback singer of yesteryear. The song which they sang together and nobody can forget is 'Kannum Kannum Kalandu Sondham Kondaduthey' in the Gemini-starrer 'Vanji Kottai Valiban'.

Another turning point in Jikki's life was her marriage to playback singer and music director A M Raja. A M Raja-Jikki duets have been super-duper hits. The Tamil movie 'Then Nilavu' was a big hit also because of these two all-time great singers.

Jikki has also sung many songs in her husband's music direction - songs that still play in radio stations.

A mother of six children, Jikki lost her husband in a train mishap. He slipped and fell between the tracks while boarding a train even as Jikki sat inside and watched helplessly. This was one incident that she could never forget.

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After her husband's death Jikki stopped singing for sometime. Then she came out of her retirement and sang for Ilayaraja. She also started a music troupe with her two daughters and performed in many countries.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had granted Jikki of Rs 1 lakh from the Dr MGR Trust after hearing about her illness and her difficulty to meet the treatment expenses.

The singer with whom she had "sariyana potti" - P Leela - turned very emotional on learning about Jikki's death. She said though they were contemporaries there was no carping. They were like "sisters". Leela stayed in touch with Jikki till her death.

It is only the physical frame of Jikki that has left the world. We have captured her very breath, her sweet music, in so many records, cassettes and discs. Jikki's songs will "inba thenium vellum".

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Translated By N Arun Kumar

Published on 30th Aug, 2004

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