S P BALASUBRAHMANYAM (SPB / BALU) : THE LEGENDARY SINGER & GUINNES BOOK RECORD HOLDER WITH HIGHEST NUMBER OF SONG RECORDINGS

AUTOGRAPH OF LEGANDARY SINGER AND MY MOST FAVOURITE ICON – SRI S P BALASUBRAHMANYAM (SPB / BALU) WHEN HE VISITED ALL INDIA RADIO (AIR) VIJAYAWADA ON THE OCCASION OF SANKRANTI AND I WAS ABLE TO MEET HIM, HAVE HANDSHAKE & BE WITH HIM FOR SOME TIME AND HAVE HIS AUTOGRAPH WITH ´´అభినందనలు తో మీ బాలు´´

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (4 June 1946 – 25 September 2020), also referred to as S. P. Balu, S. P. B., or Balu, was an Indian musician, playback singer, music director, actor, dubbing artist and film producer who worked predominantly in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam films. He sung over 40,000 songs in 16 Indian languages. Being his fan like millions of others – he has always been a great inspiration for me and I was lucky to meet him, have a handshake with him and be with him for sometime when he visited All India Radio (AIR) on the occasion of Sankranti many years ago in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh when I was studying. Im forever thankful to my sister who made this possible saying you must meet your greatest hero and the most admired one. I pay my tributes and obeisances to him through this article in this knowledge portal


S P BALASUBRAHMANYAM (SPB / BALU)


THE LEGENDARY SINGER


GUINNES BOOK RECORD HOLDER WITH HIGHEST NUMBER OF SONG RECORDINGS


GREAT INSPIRATION FROM BALU IN MY LIFE : ONE CAN LEARN & DEAL IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES & CULTURES


  • Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (4 June 1946 – 25 September 2020) also referred to as S. P. Balu, S. P. B., or Balu, was an Indian musician, playback singer, music director, actor, dubbing artist and film producer who worked predominantly in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam films
  • He sung over 40000 songs in 16 Indian languages
  • He has won the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs
  • He won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer six times and the Nandi Awards in Telugu cinema 25 times from the Government of Andhra Pradesh
  • He has won National Film Awards across four languages as well as a Filmfare Award, five South Filmfare Awards and numerous state awards from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
  • He is a recipient of civilian awards such as Padmashri (2001) and Padma Bhushan (2011) from the government of India.
  • He is a great inspiration for me in my life and I was lucky to meet him, have a handshake with him, take his autograph with the writing ´´అభినందనలు తో మీ బాలు´´ (means ´´With best compliments from – Your Balu´´) and be with him for sometime when he visited All India Radio on the occasion of Sankranti many years ago in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh when I was studying
  • He has garnered six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his works in four different languages; Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi; 25 Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards for his works towards Telugu cinema, numerous other state awards from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
  • In addition, he garnered the Filmfare Award, and six Filmfare Awards South
  • In 2012, he received the state NTR National Award for his contributions to Indian cinema
  • In 2016, He was honored with the Indian Film Personality of the Year consisting of a Silver Peacock Medal
  • He is a recipient of the Padma Shri (2001) and Padma Bhushan (2011) from the Government of India
  • On 25 September 2020, he died at MGM Hospital
Birth name Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam
Born 4 June 1946
Konetammapet ,Madras Presidency, British India
(present-day Andhra Pradesh, India)
Died 25 September 2020 (aged 74)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Genres Playback singing
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • Actor
  • Music director
  • Film producer
Years active 1966–2020

