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The Great SPB

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Sripathi Panditharadhyula Balasubrahmanyam, or SPB or "Super Playback Singer" to his countless fans and followers in many a country, besides his Motherland - India, is one of the leading figures of Indian Cinema, more particularly, South Indian moviedom. He had held sway and continues to do so for years as a top-notch singer in films in many Indian languages like Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam the ;lingua franca;, Hindi, Tulu, Oriya, Assamese and Punjabi.

Balu has sung over a staggering 36,000 plus songs in a span of 39 years, in all languages which include several albums of contemporary Indian music, private albums for devotional songs and movies, which is a world record. He is one of the most sought after "playback&; singers of South Indian Cinema.

Music, a part and parcel of Indian films plays a big role in the ever-growing popularity of the medium and playback singers are as much stars like those who appear on screen. And one of the top names is Balu!



Music is divine . But the voice that brings the seven notes to life plays a major role in demarcating the ordinary from the ethereal. SPs voice belongs to this genre.



S. P. Balasubramaniam well known in the field of film music over three decades, was born in 1949, June 4th at Konaattaampettai Andhra Pradesh. In the year 1996 while doing his ITI in Engineering he used to sing in Orchestra held at neighbouring Nellore. On one occasion P Kodandapani, Music Director of Telugu was impressed by SPs singing provided him opportunity to sing for the first time in Telugu film `Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramannā&; which was a turning point in his life and later offers poured in from all the languages.Balus biggest ever break came with the MGR-starrer `Adimai Penn; which had music by K V Mahadevan. Music Director M Ranga Rao by providing an opportunity to sing in his film Nakkare Aade Swarga introduced him to Kannada film industry.



S.P.B., though was very young, started singing for many different language films. As he became very busy, at times he used to sing even 17 songs in 12 hours at the recording theatre. At one stage he started acting in films. Gradually the frequency of his acting work increased in a fast pace and he did roles in Tamil and Telugu films. At one stage, he also stepped into the profession music direction and thus has so far composed music for more than 50 films! He who was in the beginning doing playback singing for Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films, latter expanded this to Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Thulu too!



Balu has accompanied Latha Mangeshkar in her live shows in the US and UK, He had the rare distinction of meeting the US President Bill Clinton along with Lathaji at the White House.



Balu;s wish to become a music director was fullfilled when Dasari Narayana Rao gave him a break as composer in `Kanya-Kumari;. Since then, he has composed the music for about 50 films in Telugu. Balu has also recorded the background score for a Kannada film `Sambandha; which had no songs. He achieved success as a director to some extent by directing music for films in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.



He has sung more than 30,000 songs including telugu , tamil, hindi, malyalam ,kannada , tullu. Thus he holds the Guiness Record for the most number of recordings by any single male singer. (the female record is held by Lata Mangeshkar).He has entered the Guiness Book of Records for recording 19 songs at a stretch in a day without any trace of exhaustion. And much before Shankar Mahadevan. he rendered a song in one breath in the Tamil film `Keladi Kanmani;.



Balu has built `Kodandapani Audio Laboratories; in his mentors name in Chennai. It is one of the most modern sound recording theatres in the country, Balu calls it his dream temple. Singing is a passion for this veteran and nobody can do it better. He is also very passionate about cricket and is a keen watcher of the game as and when time permits him to do so.He is happily married to Savithri and has two children, daughter Pallavi and son Charan.

Awards :

Song Movie

Filmfare Award - 1989 Dil Deewana - Maine Pyaar Kiya

National Award - 1989 "Sankaraabaranam"

National Award - 1979 "Ekh Dhuje Keliae"

National Award - 1981 "Saagara Sangamam"

National Award - 1983 "Rudhra Veenaa"

National Award - 1995 "Gana Saagara Ganayogi Kawai"

National Award - 1996 "Minsara Kanavu"





SPB Great Hits



1. Malarae mounama - Karna

This is a rare masterpiece from Vidhyasagar. SPB and Janaki compete with each other in rendering their voice better than each other in each and every line as the song goes. The way he stretches and renders each and every word of ?Malarae Mounama, Mounamae vedhama? with a classical touch is something hard to expect from any other singer who has no proper training in classical music.



2. Anjali anjali - Duet

Saxophone + SPB is a unique combination. This is a simple soft melody. As the name ?Anjali?





implies this song is sung with utmost dedication. It is simply moving with uniform tempo all through. The successful combination SPB and Chitra of mid 80?s is back again with this song.



Type: Solo, Pathos on Seperation between Lovers



3. Vannam konda vennilavae ? Sigaram

SPB acted and also scored a brilliant music for this movie. It is a simple melody with a simple tune and yet the song haunts just because of his powerful voice and his simple soft rendition without much twist. You can feel the pathos in his voice.



