Sujatha is a sister and friend: Interview with G Venugopal

Venugopal began his remarkable musical hourney by singing at musical shows along with Sujatha.

Her stage debut was with KJ Yesudas as Baby Sujatha and today she turns 59. This little nightingale had the fortune to be part of over 2000 stage shows featuring KJ Yesudas. It was in 1975 that she made her debut as a playback singer in ‘Tourist Bungalow’, with the song, ‘Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu.’ Coincidentally G Venugopal who is a close relative had also started singing at musical shows along with Sujatha. He has watched her grow as a successful playback singer from close quarters and has also sung in several films with her. ‘Pallitherundo,’ ‘Chellacherukatte chembakapoonkatte,’ ‘Mizhiyil nin mizhikalil’ are some of their chartbusters. G Venugopal shares his memories with his favourite Sujatha.

The song we sang together

We are close relatives. And our families are very close. Sujatha didn’t often get time to be part of family functions. At that time, she was busy with musical shows, sharing the stage with Dasettan. We started attending stage shows together when we grew up. On September 28, 1991, at the Fine arts hall, Sujatha hosted my musical show in which Urvashi was the Chief Guest. My son was born on that day.

Our Ganamela

She was already a famous singer as a child. Whenever she attended Ganamela with Dasettan at Thiruvanthapuram, she would come to our house. I remember tagging along with Suju’s mother Devi chechi and Suju to meet Dasettan. These are some of my beautiful childhood memories. I had also started singing by then. There was a musical show by both of us for one of our relative’s wedding at Thiruvananthapuram’s Priyadarshini hall. That was the first time I was singing accompanied by an orchestra. Then I was in 7th grade and Suju was in 5th grade. That was also the first time I was meeting MG Radhakrishnan and his wife, Padmaja.

The songs we sang together

We have sung together for several films and stage shows. And most of them were composed by Johnson master. ‘Swargangal swapnam’, ‘Pallitherundo,’ ‘Chellacherukatte Chembakapoongakke’, ‘Mizhiyil ninnum mizhikalil’, ‘Nee Januaryil viriyumo,’ etc were some of the hit songs.

Our bond was solid

We are very close to each other. She is a sister and friend. Though we might not be able to meet very frequently, we do make it a point to call and catch up on each other’s life. After Covid, we haven’t been able to meet up frequently. Last time we met at a wedding.

The second coming

When she took a break from her career, I used to frequent her house. For Chennai musical shows, I would stay at their house. She would always tell me how much she missed singing and wants to make a comeback. I also kept reminding her to come back to the mainstream and not waste her talent. During her comeback she became even more successful, making inroads into Tamil and Malayalam film music scenes equally.

A kindhearted woman

She is extremely hardworking and a very kind and positive soul. Someone who wishes only good to happen to others. She is always cheerful, spreads happiness around her, and is equally a kindhearted person at heart.

Her songs bring us so much happiness

We are delighted to see our children (Shwetha Mohan and Aravind) follow in our footsteps. While Shwetha is a trained singer, Aravind isn’t. He has learned to play the piano. He has learned filmmaking and has assisted Vineeth Sreenivasan in ‘Hridayam.’ He is passionate about cinema. Even as a child, he used to sing well. For both Suju and me, it is always a matter of pride to see our children singing.

Birthday sweet

Since we live in different cities, we haven’t really been able to meet up during birthdays. But I was able to be part of her 50th birthday celebrations organised by Mazhavil Manorama.

Best wishes, always

I pray to God that Suju always remains this happy, positive, and cheerful in life. I take this opportunity to wish my dearest Suju happiness, peace and good health. 

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