Pulapaka Susheela is a five-time National award winning playback singer. Her career in music spread out over several decades years and she has sung songs in many languages including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, Sanskrit, Oriya, Sinhalese and Tulu. She was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2008.
P. Susheela was born in Vizianagaram, in present day Andhra Pradesh, in a music-loving family. She started learning Carnatic music at an early age and continued her education in music at the Maharaja Government College Of Music And Dance, Vizianagaram.
After singing a few songs for All India Radio, Susheela got her big break when she was asked to sing her first film song "Edhukku Azhaithai" for the Tamil film "Petra Thai" (1952). She then joined AVM Studios as a singer on a fixed salary.
P. Susheela's rise was rapid and she quickly became the leading female singer in South Indian films during the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, with the rise of S. Janaki, Vani Jayaram and later K.S. Chitra, Susheela withdrew from film music and started recording devotional and light classical songs.