4. Mandram vandha thendralukku - Mouna ragam

The starting itself is great with his voice alone delivering a solo harmony. The voice has soberness poured in it. As usage of instruments is very subtle the whole song stands out because of his rendition. The starting and ending of second and third stanza at high pitch is great.



5. Sangeetha jathi mullai - Kadhal Oviyam

It is also a pure classical song. But this time it is an aggressive singing and he really cries while singing. He should have acted more perfectly than the singer who moves his lips for voice on screen. ?Nam dam dhanam dham?, ?En nadhamae vaa?, ?raja deepamae? are best-sung parts. The song travels to different tunes and pitch levels in the middle but he does full justice with much hard work. A dialogue piece that starts with ?Naan thedi vantha? gradually transforms to the tune, which is another noticeable effort in this song. The singing swaras at the end are best of the best.



6. En kadhalae - Duet

The song has no background music and the voice solely carries the song with nice sax pieces placed in the middle. ?Ini meelvatha illai veelvatha? line is the best rendered. Again the pain of seperation can?t be better felt than his voice in this song.



7. Kadhal rojavae - Roja

Can indian film music forget this trend setting masterpiece from A.R.Rahman, Vairamuthu and SPB combination. SPB again got a national award for this song. SPB?s voice is in its purest form. The pathos is subtle but will make you shed tears if you hear it alone in a similar mood. The ?sol sol? ending is going high gradually in a controlled manner, which comes on experience easily.



Type: Solo, Happy feel, Admires the beauty of Lady love



8. Kadhalin deepam ondru - Thambikku endha ooru

This is another song where his harmony in the prelude is great. This is rare solo song sung for Rajinikanth, the orchestrations are great as usual. The rendition of lines ?Anbilae valum nenjil.....? and ?Ponnilae poovai allum? and its end are great.



9. Pani vizhum - Ninaivellam Nithya

This song has a great lyrics and orchestration. The voice of SPB adds beauty to the song. The way he ends the line ?parvai oruvaram? in first para, fastly rendered voice with tablas rolling at the end of charanam, the way he laughs in between while singing the lines ?kaman kovil silai vaasam? and the way he differently sings ?thadumarum thani maram? with a jerk in voice are unique SPB style.



10. Mun paniya ? Nandha

After the arrival of so many new singers and their domination this song is come back for SPB and proved that he is the king ever. The voice and rendition in each and every line has something new to deliver and especially the ending ?Valkiraen naan un moochilae? is out of world.



11. Thanga thamarai - Minsara Kanavu

A soft seductive melody. SPB?s versatility has no bounds. His voice has a lazy, adulating and a seductive feel. SPB got national award for this song and he deserves it. His rendition of the word ?Vaa? pulls you. The sing the songs from his heart. His voice is so young and youthful in this song though he is at his 50?s when he sung this song.



12. Mannil intha kaadhal - Kaeladi kanmani

First breathless ever in Tamil film music. He grabbed everyone?s attention by making a bold attempt in this song and he sung this song in many stage shows to prove him. The whole charanam is sung breathless. The song is about the greatness of Womankind. He has brilliantly controlled his voice and smoothly changes the pitch to hold his breath for sometime. Accidentally, he is the hero of the movie and moves the lips for his won voice on screen.



Type: Solo, Songs on Beauty of Nature



13. Illaya nila - Payanangal Mudivathillai

This is again a hit song by SPB for Mike Mohan. The tune and the style of singing have a western feel but yet the melody is great. Illayaraja again experiments with voice of SPB and Guitar, his voice has a feel of enjoyment. The lyrics by Vairamuthu are innovative.



14. on maalai pozhudhu - Nilalgal

Just listen this song at early morning, SPB?s voice is so refreshing and pleasant to ears without any noise pollution. The orchestration of the song and the lyrics are great and when SPB voice also joins it is a sure masterpiece. ?mmmm...hey oh hmm lalala? piece is well sung.



Type: Solo Philosophy of life



15. Ellorum sollum pattu - Marupadiyum

The song has some great guitar pieces woven with his voice. The song starts with a sweet humming and a slow and simply rendered voice. The main strength is the lyrics by Vaali. This is for his crystal clear pronunciation of words in Tamil, which enhances the impact of the meaning of the lyrics.



16. Kadavul amaithu veitha maedai - Aval oru thodarkathai

A different song with mimics added in between. Song is a narration of a story and a hidden philosophy is explained. SPB?s voice in 70?s is unique for kamalhaasan, some dialogues are also there in the middle and I think it is this song which was noticed and a first step as a singer for next generation heroes. The lyircs by legendary Kannadasan is great. I like the line ?Innarkku innar endru ezhudhi vaithanae devan andru? for both meaning of the lyrics and his voice.



LONG LIVE SPB.....