S. P. Balasubrahmanyam

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S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam in 2013.JPG
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam in 2013
Background information
Native name శ్రీపతి పండితారాధ్యుల బాలసుబ్రహ్మణ్యం
Birth name Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam
Born (1946-06-04) 4 June 1946 (age 68)[1]
Konetammapeta, Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh
Origin Telugu, India
Genres Playback singing
Occupations Singer, actor, music director, film producer
Years active 1965–present
Website www.spbindia.com

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (About this sound pronunciation ) is an Indian film playback singer, actor, music director, voice actor and film producer. He is mostly referred to as S. P. B. or Balu. He has won the Guinness World Records for recording the highest number of songs.[1][2][3] 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.[4][5][6][7]

He has sung over 40,000 songs in various Indian languages.[8] He has won National Film Awards across four languages as well as a Filmfare Award, five Filmfare Awards South 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.[9]

Early life and background[edit]

Balasubrahmanyam was born to S. P. Sambamurthy in Konetammapeta, Nellore district, of Andhra Pradesh.[10] Balasubrahmanyam's father was a Harikatha artiste who had also acted in plays.[11] He has two brothers and five sisters, including singer S.P. Sailaja.[12][13]

Balasubrahmanyam developed an interest towards music at an early age, studied notations and learned to play instruments such as the harmonium and flute on his own while listening to his father. 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.[8][14]

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).[15] He was selected as the best singer in a singing competition which was judged by S. P. Kodandapani and Ghantasala.[16][17] Often visiting music composers seeking opportunities, his first audition song was "Nila 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.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Balasubramanyam is married to Savitri and has two children, Pallavi[19][20] and Charan. Charan is also a playback singer and film producer.[21][22]

Early career: 1960s–1970s[edit]

Balasubrahmanyam made his debut as a playback singer in 1966 with Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, a Telugu film scored by his mentor, S. P. Kodandapani.[23][24] 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.[25][26] He recorded his first Tamil song "Eyarkai ennum illaya kanni" in the 1969 film Shanthi Nilaiyam starring Gemini Ganesan. He sang "Aayiram Nilavae Vaa" for M.G.R in the Tamil film Aadimai Penn.[27] He was then introduced to Malayalam film industry by G. Devarajan in the film Kadalppalam.[28]

He has the rare distinction of rendering most number of songs on a single day by any singer. He has recorded 21 songs in Kannada for the composer Upendra Kumar in Bangalore from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm on February 8, 1981 and 19 songs in Tamil, 16 songs in Hindi in a day which is a notable achievement and a record.[3] He established a prolific career. "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."[29][30] 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 in the late 1970s when the latter made his cinematic debut.

International recognition: 1980s[edit]

Balasubrahmanyam pictured in 1985

Balasubrahmanyam came to international prominence with 1980's Shankarabharanam. The film is considered to be one of the best films ever to emerge from Telugu film industry.[31][32] Directed by K. Vishwanath, the film's soundtrack was composed by KV Mahadevan and led to an increase in usage of Carnatic music in Telugu cinema. Not a classically trained singer, he used a 'film music' aesthetic in recording the songs.[33] Balasubrahmanyam received his first National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for his work. His first work in Hindi films was the following year, in Ek Duje Ke Liye (1981), for which he received another National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer.[6]

Balasubrahmanyam began to record more songs in Tamil especially for Ilaiyaraaja with Janaki, the trio considered to be highly successful in the Tamil film industry from the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s in Telugu films based on classical music like Saagara Sangamam (1983), for which both Ilaiayaraaja and S.P.B won National Film Awards, Swathi Muthyam (1986) and Rudraveena (1988) which again won National Awards for Ilaiyaraaja and Balasubrahmanyam.[34]

In 1989, Balasubrahmanyam was the playback singer for Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya.[35] The soundtrack for the film was very successful and he won a Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song Dil Deewana. For much of the next decade, Balasubrahmanyam continued as the 'romantic singing voice' on the soundtracks of Khan's films.[36] Notable among these was Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! which became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time[37] Balasubrahmanyam's duet with Lata Mangeshkar, Didi Tera Devar Deewana, was so popular that Mangeshkar was awarded a Filmfare Special Award. This solidified Balasubrahmanyam as one of the biggest playback singers in India.[38]


In the 1990s he worked with composers like Vidyasagar, M. M. Keeravani, S. A. Rajkumar, but his association with A.R.Rahman turned out be a major success.

