S.P. Balasubrahmanyam (1946 - 2020)

Ilayaraja, Rajini, Kamal inconsolable over SPB's demise

Ever a show-stopper: S.P. Balasubramahmanyam and Kalpana at a show in Chennai in 2010.  

Music maestro Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja said there was no limit to his grief, following the death of singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam on Friday.

“Sometime ago I said please get up and come soon, I'm waiting for you. You didn't listen to me. You are gone. Where have you gone?” said the composer, addressing the singer in an emotional video message. When the singer’s health deteriorated earlier in August, Ilaiyaraaja had shared a message urging him to recover soon.

“Have you gone to sing in the heavens? I don't understand the world any more. I don't have any words to say. I don't know what to say,” the veteran music director said.

 

Some of SPB’s greatest hits over the last five decades have been songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja and several songs by the duo have enthralled fans over decades. Among the hits are several memorable songs for the Tamil film industry’s super stars, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.

 

“There will be no person in India who is not a fan of SPB and his singing. Those who know him (personally)…they loved him even more for his humanity apart from his singing and his voice. SPB treated everyone, whether old or young with respect, dignity and love,” Mr. Rajinikanth said in an emotional tribute.

The actor, for whom the late singer sang the 'hero introduction songs’ in many of his movies, said SPB was unique among the many legendary singers in the Indian film industry. “The Indian film industry has created a lot of great singers - Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Ghantasala, T.M. Soundararajan. They all sang songs in one language that they knew. But SPB sang in many languages,” he said.

Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam president Kamal Haasan said SPB maintained an equipoise when subjected to criticism or applause.

“He admired talent and he thought it was not his position to ridicule or talk about lesser music. He would not revel in the mediocrity of others,” Mr. Haasan said, adding, “He was a very busy singer. He had a set aside certain days for certain languages. He kept his second Sundays free for Kannada songs. He recorded 12 songs in a day because producers were waiting. If Covid-19 had not hit him, he would have sung more.”

He said the veteran singer was his ‘biggest public relations man’. “Even when I was not a star, he was proud of me. I now miss my greatest public relations man. He was someone who would cry if someone praises me,” Mr Haasan said, speaking about the relationship they shared.

“He has dubbed for me in over 150 films. People used to get confused as to who was speaking. He would speak almost like me (in dubbed Telugu version),” he recalled.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 12:40:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ilayaraja-rajini-kamal-inconsolable/article32699059.ece

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