Narudi bratuku natana
Eeshwarudi talapu ghatana
Kalindi natta naduma
The legendary singer with the most melodious voice couldn’t have been more right and succinct when he rendered the song from Sagara Sangamam. Or, when he sang Aagadu ye nimishamu nee kosamu… (Premabhishekam). And just like that, he is gone taking his never-to-be-heard-again voice with him, but leaving behind a legacy of 41,230 songs – to be enjoyed forever, and beyond!
Whether it was a peppy song like Naa kosame neevunnadi, Aresukoboyi paresukunnavu, Rimjhim rimjhim Hyderabad, Kannepillavani kannulunnavani, or Kurralloy kurrallu, or romantic melodies like Ye divilo virisina parijatamo, Sirimalle neeve virijallu kaave, Chinuku chinuku padutu vunte, Komma komma ko sannayi, Maate mantramo, Ragulutondi mogalipoda or Leta chaligalulu, or a tragic track like Nenoka prema pipasini, Taali kattu subhavela, Evariki telusu chitikina manasu, Edureetaku antham leda, or Idi naa jeevitalapana, if there is one singer who could render it effortlessly and with the same passion as if it’s his first song or the only song to prove his worth, it’s – unarguably – the great SPB.
But yes, these are his very well-known songs sang for popular heroes. And then, there are others like Akasam nundi naa kosam vachava which he sang for Raja Babu; and Kobbari neella jalakaladi and Nee jada kuchulu naa medakuchulurendered for Subhalekha Sudhakar; Sankara nadasarirapara, Samajavara gamana and Broche varevarura, which were sung for JV Somayajulu or Paruvama chilipi parugu teeyaku for Bhagyaraj, or Maate mantramo for Karthik or Muthyalu vastava for Allu Ramalingaiah – his versatility and voice modulation for the actors is unbeatable. In an era predominated by the All India Radio, it’s only through SPB’s voice that people could relate to, and probably identify, the actor for whom the song was sung.
When Balu started singing in Bollywood, he did face criticism with people brushing him off or mocking him due to his diction and heavy accent. Criticise they can, but nobody can dismiss songs like Tere mere beech mein (Ek duuje ke liye), O Maria (Saagar), Dekha hai pehli baar (Saajan), or Pehla pehla pyaar hai (Hum Aapke Hai Koun..!) which were indeed viral at one point of time – despite the absence of social media.
With absolutely no training in classical music, which was considered a prerequisite when he debuted as a singer, he went on to bag achievement after achievement with his enviable and peerless voice. Many who came after him tried to imitate or follow in his footsteps but failed. Such is the contribution of SP Balasubrahmanyam that it’s not enough to say ‘A legend is gone’ or ‘An era has ended’ or ‘A void is left’ when it comes to talking about the demise of legendary singer. Rest in peace, legend!
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