Priyadarshan on SP Balasubrahmanyam: Nobody has ever seen him angry

Updated: 26 September, 2020 07:26 IST | Upala KBR | Mumbai

I first met him back in 1983 at his recording theatre, Kothandapani Studio, named after his guru, P Kothandapani.


I have known SPB sir [SP Balasubrahmanyam] for more than 27 years and created over 40 songs in four different languages — Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi — with him. I recorded with him when songs were not composed in bits and pieces like now. Back then, songs were recorded in one shot. SPB sir once sang the song Mannil Indha Kaadhal from Keladi Kanmani [1990], without pausing for breath. A man who once sang in one breath is lying breathless today.

I first met him back in 1983 at his recording theatre, Kothandapani Studio, named after his guru, P Kothandapani. I remember waiting outside his recording studio when an old-time violinist approached him for financial help. [In gratitude], the violinist touched his feet and SPB got upset. It is probably the only time I have seen him without a smile. SPB shouted at him and said, 'Although I am elder to you, never touch anybody's feet except your parents or guru.' He had a childlike smile. Nobody has ever seen him angry or get into a squabble with anyone. During music sittings, he would joke, smile, sing with everybody, that is the kind of warmth he spread.

I have collaborated with Ilaiyaraaja and SPB sir on some great numbers for my South films. Music directors are strict with singers and don't give them the liberty to switch from the setting, but Raja sir gave SPB freedom with his composition. They created magic with their music. He sang from his heart, irrespective of the language he managed to connect with the audience. That's why his voice and songs are remembered till date. I would often go by his studio to catch up with him while he was recording. SPB sir had an amazing sense of humour.

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First Published: 26 September, 2020 07:23 IST

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