SPB / BALU : EARLY LIFE & BACKGROUND


  • S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was born in Konetammapet village of Madras Presidency (present-day Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh) into a Telugu family and raised in Nellore
  • His father, late S. P. Sambamurthy, was a Harikatha artist who had also acted in plays
  • His mother was Sakunthalamma, who died on 4 February 2019
  • He has two brothers and five sisters, including singer S. P. Sailaja
  • His son is S. P. Charan who is also a popular South Indian Singer, Actor and a Producer
  • Balasubrahmanyam developed an interest in music at an early age, studied notations and learned music
  • He enrolled at JNTU College of Engineering Anantapur with the intention of becoming an engineer. He discontinued his studies early due to typhoid and joined as an Associate Member of the Institution of Engineers, Chennai
  • He continued to pursue music during his engineering studies and won awards at singing competitions. In 1964, he won the first prize in a music competition for amateur singers organised by the Madras-based Telugu Cultural Organisation
  • He was the leader of a light music troupe composed of Anirutta (on the harmonium), Ilaiyaraaja (on guitar and later on harmonium), Baskar (on percussion), and Gangai Amaran (on guitar)
  • He was selected as the best singer in a singing competition which was judged by S. P. Kodandapani and Ghantasala
  • Often visiting music composers seeking opportunities, his first audition song was “Nilave Ennidam Nerungadhe”. It was rendered by veteran playback singer P. B. Srinivas, who used to write and give him multi-lingual verses in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Sanskrit, English and Urdu

SPB / BALU : BRIEF HISTORY OF SINGING CAREER


  • Balasubrahmanyam made his debut as a playback singer on 15 December 1966 with Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, a Telugu film scored by his mentor, S. P. Kodandapani
  • The first Non-Telugu song that he recorded just eight days after his debut Telugu song was in Kannada in 1966 for the film Nakkare Ade Swarga, starring Kannada comedy stalwart T. R. Narasimharaju
  • He recorded his first Tamil song “Athaanodu Ippadi Irundhu Eththanai Naalaachu”, a duet with L.R. Eswari in the music direction of M. S. Viswanathan for the film Hotel Ramba, which never got released. Other early songs he sang were duets with P. Susheela, “Iyarkai Ennum Ilaya Kanni” in the 1969 film Shanti Nilayam, starring Gemini Ganesh, and “Aayiram Nilavae Vaa” for MGR in Adimaippenn
  • His first song with S. Janaki was “Pournami Nilavil Pani Vizhum Iravil” in Kannippenn. He was then introduced to the Malayalam film industry by G. Devarajan in the film Kadalppalam
  • He had the rare distinction of rendering the most songs on a single day by any singer
  • He had recorded 21 songs in Kannada for the composer Upendra Kumar in Bangalore from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm on 8 February 1981 and 19 songs in Tamil, 16 songs in Hindi in a day which is a notable achievement and a record
  • In his words, “There were days when I used to record 15–20 songs, but only for Anand-Milind. And I would take the last flight back to Chennai.”
  • In the 1970s, he also worked with M. S. Viswanathan in Tamil movies for actors such as M. G. Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan
  • He recorded duets with P. Susheela, S. Janaki, Vani Jayaram and L. R. Eswari. Balasubrahmanyam’s association with Ilaiyaraaja began even before Ilaiyaraaja came to the cine field
  • In those days, SPB used to sing in towns and villages all over south India and Ilaiyaraaja, then an unknown harmonium and guitar player accompanied SPB by playing in his concerts
  • Balasubrahmanyam came to international prominence with the 1980 film Sankarabharanam
  • The film is considered to be one of the best films ever to emerge from the Telugu film industry
  • Directed by K. Vishwanath, the film’s soundtrack was composed by K.V. Mahadevan, and led to an increase in the usage of Karnatak music in Telugu cinema. Not a classically trained singer, he used a “film music” aesthetic in recording the songs’
  • Balasubrahmanyam received his first National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for his work
  • His first work in Hindi films was in the following year, in Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), for which he received another National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer

