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Late Sri Tanguturi Surya Kumari

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Biography

Surya Kumari (Telugu: టంగుటూరి సూర్యకుమారి) (Tangutoori Suryakumari) (born 13 November 1925 in Rajamundry, India died 25 April 2005) was a singer, actor and dancer.

Born in Rajamundry, in south India, of Brahmin parents, Surya became a freedom fighter, or more accurately a freedom singer, while still a schoolgirl.

Sankarambadi Sundarachari’s ‘Maa Telugu Talliki Mallepoodanda’ song is familiar to everyone. Tanguturi Suyakumari who sang it with great appeal in her mellifluous voice, has many records to her credit. She is the niece of ‘Andhra Kesari’ Tanguturi Prakasham Pantulu.

Accompanied by her uncle, Tangutoori Prakasam (known as the Lion for his defiance of British troops during the struggle for Indian independence), she sang patriotic songs which became more popular, and proved even more of a draw, than the speeches of politicians.

As a Child Artist:
She was a film star at the age of 12, when a special part was written into the film Vipranarayana (1937) to accommodate her singing talents. Record companies came forward to record her voice, and at a time when gramophones were not yet common, her songs could be heard everywhere. Patrons in restaurants and outdoor cafes would pay extra if their meal was accompanied by Surya’s songs, and passing traffic would stop until a song had finished.

Maa Telugu Talliki….
Her presence was a major attraction at meetings of the Indian National Congress, and her recordings reached rural areas unvisited by politicians. Even today, her most famous song, Maa Telugu Thalli (in praise of her mother tongue), is sung at the start of social functions in her home state of Andhra.

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