An unsung genius

SPB recalls his association with P.B. Srinivos

Published - September 23, 2010 04:23 pm IST



S.P. Balasubrahmanyam reminisces about P.B. Srinivos, his interactions with the veteran and the singer's simplicity and virtues:

“I had the privilege of singing his songs on stage during my college days. The first recording I saw was a duet by PBS and P. Suseela for composer Master Venu at Sarada Studios. It was for a Telugu film, ‘Preminchi Choodu,' a remake of ‘Kadhalikka Naeramillai.' Those were the days when I used to regularly visit music directors for an opportunity to sing. Mr. Venu took me along with him for the recording. I remember the song was ‘Vennela Reyi…' ('Naalaam Naalaam Thirunaalaam' in Tamil).”

The first song

“The first song that I sang for an audition - when I met M.S. Viswanathan - was a PBS rendition, ‘Nilave Ennidam Nerungadhe.' Even today, if PBS happens to be attending one of my concerts he asks me to sing this song, which I improvise a lot while singing and that makes him extremely happy.”

“He never forgets to call me or send me a letter of praise, whenever he watches the films in which I have acted. He always asks me, ‘When are you directing a film. You should do that soon. I know you will succeed.' Whenever I was asked to sing an invocation song, he used to write to me and give me some multi-lingual verses (in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Sanskrit, English and Urdu).”

“Once in Hyderabad, at an Indo-Pakistan cultural seminar, when I sang his Urdu couplet, the Pakistani delegates were astonished by the poetic beauty of his verses. They even took a copy of the lyrics from me as a souvenir. He has written poetry (some 2 lakh songs) in eight languages or more. He created a new ‘Padhya Chandassu' in Telugu poetry.”

“I never heard a bad comment from him about anybody. You can see him at any cultural show in South Chennai. He doesn't need an invitation. He attends the show just like any other rasika, appreciates the artist and leaves. He was the voice for Kannada matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar and till today, his songs are the best in Kannada.

“Well, these are some of the virtues of the great person. Did he get the recognition he deserves? No. No Government (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu or the central Government) has recognised his services in the field of music, properly. At least the Tamil Nadu Government has bestowed the ‘Kalaimamani' award. No university from these three States has given him a doctorate either. Does it matter? Yes, it does to millions of bhakthas of PBS like me, though not for him.

Long live PBS and his legacy.”

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