P.B. Srinivoss who made his playback debut with the Malayalam film ‘Haishchandra’ in 1955, will be missed by many. Here are some tributes paid by his friends and colleagues.
P. SUSEELA: In 1952, I got to meet him. He would visit me daily to teach me Urdu so that I could sing in Hindi films but fate willed it otherwise. In 1953, PBS ensured that I sang Hindi bhajans along with him for Delhi AIR, then helmed by Emani Shankar Sastri. I also sang Meera bhajans composed by him for HMV Colombia. As for his songs, my personal favourite would be ‘Roja Malarae Rajakumari’ which I sang with him. Even recently, when I met him at a function, he wrote a poem on the spot about me and gave it to me. On the way to Woodlands, he would stop at my place to give me freshly prepared sweets.
Throughout his life, PBS never asked anyone for any favour for himself. I humbly appeal to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to institute an award in his name. It will be the best tribute to him.
VANI JAIRAM: I am an ardent fan of his, and have always admired his style of singing and his voice. He was a wonderful human being and a great artist. I sang a duet with him in the Rajkumar-starring Kannada film ‘Yeradu Kanasu.’ I also sang ‘Oruparvai Podhum’ with him for the Vaali-directed Tamil film ‘Vadai Malai.’ Although I like all his songs, my PBS favourites include ‘Nilavae Ennidam Nerungathae,’ ‘Mayakkama Kalakkama,’ ‘Manithan Yenbhavan’ and ‘Ninaipadhellam Nadandhuvittal.’ When I met him recently this past month, he was wheel-chair bound, but his spirit was still in tact.
K.S. CHITRA: SPB sir was planning a grand function to honour PBS sir on April 22. It’s sad he did not live to see it. Just a month ago, we were together as judges for a talent show on Zee Tamil. He was all praise for the young participants. He had presented me with a poem, where the the first letter of each line put together reads ‘Chinnakuyil Chitra.’ My first Hindi song for film ‘Kushi Aur Kushi’ had lyrics by PBS as did the the hit number on Lord Krishna, ‘Yasodha Ninna Thanaya.’ He loved my song ‘Kannalanae’ and especially the way I pronounced the word ‘konjam.’ He had a romantic voice. What’s more, he was a good human being and a knowledgeable poet. Incidentally, he died on Vishu, the same day I lost my daughter.
P. JAYACHANDRAN: PBS used to call me only ‘Laddu.’ Even 15 days ago, when I met him for T.M. Sundararajan’s 93rd birthday celebrations, he fondly addressed me as ‘laddu.’ My favourite PBS numbers include ‘Innakuyilae,’ ‘Nilavae Ennidam Nerungathae,’ ‘Udalukku Uyir Kaval’ and ‘Naalaam Naalaam Thirunaalaam’ with P. Suseela. He could write poems in 14 languages. We used to meet regularly at the Drive-in Woodlands and talk about anything and everything under the Sun. I shall miss him a lot.
K.S. SETHUMADHAVAN: PBS had sung for several of the Malayalam films which I directed such as ‘Gnyaana Sundari’, ‘Suseela,’ ‘Kottayam Kolai Case’ and ‘Achanum Baapayum.’ The song ‘Oru Jaadhiyum Oru Madhamum’ from the last mentioned film, on national integration, was a huge hit. This past year, I had the opportunity of travelling with him to Cochin wherein we were honoured by Jaycee Kuttikadu. I had a wonderful time with him.
S.P. SAILAJA: I sang a number of Hindi, Tamil and Telugu songs with him. He was a family friend and always there for us. He would be the first to appreciate goodness in people would bless everybody. I feel blessed that that I got the chance to sing with him.
LAXMAN SRUTHI: PBS was one of those people who always had encouraging words and positive things to say to everybody. Sogs such as ‘Unakkum Keezhae Ullavar Kodi’ and ‘Ninaippadhellam Nadandhuvittal’ will life anyone out of depression. At a programme, held a couple of days ago at the Cosmopolitan Club, we dedicated the last half hour to PBS songs.
SUDHARANI RAGHUPATHI: PBS was a sincere and down to earth person. I interacted with him closely when he was the president of the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram. A charming personality, he was calm and always had a word of praise for one and all. PBS, with his trademark turban and his endearing smile, will be sorely missed.
V.P DHANANJAYAN: Simple, soul of humility and humanness, PBS was a friend of all, irrespective of high or low. Being a multilingual poet, woodlands (Nature) was his preferred choice, whether the Drive-in Woodlands or Hotel Woodlands or Narada Gana Sabha Woodlands. He was truly an inspiring personality with his ubiquitous turban. He made every one feel special. Whenever we met him at his favourite Woodlands, he would share some of his special songs and sangatis with my wife Shanta, who would sing them. No one could match his expression and even the composer would never known how PBS would create and innovate on the spot while recording. Whenever he was asked to preside over an event, he would come prepared with a poem either in English or the local language, and read it out at the end. It would be a fitting tribute to PBS if someone could collect those poems and publish them. Such a warm person, PBS will be remembered not only by film fans but connoisseurs of the arts.