23 November, 2020

Wrapt In Divine Velveteen

A humble genius, SPB’s golden voice transcended languages and generations

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam 1946-2020
Wrapt In Divine Velveteen

“Is this SPB sir’s house?” I asked an aut­orickshaw driver in Kamdarnagar, Chennai. Yes, he said. I wondered. How come? No buzz, hustle, hovering security. I walk into the welcome area and get ready for a long wait. But I am called up immediately. I enter a large room, trembling in respect and awe. Yonder sits my icon. My music hero—the legend S.P. Balasubrahmanyam. Like a schoolgirl, I squirmed and could only say, “Sir, am a big fan” His reply came in a flash: “I have been following your shows. You have a good taste. God bless you ma”.

That was in 1996; that day, I requested him to host Sapthaswarangal (a music-based reality show). He softly rep­lied: “I may not be that good with Tamil songs and talking about Tamil films. You should get a better person.” This is just a sample of how unbelievably humble the great singer was. And he remained thus—passionate fans by the thousands, yet more hits, an award a week—nothing changed him.

Tamil film music of ’70s simply soaked in...



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