The Man Who Took our Breath Away: S P Balasubrahmanyam

S P Balasubrahmanyam

Besides being in the ‘top stars’ category the only other common factor between Kamal Hassan and Salman Khan is S P Balasubrahmanyam. This legendry singer whose melodious and magical voice gave life to thousands of Hindi songs, besides songs in other languages, passed away in Chennai on 25/09/2020, Friday, after a long battle of 52 days with the dreaded coronavirus.

S P Balasubrahmanyam was 74 years old and is survived by Savitri, his wife, S P B Charan, his son and Pallavi, his daughter. He took his last breath at the MGM Health care where he was being treated since 5th of August.

His last rites were conducted at 11 a.m. at his farmhouse which is in Thamaraipakkam in the neighbouring district of Tiruvallur. This is on the outskirts of Chennai. This was carried out in the presence of his family and close friends. He received police honors at the time of the funeral.

On the day he tested ‘positive’ for the coronavirus, SPB (as he is known) he posted a video in which he looked quite cheerful. On 13th of August he was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital. He had been on ventilator since then and also on ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation).

As days passed by there was an improvement in his condition and he participated in physiotherapy sessions actively. He was communicating with the doctors and also his son by writing on paper. He wrote ‘love you all’ notes to the medical staff.

On Wednesday at midnight, he developed a fever that led to more complications and on Thursday he was termed as ‘extremely critical’.

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In a setback, despite the many life support systems and also best efforts, his condition further deteriorated. He suffered from a cardio-respiratory arrest and passed away at 13.04 hours.

Thousands of his fans rushed to his house in spite of the COVID-19 scare. This was for paying their last respects to this very talented singer. He healed many wounds through his magical voice.

The police had a tough time in controlling the crowds, which included the media. The media was live-streaming the proceedings.

Times changed:

Though times changed and you found actors leaving the stage and music composers bidding a farewell, SPB never left. He worked for the silver screen for five decades.

He is known for his works with legends like Ramamurthy, A R Rahman, Illiyaraja and also with the younger generation of composers.

SPB lent his voice to legends like M G Ramachandran, N T Ramarao, Rajkumar and also to their successors in the film industry of the South.

Many movies owed their success to the magic of his voice, especially those with Illiyaraja.

In the world of Tamil cinema, SPB was synonymous with Rajnikant. Most of the time, he lent his voice to the introductory songs in movies. These songs would receive a lot of applause.

SPB lent his voice to 40,000 songs in 14 different languages.