Legendary playback singer and voice artist SP Balasubrahmanyam has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the President of India, Ramnath Kovind. The singer who died due to complications from COVID-19 in September 2020, has been given the award posthumously. The Padma Vibushan is the second highest civilian award after the Bharat Ratna.
The veteran Indian musician was already a recipient of Padma Shri (2001) and Padma Bhushan (2011) from the Government of India. His illustrious career which spanned across multiple languages and six decades saw him rise to the very top of the music industry. He won six national awards for best playback singer, 25 Nandi awards and numerous other accolades for his singing. In addition to singing, he also worked as a television anchor, music director, actor, dubbing artist and film producer.
Also read: Full list of Padma Awardees 2021
SPB as he was fondly called made his debut with the Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna and later entered the Tamil industry with the movie Adimai Penn. In several interviews SPB has mentioned that his entry into playback singing was an accident which worked for both him and the industry.
His very first National award was for the film Sankarabharanam where he proved his versatility and followed that up with a second award for his very first Hindi song, 'Tere Mere Beech Mein' from the film Ek Duuje Ke Liye.
He recorded over 40,000 songs in a range of genres including devotional and film songs and in various languages. SPB was also an actor and appeared in several films in character roles.
On August 5, SP Balasubrahmanyam was rushed to the hospital after he complained of chest congestion. He was then diagnosed with COVID-19 and was hospitalised for over a month before he died on September 25, 2020.