SPB: The voice of heroes goes silent

SPB: The voice of heroes goes silent

Chennai: S P Balasubrahmanyam or popularly SPB, the playback singer, as well as the voice over of popular heroes of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi movies went silent on Friday.
The coronavirus attacked his lungs and permanently silenced the singer who had sung over 40,000 songs in 16 languages over a career spanning five decades. On August 5, in a Facebook post, the 74-year old SPB had said that he was suffering from a very mild attack of coronavirus and had got himself hospitalised to take rest.
He had said that though the doctors had advised him to stay at home and take rest, he decided to be in a hospital, as at home his family members would get concerned. He hoped to get discharged from the hospital in two days. But it was not to be.
The man, who had sung one of the popular duets with P Susheela “Aayiaram Nilevae Vaa” (Come thousand moons) for M G Ramachandran (MGR) in the Tamil movie Adimai Penn has finally reached the stars, perhaps to sing for the Gods.
Curiously, during his over five decades of playback singing career, SPB has sung several moon songs. He is survived by wife Savitri, son S P Charan – a movie producer and playback singer, and daughter Pallavi.
Honoured with Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards in 2001 and 2011 respectively, SPB has won six National Film Awards for the best male playback singer and several other State awards.
A humble person, SPB had said that if a person achieves something significant in a field, then it is due to the nudges and help rendered by several others.
It was in 1981 that SPB made his debut in the Hindi movie world singing for Kamal Haasan in “Ek Duuje Ke Liye” and went on to sing in movies like “Maine Pyar Kiya”, “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun” and others.
“It was K Balachander, Director of Ek Duuje Ke Liye, who had insisted that I should sing for Kamal Haasan though the music composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal were bit reluctant to try me out,” SPB reminisced. It is a different matter SPB got National Award for one of the songs in that movie.
Apart from singing, SPB has also dubbed for several leading artistes in Tamil and Telugu movies. For Kamal Haasan he was the default voice in Telugu movies. He had dubbed for Ben Kingsley in the Telugu dubbing of English movie Gandhi.
As an actor too, SPB made a mark in jovial father character.

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