Starting from the ‘80s to present times, SPB sang many songs for Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna and Venkatesh.

SPB posing for a picture in a suitFile photo
Flix Tollywood Friday, September 25, 2020 - 15:33

In his career spanning five decades, SP Balasubrahmanyam was the voice for the top four veteran stars of the Telugu film industry who still have a firm hold on their fanbases.

The singer passed away on Friday, after his health took a turn for the worse. He had been recovering from COVID-19 in a Chennai hospital. For fans of Telugu cinema, however, SPB or Balu, as he was known, will always be the voice behind the favourite songs of their biggest stars —   Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Venkatesh and Nagarjuna. 

Starting from the ‘80s to present times, Balu sang many songs for these stars. In fact, the popularity of these songs was one of the reasons for the actors to reach their levels of stardom in the initial stages. With his energetic voice, SPB drew in fans who would impatiently wait for his songs to be played on the radio.

Born as Sripati Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam at Nellore in coastal Andhra Pradesh, Balu or 'Balu garu', as he is respectfully called by his millions of fans, has been a colossus in the Telugu film industry. He had lent his voice to scores of film actors since 1967 when he made his debut as a playback singer in the Telugu film Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. From peppy numbers to songs reflecting myriad emotions, SPB was the ubiquitous playback singer in Telugu films since the 1960s. Balu sang for generations of film actors in Telugu from legendary N T Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao to the present generation of stars.

Telugus, known for their love for cinema, grew up enjoying his songs in films of top-ranking stars, including Sobhan Babu, Krishna in the 1970s and 1980s, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Balakrishna, Venkatesh and others since 1980s and 1990s, Mahesh Babu, Allu Arjun and others of present times. Despite not being a trained singer in Carnatic music, SPB gained international fame and won awards with the iconic Telugu film Sankarabharanam of veteran filmmaker K Viswanath, released in 1980. He bagged numerous awards and honours in the Telugu land during his distinguished career.

SPB had sung several Christian devotional songs as well in Telugu which have been popular among the faithful. He has not only been a singer but a multi-faceted personality, excelling as a voice over artist, actor and film producer. It was he who lent his voice to Kamal Haasan in several films dubbed from Tamil to Telugu.

His acting skills came to the fore in a number of Telugu films, including Pakkinti Ammayi, W/o V Varaprasad, Devullu, Pavithra Bandham, Indra and Mithunam. He also featured in several Tamil films like Avvai Shanmughi and Kadhalan which have been runaway successes in their dubbed Telugu versions. As a film producer, SPB made memorable Telugu films including Subha Sankalpam (directed by K Viswanath).

He was the host in a hugely popular reality show Paduta Teeyaga, a singing competition, on leading entertainment channel ETV Telugu. The show provided a platform for young singers to showcase their talent. Stressing on correct pronunciation, he never missed an opportunity to impress on the budding singers, especially children, to pronounce Telugu words correctly. Prayers were conducted at various temples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by his fans for his quick recovery ever since he was admitted to the hospital in Chennai last month, but fate had it otherwise.

Here are some of our favourite songs that he sang for the Tollywood kings.

Chiranjeevi

‘Malli malli idhi rani roju’ from Rakshasudu

‘Sandhe poddula kaada sampengi navvidi’ from Abhilasha

‘Raghuluthondi mogali podha’ from Khaidi

‘Abbani Tiyyani’ from Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari

‘Nadaka kalisini navarathri’ from Hitler

 

Balakrishna

‘Swathilo mutyamantha’ from Bangaru Bullodu

‘Enno raatrulosthaayi kaani’ from Dharma Kshetram

‘Saamaja varagamana’ from Top Hero

‘Mavayya anna pilupu’ from Muddula Mavayya

‘Danchave menatha koothura’ from Mangamma Gaari Manavadu


 

Nagarjuna

‘Priyaraagale’ from Hello Brother

‘Botany Paatamundi’ from Shiva

‘Aatatukundaam ra’ from Sisindri

‘Jagada Jagada Jagadam’ from Geethanjali

‘Naa manasune’ from Manmadhudu

 

Venkatesh

‘Kanyakumari kanapadadhaa daari’ from Bobbili Raja

‘Meghale thaakindi’ from Preminchukundam Raa

‘Edho oka raagam’ from Raja

‘Paavuraniki panjaraniki’ from Chanti

‘Ghallu Ghallu’ from Swarnakamalam


SPB also sang several songs for the stars of the current generation, including Prabhas, Varun Sandhesh and others. These include ‘Muvvala Navvakala’ from Pournami, ‘Nee Prashnalu Neeve’ from Kotha Bangaru Lokam, ‘Uppongele Godavari’ from Godavari and many more.

(With inputs from PTI)

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