Mumbai, Sep 25 (PTI) He had an extraordinarily prolific career spanning five decades and 40,000 songs in 16 languages but S P Balasubrahmanyam will live on as the balladeer of romance, pathos and fun in Hindi cinema too.
The legendary singer, who died on Friday at a Chennai hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19, came to the Hindi film industry as Kamal Haasan’s voice in “Ek Duuje Ke Liye” in 1981 and stayed on till the 1990s and beyond in films as diverse as “Maine Pyar Kiya” and “Roja”.
Balasubrahmayam -- who sang mainly in Tamil and Telugu films was also known as the romantic voice of Bollywood of the 1980s and 1990s -- was 74.
Amongst his last outings in Hindi cinema was the Shah Rukh Khan starrer “Chennai Express” just seven years ago in 2013.
His songs contributed immensely in establishing Bollywood superstar Salman Khan as a romantic hero during the beginning of his career in films such as “Maine Pyaar Kiya”, “Saajan” and “Hum Aapke Hain Koun”.
A six-time National Award winner, Balasubrahmanyam, fondly known as SPB, also received a National Award for best male playback singer in his Hindi debut “Ek Duuje Ke Liye”.
The romantic-tragedy, also starring Rati Agnihotri and directed by K Balachander, featured the hit songs “Hum bane tum bane ek duje ke liye” and “Tere mere beech mein”.
He followed it up with “Main Intequam Loonga”, “Andhaa Kaanoon” and “Ek Nai Paheli” with Laxmikant-Pyarelal as composers.
But it was his songs ‘Sach Mere Yaar” and “O Maria” in the 1985 film “Saagar”, starring Haasan, Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia, which made him climb the popularity charts. He was once again the voice for Haasan, and audiences loved him for it.
“… he has been a part of my romance, melancholy, part of my happiness, first love and marriage as well. I used to complain to him that it's only your songs that got me into marriage! That's the kind of relationship (I had with him).
“Later on, we were knitted together by popular choice. It was not like we chose each other. The audience chose us. Since they loved us as a pair, we started falling in love and later became brothers,” Haasan said, condoling the death of his friend and colleague. After “Saagar” came “Maine Pyaar Kiya” in 1989, Salman Khan’s debut Hindi film as lead hero. A new generation love story, the movie benefited a great deal from SPB’s voice.
Songs such as “Kabootar ja ja ja”, “Aate jaate hanste gaate”, “Aaja shaam hone aayi”, ‘Mere rang me rangne waali', “Maine pyaar kiya’ and ‘Dil deewana” are still part of the childhood memories of children growing up in the 1990s.
“Saajan”, starring Salman, Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt, saw SPB singing “Bahut pyar karte hai’, ‘Dekha hai pehli baar’, ‘Tumse milne ki tamanna hai’, ‘Jiye to jiye kaise’ and ‘Pehli baar mile hai’.
He also sang for Salman in “Patthar Ke Phool” and “Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!”, the latter becoming one of the biggest hits in Hindi cinema that year and for many years to come with its songs “Pehla pehla pyaar’, ‘Didi tera devar deewana’, “Dhiktana dhiktana”, and ‘Hum aapke hain koun”.
Salman's 1991 film 'Love' would be forgotten perhaps but for SPB's romantic number 'Saathiya tune kya kiya'.
The actor said he was heartbroken by the news of Balasubrahmanyam’s death. 'Heartbroken to hear about #SPBalasubrahmanyam sir... you will forever live on in your undisputed legacy of music! condolence to the family #RIP,' he tweeted.
In 1992, SPB crooned two hit songs “Roja Jaaneman” and “Yeh haseen waadiyaan” for A R Rahman’s debut as a composer in Mani Rathnam’s “Roja”.
In Hindi cinema, the singer collaborated with Rahman on “Dharam Yoddha”, “Chor Chor”, “Muqabala” and “Tu Hi Mera Dil”. The next big hit, however, came with his duet with Asha Bhosle on “Ye raat aur ye doori’ from the 1994 cult comedy hit “Andaz Apna Apna”, starring Salman, Aamir Khan, Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor. He also sang “Do mastane chale” and “Shola shola tu bhadke”.” “This year has seen a lot of unfortunate events. And the news of SP Balasubramaniam's demise that I have heard just now makes me even sadder. He was an amazingly versatile artiste… He had helped me a lot with my Tamil pronunciation in my song for Ilayaraja...,” said Bhosle.
SPB’s other Hindi films include “Priyanka”, “Love Birds”, “Hindustani” , “Mr Romeo”, “Duniya Dilwalo Ki”, “Sapnay”, “Daud”, “Vishwavidhaata”, “Kabhi Na Kabhi” and “Chennai Express” where he sang the title song for Shah Rukh.
Soon after the news of SPB’s demise was shared by his son, filmmaker S P Charan, many from Indian film industry took to social media to pay homage to the singer.
Hailing Balasubrahmanyam as a 'brilliant singer' and a 'kind human being', Mangeshkar said she was very disturbed by the news.
“We have recorded many song together and did a lot shows. My condolences to his family,' the veteran singer wrote.
Rahman shared his photo with Balasubrahmanyam and simply posted, '#ripspb ...Devastated' Shah Rukh said he will miss SPB’s soothing voice.
Condolences to SP Balasubrahmanyam sir’s family and friends on the loss. May the legendary singer’s soul Rest In Peace... Will miss his soothing voice,” the actor wrote. PTI BK SHD MIN MIN MIN