Farewell SP Balasubrahmanyam: The Magic Voice That United Indian Music Fans

By SM .25 Sep, 2020




SP Balasubrahmanyam has a career that is probably unparalleled in Indian cinema. He was admitted to a hospital in Chennai after he was tested Covid positive. The legend had first put out a video stating he was fine and asked his fans not to worry. Over time, his situation worsened and he was shifted to the ICU. His son Charan had kept fans and friends posted about his status. SPB slipped into a critical state on Thursday, when he even had Kamal Haasan visiting him.


SPB was a multi-talented person. He had worked as a singer, actor, music director, dubbing artist and film producer in multiple languages. In his career spanning five decades, he had recorded over 40,000 songs in several languages. He holds the record for singing 21 songs in a day.


The versatile singer, who was also an accomplished and award winning actor, has sung across all the major film industries in South India and has been the toast of Bollywood too during the late 80s and early 90s, especially as the voice of Salman Khan. He was the singer who regaled fans with the songs in those hit films like Maine Pyaar Kiya and Saajan. From Salman"s first big hit song to most of hit tracks, before the advent of Anu Malik"s music direction for his film, SPB was the default voice that was associated with him.

Such was his impact as one of the biggest names from South India to make a mark in Bollywood that when Shah Rukh Khan and Rohit Shetty decided to make Chennai Express, they wanted SPB, the voice of South India, to sing the film"s title track and got him to do so. In the south, over five decades, SPB has been the voice of heroes across generations. Be it in Tamil, Telugu or Kannada, SPB has had combinations that have worked well and survived the test of time. He had also been the favourite of music composers even today, with them choosing him to sing their choicest of compositions.

His unique style of singing became an aspirational quality for a lot of youngsters, many who moulded themselves to sing in his style. He also has the distinction of attempting the first breathless song in a film, where he sang entire stanzas in the Tamil film Keladi Kanmani at one stretch. Incidentally, the song was picturised on him.

SPB"s list of achievements are many and these will regale film lover many decades to come.