SPB / BALU : VOICE ACTING


  • Balasubrahmanyam accidentally became a dubbing artist with K. Balachander’s film Manmadha Leela, the dubbed Telugu version of Manmadha Leelai, providing voice-over for Kamal Haasan
  • He has also provided voice-overs for various artists, including Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Vishnuvardhan, Salman Khan, K. Bhagyaraj, Mohan, Anil Kapoor, Girish Karnad, Gemini Ganesan, Arjun Sarja, Nagesh, Karthik, and Raghuvaran in various languages
  • He was assigned as the default dubbing artist for Kamal Haasan in Telugu-dubbed versions of Tamil films. For the Telugu version of Dasavathaaram, he gave voice to seven characters (including the female character) out of ten characters played by Kamal Haasan
  • He was awarded the Nandi Award for Best Male Dubbing Artist for the films Annamayya and Sri Sai Mahima
  • He dubbed for Nandamuri Balakrishna for the Tamil version of the movie Sri Rama Rajyam in 2012
  • He also dubbed for Ben Kingsley in the Telugu-dubbed version of Gandhi

SPB / BALU : PERSONAL LIFE


  • Balasubrahmanyam was born in a Telugu family
  • He is married to Savithri and has two children, a daughter Pallavi, and a son S. P. B. Charan, also a playback singer and film producer
  • Balasubrahmanyam’s mother Sakunthalamma died at the age of 89 on 4 February 2019 in Nellore

SPB / BALU : HONOURS & AWARDS


SPB / BALU : CIVILIAN HONOURS FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA


Year Award Honouring body  
2001 Padma Shri Government of India  
2011 Padma Bhushan Government of India  

SPB / BALU : OTHER HONOURS


Year Award Honouring body Ref
1981 Kalaimaamani Government of Tamil Nadu  
1999 Honorary Doctorate Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University  
2008 Karnataka Rajyothsava Award (Second Highest Civilian honor of Karnataka) Government of Karnataka  
2009 Honorary Doctorate Sathyabama University, Chennai  
2009 Kalaprapoorna (Honorary doctorate) Andhra University  
2010 Honorary Doctorate JNTU Anantapur  
2017 Kala Pradarshini Ghantasala Puraskar The Ghantasala family & Kala Pradarshini, Chennai  
2017 Honorary Doctorate The International Tamil University, United States  

SPB / BALU : NATIONAL FILM AWARDS


Year Film Song Language Outcome  
1979 Sankarabharanam “Omkaara Nadhaanu” Telugu Won  
1981 Ek Duuje Ke Liye “Tere Mere Beech Mein” Hindi Won  
1983 Saagara Sangamam “Vedam Anuvanuvuna” Telugu Won  
1988 Rudraveena “Cheppaalani Undi” Won  
1995 Sangeetha Sagara Ganayogi Panchakshara Gavai “Umandu Ghumandu Ghana Gar Je Badara” Kannada Won  
1996 Minsaara Kanavu “Thanga Thamarai” Tamil Won  

SPB / BALU : FILMFARE AWARDS


Year Film Song Outcome  
1981 Ek Duuje Ke Liye “Tere Mere Beech Mein” Nominated  
1989 Maine Pyar Kiya “Dil Deewana” Won  
1991 Saajan “Tumse Milne Ki Tamanna Hai” Nominated  
1994 Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! “Hum Aapke Hain Koun” Nominated  

SPB / BALU : FILMFARE AWARDS SOUTH


Year Award Film Song Language(s) Outcome  
1983 Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South Won  
1986 Outstanding Achievement As a Playback Singer All South Languages Won  
1991 Best Film Yerra Mandaram Telugu Nominated  
1995 Best Film Subha Sankalpam Telugu Won  
2005 Best Male Playback Singer Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana “Ghal Ghal Ghal Ghal” Telugu Nominated  
2006 Best Male Playback Singer Sri Ramadasu “Adigadigo Bhadragiri” Telugu Won  
2007 Best Male Playback Singer Mozhi “Kannal Pesum Penne” Tamil Won  
2008 Best Male Playback Singer Panduranga “Matrudevobhava” Telugu Nominated  
2009 Best Male Playback Singer Mahatma “Indiramma” Telugu Nominated  
2010 Best Male Playback Singer Aaptha Rakshaka “Gharane Ghara Gharane” Kannada Won  
2011 Best Male Playback Singer 7aum Arivu “Yamma yamma” Tamil Nominated  

