SP Balasubrahmanyam soulful voice captured hearts of millions

SP Balasubrahmanyam soulful voice captured hearts of millions

SP Balasubrahmanyam

Nonika Singh
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 25

Sometime all you can do is pray. So for nearly two months, his admirers prayed for his recovery, but Covid-19 finally consumed the versatile singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, also lovingly called Balu or SPB, on Friday.

Singers come and go... but Balasubrahmanyam was not just a phenomenon but an institution unto himself. With more than 40,000 songs under his belt, his discography runs like a book of records. A powerhouse in the South with a host of achievements, the rest of India woke up to his voice in 1981 with Kamal Haasan-starrer Ek Duuje Ke Liye. He won the National Award for best male playback singer for the song Tere mere beech main.

Music composer Laxmikant may have been hesitant about signing him for Ek Duuje Ke Liye, but later Bollywood welcomed him more than once. If in Tamil film industry his partnership with music maestro Ilaiyaraaja firmed up his position, in Hindi film industry he became the voice of Salman Khan. With duets like Didi tera devar deewana, his popularity soared. For someone who knew AR Rahman as a toddler, he went on to sing in his film Roja too.

Born on June 4, 1946, at Konetampet in Tamil Nadu, he inherited musical talent from his father SP Sambamurthy, an exponent of ‘Harikatha’. Besides six National Awards, he received honours such as Padma Bhushan. Best known for lending an emotional feel to songs, he elevated even regular numbers to another level.

The felicity for languages came naturally to him — he sang in over a dozen languages. Believing that every singer is an actor, Balu also played character roles in 45 films.

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