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Thursday, October 1, 2020

sad .. .. .. legendary singer - affable SPB is no more !!


వేదం అణువణువున నాదం   //  నా పంచప్రాణాల నాట్యవినోదం

నాలో రేగేనెన్నో హంసానంది రాగాలై  // వేదం వేదం అణువణువున నాదం ఆ...


The man who breathed music and made everyone breathe music, the legend, the man loved by everybody, hated by none – SPB is no more, very sad to know. His voice, the giggles in between and the mastery over pronunciation be it Carnatic, devotional or romantic mesmerized more than a couple of generations.  Those of us in our 50s or slightly over were fortunate enough to grow listening to his voice and the music of Illayaraja. 

மடை திறந்து தாவும் நதி அலை நான்

மனம் திறந்து கூவும் சிறு குயில் நான்

இசைக் கலைஞன் என் ஆசைகள் ஆயிரம்

நினைத்தது பலித்தது !!! ...


~ in all probability, he lived a happy, complete life, loving everyone and being loved by all.  When he acted (in many films) – the father role he did in Kadhalan to Prabhu Deva made people yearn for a father like him. 

In early 1990s, in the municipal grounds of Kakinada, East Godavari District – a programme had been organized for a singer who sang in the famous Maya Bazaar.  SPB was one among the stars – as he arrived, the crowd of 5000 odd people went raptures.  As he went on to the podium – he humbly bowed to the Senior person and stood by him.  By then the crowds was getting uncontrollable.  A local person, climbed the podium put a big garland and gave a few Rupee notes to SPB.

SPB walked some steady steps, requested the compere to give him the mike and spake thus.  First forgive me ! – when the meeting is organized for honouring an elderly person, all credit / all importance must be showered on him and him only. I feel embarrassed and have to tell you how wrong it is to honour me instead of him.  Requesting everyone else not to come up and garland him, he prostrated at the feet of the elderly person.

SPB was a glamourous big star at that time – and he gave us all an object lesson in humility and being right all the time.  Affable genius he was !!

Read from the post of my friend Chitralaya Sriram that SPB’s first recorded song was from the film, Shanthi Nilayam produced by Gemini Vasan, scriptwork of legend Chitralaya Gopu (trivia - Englishman Marcus Baatley was the cameraman). Perhaps his first chance was in the film - Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, released in 1967, produced by comedian B. Padmanabham and directed by K. Hemambharadhara Rao.


Very sad to know of the passing away of affable Padu Nila Balu.  Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (4 June 1946 – 25 September 2020), sang in every language,  predominantly in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, and Malayalam films. He sang over 40,000 songs in 16 Indian languages.  He garnered six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his works in four different languages; Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi; 25 Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards for his works towards Telugu cinema, and numerous other state awards from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu during his lifetime.   He was a recipient of the Padma Shri (2001) and Padma Bhushan (2011) from the Government of India.

Balu garu   was born in Nellore Madras Presidency; his  father, late S. P. Sambamurthy, was a Harikatha artist who had also acted in plays.   He enrolled at JNTU College of Engineering Anantapur with the intention of becoming an engineer but  discontinued his studies early due to typhoid and joined as an Associate Member of the Institution of Engineers, Chennai.

His voice ensured romance and collection for many heroes at the same time ensuring great success of the Carnatic music film Sankarabharanam, directed by K Viswanath.  He was a successful dubbing artiste too.     He also dubbed for Ben Kingsley in the Telugu-dubbed version of Gandhi.

Sad in his passing away.  Om Shanthi – his voice will keep lingering for ever. 

With sadness – S. Sampathkumar


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