SPB / BALU : SOUTH INDIAN INTERNATIONAL MOVIE AWARDS


  Award Film Song Language(s) Outcome
2013 SIIMA Award for Best Playback Singer (Male) Sri Rama Rajyam Jagadananda Karaka Telugu Nominated
2017 SIIMA Lifetime Achievement Award) Various films Various songs Various languages Won

SPB / BALU : NANDI AWARDS


  • In 2012, he received the NTR National Award for his contributions to Indian cinema
Year Film Category Outcome
2012 Mithunam Nandi Special Jury Award Won
2009 Mahatma Best Male Playback Singer Won
2005 Pellam Pichodu Best Male Playback Singer  
2003 Seetayya Best Male Playback Singer  
2002 Vasu Best Male Playback Singer  
2000 Raghavayyagari Abbai Best Male Playback Singer  
2000 Sri Sai Mahima Best Dubbing Artist Won
1997 Annamayya  
1997 Priyaragalu Best Male Playback Singer Won
1996 Pavithra Bandham Best Supporting Actor Won
1994 Bhairava Dweepam Best Male Playback Singer Won
1993 Mister Pellam Best Male Playback Singer  
1992 Bangaaru Mama Best Male Playback Singer  
1991 Chanti Best Male Playback Singer  
1989 Neerajanam Best Male Playback Singer Won
1987 Abhinandana Best Male Playback Singer
1986 Sirivennela Best Male Playback Singer
1985 Mayuri Best Music Director Won
Best Male Playback Singer Won
1984 Suvarna Sundari Best Male Playback Singer  
1983 Bahudoorapu Baatasaari Best Male Playback Singer  
1981 Premabhishekam Best Male Playback Singer  
1979 Sankarabharanam Best Male Playback Singer Won
1978 Naalaga Endaro Best Male Playback Singer  

SPB / BALU : TAMIL NADU STATE FILM AWARDS


Year Film(s) Category Outcome  
1969 AdimaippenShanti Nilayam Best Singer Won  
1980 Nizhalgal Best Singer Won  
1990 Keladi Kanmani Best Singer Won  
1994 Jai Hind Best Singer Won  

SPB / BALU : KARNATAKA STATE FILM AWARDS


Year Film(s) Category Outcome
1997-98 O Mallige Best Male Playback Singer Won
2004-05 Srushti Best Male Playback Singer Won
2007-08 Savi Savi Nenapu Best Male Playback Singer Won

