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The emergence of singers in Bombay, Madras, and other film industries of India as musical models to be admired and remembered coincided with the ascendancy of film songs as the dominant mode of entertainment. In the 1950s, many South Indian film songs belonged to playback singers such as R. Balasaraswati Devi, K. Jamuna Rani, Jikki Krishnaveni, P. Leela, and the singing actress P. Bhanumati, whose popularity and stardom flourished and remained independent of the "Bombay influence" and its specific vocal endorsements.
Based on personal interviews with the singers, extensive archival research on film practices, and close textual analysis, this work fills a gap in the history of Indian cinema by presenting a compelling account of the ways in which playback stardom developed under specific socio-cultural conditions and was closely connected with ideas of respectability, art, and artistic talent. An important work on early cinema and unfamiliar song-production practices, Her Majestic Voice chronicles a hitherto untold history of struggles, artistry, and rise to fame while analysing the historical role of playback singers in south India between 1945 and 1955. Indian (Telugu) Cinema who have been widely heard in specific regions of India. Despite their indispensable contribution to popular cinema, their histories have ironically remained uncharted in the written records of Indian cinema. This book aims to fill the gap by providing an empathetic view of a few of them, elaborating upon their life and work.
Kiranmayi Indraganti currently teaches film at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. She has been an independent filmmaker for over 15 years and has made 12 documentaries on social and development issues. She holds a Ph.D. in Film Studies from the University of Nottingham, an M.F.A. from York University, and an M.A. from the University of Madras.