Balasubramanyam's association with Hamsalekha began after the latter's successful venture Premaloka in Kannada. Balasubramanyam sung the most number of songs for Hamsalekha in Kannada. He received his 4th National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song "Umandu Ghumandu" from the Kannada film Ganayogi Panchakshari Gavayi (1995), which was a Hindustani classical music based composition by Hamsalekha.[34]

Balasubrahmanyam recorded three songs for A. R. Rahman in his debut film Roja. He had a long time association with Rahman right from Roja, the latter's debut film. Other popular songs include "July Maadham" from Pudhiya Mugam, which also marked the debut of singer Anupama, "Mannoothu Manthayilae" from Kizhakku Cheemayile which was a folk number and he almost sang all songs in the musical love story Duet and "Thanga Thaamarai" from Minsara Kanavu which fetched his sixth and latest of his National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer till date.


In 2013, Balasubrahmanyam recorded the popular title song for Chennai Express – "Nikal Na Jaaye Chennai Express", singing for the lead actor Shahrukh Khan, under the music direction of Vishal-Shekhar. He returned to Bollywood music after being away from it for 15 years.[39]

Voice actor[edit]

Balasubrahmanyam accidentally became a dubbing artist with Kamal Hassan's film Manmadha Leela, the dubbed Telugu version of Manmadha Leelai.[40] He has also provided voice-overs for various artists, including Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, 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 Hassan in Telugu dubbed versions of Tamil films and vice versa. For the Telugu version of Dasavathaaram he gave voice to seven characters (including the female character) out of 10 characters played by Kamal Hassan.[41] He was awarded Nandi Award for Best Male Dubbing Artist for the films Annamayya and Sri Sai Mahima.[42] He dubbed for Nandamuri Balakrishna for the Tamil version of the movie Sri Rama Rajyam in 2012.[43]


As actor[edit]


Year Film Language Role Notes
1969 Pellante Noorella Panta Telugu
1971 Mohammed Bin Tuglaq Tamil Guest appearance
1980 Pakkinti Ammayi Telugu Bala Raju
1982 Baalondu Chaduranga Kannada
Malle Pandiri Telugu Sheik Moses Murthy
1983 Bharat 2000 Kannada
Tirugu Bhana Kannada
1987 Manathil Uruthi Vendum Tamil Doctor
1988 Prema Telugu As an advisor to Venkatesh
Vivaha Bhojanambu Telugu Guest appearance
Kallu Telugu
1990 Keladi Kanmani Tamil A. R. Rangaraj
Palai Vanna Ragangal Tamil
1991 Sigaram Tamil Damodar
1992 Thyagu Tamil
Guna Tamil Police officer
Parvataalu Paanakalu Telugu Paanakalu
Thalaivasal Tamil Shanmugasundaram
Bharathan Tamil Ramkumar
1993 Thiruda Thiruda Tamil Lakshmi Narayanan CBI
Muddina Maava Kannada Ramayya
1994 Kadhalan Tamil Kathiresan
1995 Raja Hamsa Telugu Doctor, family friend
Paattu Paadavaa Tamil Giridharan
1996 Drohi Telugu
Kadhal Desam Tamil Tabu's father
Myna Telugu
Pavitra Bandham Telugu Venkatesh's Father
Avvai Shanmughi Tamil Guest appearance
Kandaen Seethayae Tamil Police officer
1997 Devullu Telugu Lord Vinayaka
Pellivaramandi Telugu Hero's father
Prena Telugu
Ullaasam Tamil Thangiah
Ratchagan Tamil LIC Padmanabhan
Minsara Kanavu Tamil Thangadurai
Nandhini Tamil/Telugu As himself / Friend of Prakash Raj
1998 Sandhrba Kannada
Uyala Telugu Doctor
Pelladi Chupista Telugu As himself and mentor of Roja
Mangalyam Tantunanena Kannada Ravichandran's father
Jolly Tamil Teacher
Wife of V. Varaprasad Telugu Vineeth's grandfather
1999 Aaro Pranam Telugu Father of hero (Vineeth)
Deergha Sumangali Bhava Telugu Family friend to Dasari's family
Mechanic Maavaiah Telugu Scientist
Paaduta Teeyaga Telugu Father of heroine (Heera)
Pedda Manushulu Telugu
Maya Tamil/Telugu/Kannada
2000 Goppinti Alludu Telugu Balakrishna's father
Manasu Paddanu Kanni Telugu Rasi's father
Priyamaanavale Tamil Vishwanath
2001 Chirujallu Telugu Richa's father
2002 Indra Telugu As Himself Cameo appearance
Padharella Ammayi Telugu
April Maadhathil Tamil As himself Cameo appearance
2003 Magic Magic 3D Malayalam Acharya
Fools Telugu Guest appearance
Maha Yedabidangi Kannada
2006 Mayabazaar Telugu Lord Kubera
Roommates Telugu As himself Cameo appearance
2007 Yen Uyirinum Melana Tamil N. Thirumuragan
Astram Telugu Raju Hirwani
Kalyanothasava Kannada Retired army captain
Malle Pandiri Telugu
Hetthare Hennanne Herabeku[44][45] Kannada Dr.Dasari Narayana Rao
2010 Naanayam Tamil CEO Viswanath
2011 Shakti Telugu Mahadevaraya's father
2012 Devasthanam Telugu Sambamurthy
2012 Mithunam Telugu Appa Dasu