SPB / BALU : OTHER AWARDS & HONOURS


  • “GaanaVidushi” Title conferred by Ragaswara, at the concert “Celestial Hits” on 10 Feb 2019, at Kings Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom in recognition of Musical Excellence and Immense contribution to the field of Music for over 50 years
  • The Multi-Lingual concert was delivered by Shri.SPB, despite suffering a personal loss during the tour
  • The professionalism of the legend brought every one to their feet when Balu ji came on stage
  • When he was presented with the Title “GaanaVidushi” by Ragaswara‘a Director Chanukya Rajagopala, the crowd gave a resounding applause for a good few minutes
  • The hall reverberated to the sound of claps, whistles and cheers
  • Quite a few people were teary eyed, when the Legend took a humble bow after accepting the Title
  • The memorable concert will remain in memory for a very long time.
  • Film Fans’ Association Award (Madras)—oldest association in the country—received 20 times
  • “Sangeetha Ganga Award”, for his contribution to Kannada Film Industry in 2001
  • “Lata Mangeshkar Award” in 1999
  • “Sangeeta Ganga award” in 2001
  • Delhi Telugu Academy’s Rashtriya Vikas Shiromani Award (Lifetime) in 2002
  • “Dr. Bezawada Gopala Reddy Award”, given during a function in Nellore in 2002
  • “Lifetime Achievement Award” conferred during “TVS Victor Aalaapana Music Awards” function for the years 2001 and 2002, in Hyderabad in 2002
  • “Swaralaya-Kairali-Yesudas” award in 2002
  • “Rani Rao Balasaraswathi Award” in 2003
  • “Arya Bhata Prasasthi” in 2003
  • “Kalasri Award” in 2004
  • “Best Playback Singer” from Maa TV, Cinemaa awards in 2004
  • “Viswa Ganayogi” From Karnataka Chief Minister in 2005
  • Raja-Lakshmi Award from Sri Raja-Lakshmi Foundation, Chennai in 2006
  • “Best Playback Singer” from Vijay TV, Reliance Mobile Vijay Awards in 2006
  • “Tansen Award” Sur Singar Sanjad (Bombay) for best classical rendition of a song from Tere Payal Mere Geeth composed by Naushad Sab
  • “Best Playback Singer” from Santosham awards for the film Sri Ramadasu in 2006
  • “Lifetime Achievement Award”, presented by Santhosham awards in 2007
  • “Basavashree Award” from Karnataka Government
  • “A.P. Cinegoers Association Award for Best Singer” for Sri Bhagavatham (serial on ETV) in 2007
  • “Sangeetha Saagra” from Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Kanchipuram in 2008
  • “Karnataka Rajyotsava Prasasthi” from the Government of Karnataka on 1 November 2008
  • Innumerable awards from magazines and associations fostering films
  • “Lifetime Achievement Award” presented by Telugu Association of North America (TANA) in Chicago session in 2009
  • “P. Susheela trust National Award” Presented on 29 November 2009
  • “Kopparapu Kavula Puraskaram”from Kopparapu Kala Peetam, Visakhapatnam on 9 September 2009
  • “Lifetime Achievement Award”, presented by Raagalaya Music Awards (27 February 2010 at Shanmukhanad Hall, Mumbai) in 2010
  • Ghantasala Award in 2010
  • Great son of the soil award from Justice Rajesh Tandon,Chairperson Cyber appellate tribunal New Delhi at All India conference of intellectuals in Hyderabad on Saturday in 2010
  • ANR Lifetime achievement award from Akkineni Nageswara Rao in 2010
  • “Pride Of Indian Cinema” from Yuvakalavauhini, Hyderabad on 30 June 2010
  • “Best playback Singer” award from “Gemini Tv Ugadi awards” 2010 for the serial “Kotha Bangaram”
  • Vamsee Film awards 2010 “Best Playback Singer(male)” for the film “Mestry”
  • “BIG Kannada Entertainment Awards” for the most entertaining “TV host of the year” and the programme “Yede Tumbhi Haaduvenu” being declared as the most entertaining reality show of the year
  • “Santosham awards 2010” Best Playback Singer(male) for the film “Mahatma”
  • “Lifetime Achievement Award” – 2011 presented by Lux Sandal CineMAA Awards on 19 June 2011 in Hyderabad
  • “Isai Thendral” – Title conferred to S P Balasubrahmanyam by Botswana Tamil Cultural Association – Executive Committee (2011-2012) on 14 April 2012 in recognition towards his continuous dedication,contribution and commitment to the Indian Music and Film Industry.
  • The Hyderabad Times Film Awards 2011- Best Singer male for Jagadanandakaraka – Sri Ramarajyam
  • “Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan Award for Excellence in Indian Cinema” given by STAR Vijay in 2011.
  • “Harivarasanam Award 2015” by kerala government
  • Tamizhan Award 2017 by Pudhiya Thalaimurai
  • 6th Dakshinamurthy Nadapuraskaram,2019,Kerala.Peringottukara Devasthanam,Thrissur

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