SPB and Salman Khan
SPB and Salman Khan

How SPB brought Salman Khan’s romance on screen to life

SPB, however, has crooned Hindi film songs since the 1970s.

Singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, who has given numerous earworms with his evergreen voice in films, was at one time known for being the voice of Bollywood actor Salman Khan. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, when the actor was doing several romantic roles in films, it was SPB who lent his voice to the songs of the actor, bringing them to life on melody.

From Maine Pyaar Kiya to Hum Aapke Hai Koun to Saajan, SPB gave us many hit songs. The first two of these films Salman Khan had done with Sooraj Barjatya, a director known for making family dramas. And the director frequently roped in SPB to voice Salman Khan’s songs.

Maine Pyar Kiya was a major break. Starring Bhagyashree and Salman Khan, who was voiced by SPB in all the songs – from ‘Aate Jaate’ to ‘Mere Rang Mein’ to the iconic ‘Kabootar Ja Ja Ja’, among others.

SPB sang delectable melodies songs in rather forgettable films like Love which released in 1991, starring Revathi and Salman Khan. ‘Saathiya Tune Kya Kiya’, picturised on the duo in the film is the beloved romantic song where SPB and Chitra come together to enliven with their voices.

In Saajan, Lawrence D'Souza’s 1991 film, it was a similar story to Maine Pyar Kiya. Salman would appear to sing, but it was SPB’s voice that stayed with people. Such as this song ‘Tumse Milne Ki Tamanna Hai’, which is about Salman’s aspiration to meet his love, played by Madhuri Dixit. The film also starred Sanjay Dutt.

In Saajan, SPB also sang with another voice which transports one to 90’s Bollywood – Kumar Sanu. Kumar Sanu and SPB sang ‘Jeeye Toh Jeeye Kaise’, a song about heartbreak and separation, picturised on Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri and Salman.

And of course, there was Hum Aapke Hain Koun, with memorable songs like ‘Dhiktana’, ‘Didi Tera Devar Deewana’, and the love ballad ‘Pehla Pehla Pyaar’. Starring Salman and Madhuri Dixit, the Suraj Barjatya film was a big hit. Lata Mageshkar had voiced the female parts of the song, behind Madhuri Dixit.

Over time however, Salman Khan turned to other singers to voice him. 

However, SPB had worked in Bollywood prior to this. He had sung ‘Dil Deewana Bada Mastana’ from Meethi-Meethi Baatein, a 1977 film. At a time when the film industry was dominated by Kishore Kumar, SPB gave songs like the title track of Main Intequam Loonga, picturised on Sunny Deol.

Even in the 1982 Sridevi and Jitendra starrer Himmatwala, which featured the hit song ‘Naino Mein Sapna’, SPB made a mark with ‘Imtehan Imtehan’.

More recently, SPB was the voice behind the Shah Rukh and Deepika Padukone starrer Chennai Express’s peppy title track. Composers Vishal-Shekhar roped in SPB for the song, which was released in 2013. Balasubrahmanyam was asked in an interview then if he needed prompting to be convinced to sing this track. The singer simply said that his job was to sing, and he didn’t need to be prompted at all. “ If I don’t like the song after going to the recording studio and listening to it, I simply excuse myself. This time, I liked the song and went ahead with it,” he said.

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