|Birth name||Nagoor Babu|
Sattenapalli, Andhra Pradesh, India
|Genres||playback singing, carnatic music|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, actor, producer, voice dubbing,|
|Years active||1984 – Present|
Nagoor Babu, known by his stage name Mano, is an Indian playback singer, voice-over artist, actor, producer, television anchor and music composer. He is a recipient of several awards such as the Nandi Awards from the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Kalaimamani award from the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Mano has recorded more than 30,000 songs for various Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Oriya and Bollywood films. He has also performed for over 3000 live concerts across the continents. Notably, he has recorded 2,000 songs for music director Ilayaraja.
Early life and background
Mano was born as Nagoor Babu in Sattenapalli, Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh state. His father Rasool, was a musician in the All India Radio, Vijayawada division and his mother Shaheeda, was a popular Stage actress. Inspired heavily by his mother, Mano joined the stage theater and played many historical characters which also involved singing live songs in his own voice. He soon started taking formal training of carnatic classical music under the vocalist Nedunuri Krishnamurthy. Subsequently, he started his film acting career in the late 1970s and acted in about 40 movies as child artist. He featured as a supporting character in films such as Rangoon Rowdy.
Mano has sung almost 30,000 songs in 15 languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.Mano sung almost 30,000 Devotional songs.
Early days and debut
While in 1979, Mano was shooting for a Telugu film for which the veteran M. S. Viswanathan was the music composer, it so happened that the original singer S. P. Balasubramanyam who was supposed to sing a song could not show up to the recording studio. Accidentally, Mano was asked to show his singing skills by the composer's assistant who was a good friend of Mano's father. Mano rendered a few of the Ghazal songs much to the appreciation of audience present there and the composer himself. From then on, Mano was signed by Viswanathan to sing few track songs upon which the main singer would sing in the final version. In 1982, Mano approached the famous composer Chakravarthy seeking a chance for his brother who was upcoming as a Tabla player. However, Chakravarthy insisted that he wanted an assistant like him to sing track songs. Mano, joined his troop and assisted for almost 2 years. In his tenure with Chakravarthy, Mano sang over 2000 tracks for almost all the leading singers.
Mano recorded his debut original song in 1984, for the Telugu film Karpoora Deepam. He was one among the 3 singers that also included S. P. Balasubramanyam and P. Susheela. He sang in a 1985 released Kannada film for musician Hamsalekha. Later he made his debut in Tamil films under Maestro Ilaiyaraaja in 1987 for the film Poovizhi Vasalile.
Name change and association with Ilaiyaraaja
Before beginning his long standing career with Ilaiyaraaja, Nagoor Babu was rechristened as "Mano" to avoid clash of names with the already established singer Nagore E. M. Hanifa. The name was selected and christened by Ilaiyaraaja himself. Mano went on to record many memorable songs under the same composer for his Tamil and Telugu films. In 1987, Mano got a big break by singing popular songs for the film Enga Ooru Pattukkaran. The songs "Shenbagame Shenbagame" and "Madhura Marikozhundu Vasam" became instant hits among the listeners. However he also faced criticism from the critics who dubbed that his voice was an absolute clone to S. P. Balasubramanyam. Taking the criticism in his stride, Mano went on recording as many as 500 successful songs with Ilaiyaraaja and slowly branched out to sing for other Tamil composers as well. He recorded maximum number of duet songs with K. S. Chithra, Swarnalatha and S. Janaki. He simultaneously sang many hundreds of songs in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries. His teaming up with Hamsalekha in Kannada produced many chart buster numbers which are considered evergreen. His few Malayalam, Hindi and Oriya songs also were well received.
Voice modulation and its success
The early 1990s saw Mano experimenting with his voice through some modulations and it indeed worked in his favor to silence his critics. In 1994, he was approached by A. R. Rahman to sing a duet song "Mukkabla" with Swarnalatha for the movie Kadhalan. Mano was asked to sing in a very different style by the composer and he recorded his voice which was inspired by R. D. Burman's voice in "Mehbooba Mehbooba" song. The song went on to become a huge blockbuster which broke all the regional barriers and reached out to the entire country. He recorded the same song in the Telugu and Hindi versions which also were well received. Following this stupendous success in experimentation, many music directors cashed in his newfound fame and made him sing in the same style. Some of the songs he modulated his voice for are "Aye Shabba Aye Shabba" for Vidyasagar's Karna, "I Love You" and "Azhagiya Laila" for Sirpy's Ullathai Allitha and "Thillana Thillana" for Rahman's Muthu. He has also done a few semi-classical numbers such as Athma Varaiyo. He has also sung a few Hindi film songs for Gulshan Kumar in Aaya Sanam, Aaja Meri Jaan, Kasam Theri Kasam, and Chor Aur Chand.
The 2000s also saw another face of Mano as the voice-over dubbing artist in the Telugu film industry. He dubbed his voice for almost all Rajinikanth starrers in Telugu. His voice became almost synonymous with Rajinikanth and was in great demand by all the directors and producers.He also dubbed his voice for Kamal Hassan in some movies in Telugu.
Music composing and producing
Mano has worked as a music composer for the 2008 released Telugu film Sombheri. He got good response for his compositions. He also tried his hands on producing the Tamil dubbed film Mahaa Muduru in 2010 starring Vijay and Shriya Saran in the lead roles. The film, however flopped at the box-office. He also produced two movies dubbed from Telugu to Tamil Madurai Thimiru and Kumaran Rajini Rasigan under the studio name, "Lord Venkateshwara Productions" and "Mano Media Entertainments" respectively.
Mano is hosting Manathodu Mano - a musical talk show in Jaya TV. He is also one of the permanent judging panel for Vijay TV's musical reality show Airtel Super Singer Junior along with Chitra and Malgudi Subha. He also co-judges the musical show Idea Super Singer on Maa TV.
He also hosts for a Telugu show name 'pillalu piddugulu' which telecasts in Gemini tv and 'Kevu keka' which is a comdey show with a co-star name Suma Kanakala and it is telecast in MAA TV. He also played Rashi Khanna's father in Shivam Telugu movie starring Ram Pothineni.
Mano is married to Jameela. They have three children, Shakir and Rafi and a daughter. They both have made their debut in singing for the movie Kumaran Rajini Rasigan.The elder son Shakir is being introduced as a lead actor in couple of Tamil films. Mano loves listening to ghazals by Mehdi Hassan and Ghulam Ali.
- Mano received the prestigious "Kalaimaamani" Award from the Government of Tamil Nadu also State Award of Tamil Nadu for the song "Thuliyela" from Chinna Thambi.
- 1991 - Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Male Playback - For Various films.
- 1997 - Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Telugu - Ruku Ruku Rukmini - Pelli
- He has also been awarded by many popular cultural associations in India.
- He received the Gold Bracelet and "Gana Samrat" from APNA foundation Atlanta, USA on April 14, 2008
- He got Dr.Ghantasala award from Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh