Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
I don’t think that music has any boundaries, and yet, I’ll hazard the risk of saying that yes, there are plenty of extremely gifted singers in south Indian film industry as well. I am not very sure about the musical prowess of singers in other regional film industries, and so I’d like to stick to what I have knowledge about.
South Indian singers are mostly trained in classical Carnatic music before they enter into singing as a profession. Anyone who has studied classical music would know the difference between the Hindustani school of music and the Carnatic school of music. Both are Indian, and yet strikingly different. To be a playback singer in any south Indian film industry, a strong professional training background is a near-must. This is because most music composers in the south Indian film industry are experts at composing some of the most difficult tunes and it requires exceptional talent to be able to sing them to perfection.
This is also why only Shreya Ghoshal was able to create a niche for herself in south Indian music industry. She has gone on record to say that her best songs are in Malayalam.
Music director Sharreth is notorious for creating some of the most difficult songs ever. Most singers shy away from singing for him. It’s only the experts who can handle his compositions. Look at this one for instance…
Anybody who knows anything about music will understand how tough it would be to sing this composition.
Most south Indian songs are heavily based on Carnatic ragas and unless the singer has a thorough knowledge about them, he’ll soon find himself out of work.
One song worth sharing is this masterpiece from the Malayalam movie ‘His Highness Abdullah’ by K.J.Yesudas, Raveendran and Sharreth himself. This is a musical jugalbandi between Hindustani & Carnatic music and is an audio-visual treat…
The south Indian film industry takes its music very seriously and the singers are considered to be incarnations of Gandharvas (celestial musicians) on earth. That is the kind of elevated position they are given. Some of the musical maestros from south India…
Dr. K. J. Yesudas
S. P. Balasubramaniam
K. S. Chitra
And a few of the newer crop of singers…
Ranjith K. G.
I could actually go on and on. But you get the drift 🙂