Name Language Notes
Nadhi Enge Pogiradhu Tamil Serial
Jannal Tamil TV Serial
Vaanam Paadi Tamil Music show
Paadutha Theeyaga Telugu Music show
Paadalani Undhi Telugu Music show
Endaro Mahanubhavulu Telugu Serial
Ennodu Pattu Paadungal Tamil Music show
Edhe Thumbi Haaduvenu Kannada Music show

As music composer[edit]

Year Film Language Director Producer/banner
1977 Kanya Kumari Telugu Dasari Narayana Rao Sarigama Arts
1978 Sandarbha Kannada
1979 Captain Krishna Telugu K. S. R. Das
Ra Ra Krishnayya Telugu
Thoorpu Velle Railu Telugu Bapu
1980 Hum Paanch (Background Score) Hindi Bapu S.K. Films
1981 Ohamma Katha Telugu Vasanta Sen
Sangeeta Telugu
Thaiyyalkaaran Tamil Kalaipuli International
1983 Thudikkum Karangal Tamil Sridhar K. R. Gangadharan
Uranta Sankranti Telugu Dasari Narayana Rao
1984 Bharyamani Telugu Vijaya Bapineedu Srinivasa Productions
Seetamma Pelli Telugu Bapu Muddu Art Movies
1985 Bangaru Chilaka Telugu Maheswari Movies
Bullet Telugu
Devaralledane Kannada Chamundi Production
Dongallo Dora Telugu
Jockey Telugu Muddu Art Movies
Kongumudi Telugu Vijaya Bapineedu Raghavendra Cine Creations
Mayuri Tamil Singeetam Srinivasa Rao B.R. Creations in association with ushakiran movies
Mayuri Telugu Singeetam Srinivasa Rao Usha Kiron Movies
Muddula Manavaralu Telugu Jandhyala Muddu Art Movies
1986 Bete Kannada Vajragiri Films
Maghadeerudu Telugu Shyam Prasad Arts
Naache Mayuri (background score) Hindi T. Rama Rao Lakshmi Productions
Padamati Sandhya Ragam Telugu Jandhyala Gummaluri Sastry, Meer Abdulla
Sowbhagyalakshmi Kannada Bhargava Vasu Chitra
1987 Gouthami Telugu Radha Madhava Films
Lawyer Suhasini Telugu Vamsy Jayakrishna Combines
Pratima Telugu
Ramu Telugu Suresh Productions
1988 Chinnodu Peddodu Telugu Relangi Narasimha Rao Sridevi Movies
Kallu Telugu M. V. Raghu Mahashakthi Films
Neeku Naaku Pellanta Telugu Jandhyala J.J. Movies
Oh Bharya Katha Telugu Mouli Ushakiron Movies
Premayanam Telugu Ushakiron Movies
Ramanna Shyamanna Kannada B. Subbarao Vasu Chitra
Vivaaha Bhojanambu Telugu Jandhyala J.J. Movies
1990 Siddartha Telugu
1991 Mahayagnam Telugu
Sigaram Tamil Ananthu Kavithalaya Productions
Jaitra Yatra Telugu Sravanti Movies
1992 Belliyappa Banagarappa Kannada Poorna Prajna Madhu Bangarappa
Ksheera Saagara Kannada Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
1993 Muddina Maava Kannada Om Sai Prakash Vijaya Sridevi Combines
2003 Unnai Charanadaindhen Tamil Samuthirakani Capital Cine Works

