S. P. Balasubrahmanyam

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S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam in 2013.JPG
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam in 2013
Background information
Birth name Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam
Born (1946-06-04) 4 June 1946 (age 71)[1]
Nellore, Madras Presidency, British India (Andhra Pradesh, India)[2][3][4]
Genres Playback singing
Occupation(s) Singer, actor, music director, film producer
Years active 1965–present

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (About this sound pronunciation ; born 4 June 1946) 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 Record for recording the most of songs.[1][5][6] He has garnered six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer and twenty five Nandi Awards for his works towards Telugu cinema.[7][8][9][10] In 2012, He received the Andhra Pradesh state NTR National Award for his contributions to Indian cinema.[11]

He has recorded over 40,000 songs in various Indian languages.[12] He has won National Film Awards across four languages, as well as a Bollywood Filmfare Award, six 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.[13] In 2016, he was honoured with the inaugural Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the year at the 47th International Film Festival of India.[14][15] In 2017, he was facilitated with the "Kala Pradarshini Ghantasala Puraskar" in the inaugural edition of the awards, instituted by Kalaimamani Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, renowned Bharathanatyam artist, who is the daughter-in-law of the legendary Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao. These were the first of awards instituted directly by the Ghantasala family on the occasion of the GHANTASALA 95.

Early life and background[edit]

Balasubrahmanyam was born in the Nagari Chittor District, Andhra Pradesh, India to a Brahmin Family.[2][3][4] Balasubrahmanyam's father was a Harikatha artist who had also acted in plays.[16] He has two brothers and five sisters, including singer S.P. Sailaja.[17][18][19]

Balasubrahmanyam developed an interest towards 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.[12][20]

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).[21] He was selected as the best singer in a singing competition which was judged by S. P. Kodandapani and Ghantasala.[22][23] 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.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Balasubramanyam is married to Savitri and has two children, a daughter Pallavi,[25][26] and a son S. P. B. Charan, also a playback singer and film producer.[27][28]



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.[29][30] 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.[31][32] He recorded his first Tamil song "Eyarkai Ennum Illaya Kanni" in the 1969 film Shanti Nilayam, starring Gemini Ganesan. He sang "Aayiram Nilavae Vaa" for M.G.R in the Tamil film Adimaippenn.[33] He was then introduced to the Malayalam film industry by G. Devarajan in the film Kadalppalam.[34]

He has the rare distinction of rendering the most 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.[6] 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."[35][36] 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.

International recognition: 1980s[edit]

Balasubrahmanyam pictured in 1985

Balasubrahmanyam came to international prominence with the 1980 filmSankarabharanam. The film is considered to be one of the best films ever to emerge from the Telugu film industry.[37][38] 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.[39] 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.[9]

Balasubrahmanyam began to record more songs in Tamil, especially for Ilaiyaraaja with S.Janaki, the trio considered to be highly successful in the Tamil film industry from the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s in Telugu films. The songs were based on classical music, such as in 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.[40]

In 1989, Balasubrahmanyam was the playback singer for Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya.[41] 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.[42] Notable among these was Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! which became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time[43] Balasubrahmanyam's duet with Lata Mangeshkar, "Didi Tera Devar Deewana", was very popular. This solidified Balasubrahmanyam as one of the biggest playback singers in India.[44]


In the 1990s, he worked with composers such as Vidyasagar, M. M. Keeravani, S. A. Rajkumar and Deva among others, 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.[40]

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 the songs in the musical love story Duet, and sang "Thanga Thaamarai" from Minsara Kanavu, which fetched his sixth and latest of his National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer till date.


SPB on concerts-2014

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.[45]

Voice actor[edit]

Balasubrahmanyam accidentally became a dubbing artist with Kamal Haasan's film Manmadha Leela, the dubbed Telugu version of Manmadha Leelai.[46] 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 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.[47] He was awarded the Nandi Award for Best Male Dubbing Artist for the films Annamayya and Sri Sai Mahima.[48] He dubbed for Nandamuri Balakrishna for the Tamil version of the movie Sri Rama Rajyam in 2012.[49] He also dubbed for Ben Kingsley in the Telugu-dubbed version of Gandhi.[50]


Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Wish singer SPB on his birthday today". The Times of India. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "IndiaGlitz - Happy birthday to Balu - Hollywood Movie News". 
  3. ^ a b "The Maestro Comes to Town". 
  4. ^ a b "Dr.S.P.Balu's News". 
  5. ^ "S.P. Balasubramanyam - The Man Who Broke The Guiness Book Of Records". 
  6. ^ a b "S P Balasubramaniam". FilmiBeat. 
  7. ^ "Friday Review Hyderabad / Events : The stars shimmered bright". The Hindu. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "SPB to be honoured". Sify.com. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Entertainment Hyderabad / Events : In honour of a legend". The Hindu. 3 February 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Pehla Pehla Pyar by S.P. Balasubramaniam Songfacts". 
  11. ^ Correspondent, Special. "S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Hema Malini bag NTR awards". 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ 26 January 2011 DC Correspondent New Delhi (26 January 2011). "SPB wins Padma Bhushan, no Bharat Ratna this year". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  14. ^ India, Press Trust of (20 November 2016). "SP Balasubrahmanyam honoured with centenary award" – via Business Standard. 
  15. ^ "Have lost count of songs sung, says record holder S.P. Balasubrahmanyam". 20 November 2016. 
  16. ^ Suganthy Krishnamachari (26 August 2010). "Arts / Music : Motivating, musically". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  17. ^ "Kerala / Thiruvananthapuram News : S.P.Balasubramaniam shares memories with music buffs". The Hindu. 5 December 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  18. ^ "Tamil Cinema news - Tamil Movies - Cinema seithigal". 
  19. ^ "Rumours Rife on SPB Health". 
  20. ^ "SP.Balasubrahmanyam's 67th Birthday". 4 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013. Today, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam is celebrating his 67th birthday. He was born on 4 June 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 award in 2011 and also presented him with six National Awards. 
  21. ^ Dinathanthi, Nellai Edition, 11 August 2006, p. 11.
  22. ^ "SP Balasubrahmanyam". Artistopia.com. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  23. ^ "S. P. Balasubramanyam – Photos and All Basic Informations". Networkbase.info. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  24. ^ "Arts / Music : An unsung genius". The Hindu. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  25. ^ "Unnai Charan Adainthaen". The Hindu. 19 September 2003. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  26. ^ "Tamil Cinema news - Tamil Movies - Cinema seithigal". 
  27. ^ "The cup of joy called friendship". The Hindu. 13 January 2004. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  28. ^ "Metro Plus Madurai / Events : A medley of sorts". The Hindu. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  29. ^ "Andhra Pradesh / Ongole News : Telugu will thrive forever, says Balu". The Hindu. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  30. ^ "Andhra Pradesh / Hyderabad News : Raja-Lakshmi award for S.P. Balasubrahmanyam". The Hindu. 15 August 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  31. ^ "Of soulful strains". Deccan Herald. 
  32. ^ "S. P. Balasubrahmanyam - Wiki Article". 
  33. ^ "Tamil Cinema news - Tamil Movies - Cinema seithigal". 
  34. ^ "Metro Plus Kochi / Columns : KADALPAALAM 1969". The Hindu. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  35. ^ Thakkar, Mehul S (24 May 2013). "Salman's voice now belongs to Shah Rukh". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  36. ^ T. Krithika Reddy (8 January 2010). "Life & Style / Metroplus : Swinging sixties". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  37. ^ "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF). Iffi.nic.in. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  38. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140429061825/http://www.aatapaatalu.net/2011/04/spl-interview-with-edida-nageswararao.html. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. ^ Dalmia, edited by Vasudha; Sadana, Rashmi (2012-04-05). The Cambridge companion to modern Indian culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-0521736183. 
  40. ^ a b "Metro Plus Visakhapatnam / Music : Balu live and lively". The Hindu. 6 March 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  41. ^ Kadam, Prachi (25 February 2010). "I knew Rahman as a toddler: SP Balasubrahmanyam". DNA India. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  42. ^ "HindustanTimes-Print". Hindustan Times. 26 April 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  43. ^ "The Biggest Blockbusters Ever in Hindi Cinema". Box Office India. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  44. ^ "The Beat". The Beat. University of California: Bongo Productions. 11: 71. 1992. 
  45. ^ "Balasubramaniam returns with Chennai Express title track". India Today. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  46. ^ 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. 
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ "Telugu Cinema Etc - Idlebrain.com". 
  49. ^ "SPB and Chinmayi voice for Balakrishna and Nayanthara in Sri Rama Rajyam movie - Tamil Cinema News - Latest News on Kollywood". 
  50. ^ "SPB, naturally". The Hindu. 27 March 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 

External links[edit]