Legendary playback singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam — SPB to his legions of fans — was laid to rest with a police gun salute on Saturday morning, amidst an outpouring of grief from fans across the world and his peers in the world of films.
The City Armed Reserve Police Personnel gave a gun salute with 24 personnel firing three rounds each in the air before his body was lowered in the pit at his farmhouse in Tamaraipakkam on the outskirts of Chennai.
The singer had died on Friday afternoon at a private hospital in the city, where he was admitted on August 5 after testing positive for COVID-19. While his body was initially brought to his residence in Nungambakkam, they later shifted it to his farm house in Tamaraipakkam near Redhills and placed in a cold glass panelled casket.
From Saturday morning, there was a steady stream of his fans, who came there to pay their last respects.
The Package: S.P. Balasubrahmanyam (1946 - 2020)
Among the members of the Tamil film industry who came to pay their respects were playback singer Mano; directors Bharathiraaja and Ameer; actors Vijay and Arjun; and music composer Devi Sri Prasad. Minister for Tamil Official Language and Culture Ma Foi K. Pandiarajan placed a wreath on the body. Many local local politicians also paid their respects.
Andhra Pradesh Water Resources Minister P. Anilkumar; Kerala NRK Development Officer in Chennai Anu P. Chacko on behalf of the Kerala Chief Minister; and Tiruvallur District Collector Mageshwari Ravikumar were among those who paid floral tributes.
The police made elaborate arrangements to ensure physical distancing norms were maintained. Over 1,000 police personnel from the Chennai city police and Tiruvallur district police were deployed at the burial site. Wooden barricades were set up to regulate the visitors, and the police allowed only 150 persons at regular intervals from the morning.
At around 10.20 a.m., family members led by son S.P. Charan began to perform the last rites.
From Friday afternoon, fans shared their memories on social media, including songs he had sung across languages and reminiscences of his live performances. Over the last decade, SPB had been active on reality shows as well, and several videos of his praising and encouraging young contestants were shared by fans.