Awards and nominations[edit]


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  7. ^ http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=21181
  8. ^ a b Staff Reporter (11 June 2012). "Singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam honoured". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 July 2013. "According to the citation of the award, the singer who had won Padma Sri and Padma Bhushan had sung over 40,000 songs in four languages. He had also won six national awards. He had directed music for over 40 films, and had worked as a dubbing artist, television anchor and even produced movies." 
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  12. ^ "Kerala / Thiruvananthapuram News : S.P.Balasubramaniam shares memories with music buffs". The Hindu. 5 December 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  13. ^ http://cinema.maalaimalar.com/2014/03/25214939/SP-Balasubramaniam-world-recor.html
  14. ^ "SP.Balasubrahmanyam's 67th Birthday". 4 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013. "Today, S.P.Balasubrahmanyam is celebrating his 67th birthday. The man was born on June 4th 1946 into a Brahmin family in Nellore. Balasubrahmanyam started singing from a very young age. After dropping out from an engineering program in JNTU, SPB got his first break in 1966, when he sang for 'Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna' and he has sung over 40,000 songs. The State Government of AP presented the Nandi Award to Balasubrahmanyam 25 times. The Govt. of India honoured him with a 'Padma Bhushan' in 2011 and also presented him with six National Awards." 
  15. ^ Dinathanthi, Nellai Edition, 11 August 2006, p. 11.
  16. ^ "SP Balasubrahmanyam". Artistopia.com. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  17. ^ "S. P. Balasubramanyam – Photos and All Basic Informations". Networkbase.info. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
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  19. ^ "Unnai Charan Adainthaen". The Hindu. 19 September 2003. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
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  22. ^ "Metro Plus Madurai / Events : A medley of sorts". The Hindu. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  23. ^ "Andhra Pradesh / Ongole News : Telugu will thrive forever, says Balu". The Hindu. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  24. ^ "Andhra Pradesh / Hyderabad News : Raja-Lakshmi award for S.P. Balasubrahmanyam". The Hindu. 15 August 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  25. ^ http://www.deccanherald.com/content/201139/of-soulful-strains.html
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  27. ^ http://cinema.maalaimalar.com/2014/03/26213901/mgr-introduce-sp-balasubramani.html+
  28. ^ "Metro Plus Kochi / Columns : KADALPAALAM 1969". The Hindu. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  29. ^ Thakkar, Mehul S (24 May 2013). "Salman’s voice now belongs to Shah Rukh". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  30. ^ T. Krithika Reddy (8 January 2010). "Life & Style / Metroplus : Swinging sixties". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  31. ^ "Directorate of Film Festival". Iffi.nic.in. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  32. ^ [1][dead link]
  33. ^ Dalmia, edited by Vasudha; Sadana, Rashmi. The Cambridge companion to modern Indian culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-0521736183. 
  34. ^ a b "Metro Plus Visakhapatnam / Music : Balu live and lively". The Hindu. 6 March 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  35. ^ Kadam, Prachi (25 February 2010). "I knew Rahman as a toddler: SP Balasubrahmanyam". DNA India. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  36. ^ "HindustanTimes-Print". Hindustan Times. 26 April 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  37. ^ "The Biggest Blockbusters Ever in Hindi Cinema". Box Office India. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  38. ^ "The Beat". The Beat (University of California: Bongo Productions) 11: 71. 1992. 
  39. ^ "Balasubramaniam returns with Chennai Express title track". India Today. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  40. ^ sales@andhravilas.net (26 March 2009). "Chit chat with S. P. Balasubramaniam – Andhravilas.com -Telugu Cinema, Telugu Movies, India News & World News , Bollywood , Songs :". Andhravilas.com. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  41. ^ Chit chat with S. P. Balasubramaniam – Andhravilas.com -Telugu Cinema, Telugu Movies, India News & World News , Bollywood , Songs :. Andhravilas.com (26 March 2009). Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  42. ^ http://www.idlebrain.com/news/2000march20/nandiawards2000.html
  43. ^ http://tamilcinemanews123.blogspot.in/2012/04/spb-and-chinmayi-voice-for-balakrishna_02.html
  44. ^ http://www.sify.com/movies/kannada/review.php?id=14566245&ctid=5&cid=2427
  45. ^ http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/kannada/review/9113.html

External links[edit]