The videos are being shared by his legion of fans who find it difficult to come to terms with the singer’s passing.
As scores of fans continue to mourn the demise of legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, many recollected their memories and shared their favourite ‘SPB moments’ online. They paid tribute not only to his incomparable music but also his legacy as a humane and compassionate person.
One such instance of SPB’s humility and generosity which has gone viral is the late singer surprising his fan, a Sri Lankan Tamil man who lost his eyesight in a bomb explosion in Sri Lanka. The incident happened last year. Mathimaran, a law lecturer, who moved to Malaysia from the war-torn island nation found it difficult to come to terms with the reality. During this time, he sought comfort in music, particularly SPB songs.
Maran was brought to the studio by Raaghav Productions, the organisers, who had arranged for the meeting on the pretext of recording a fan message for SPB. As Maran expresses his love for SPB and starts singing ‘Chinna pura ondru’ from maestro Ilaiyaraaja’s Anbe Sangeetha album, SPB quietly comes close to him and continues singing the song.
This video of SPB fulfilling the wish of an ardent fan who wanted to meet him at least once in his life, has now gone viral.
Similarly, in another incident which displays his extreme benevolence, he is seen coming to the rescue of his colleague during a concert. While performing the hugely popular ‘Ilaya Nila’ song, the flautist jumbles up the flutes and misses his part. Before the audience realises the mistake, SPB promptly hums the tune as a replacement for the flute portion and keeps the audience entertained as he completes the entire song. But as the flautist is still upset about the mess, SPB explains to the audience the difficulty in playing the flute and urges the artist to play the missed portion again so that he can show his talent and be at ease.
SPB was born in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. Though he has sung in several languages, he made his debut in 1967 with the Telugu film Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. Besides being a singer, he is known for tweaking his voice to suit the artist he was singing for. But another lesser known talent he possessed was mimicry. A fan shared SPB singing the evergreen ‘Thaali Kattu Subhavela’ song to illustrate how he does live mimicry besides singing the song without any strain.
Joining the fans in cherishing their favourite SPB memories, Academy Award winner AR Rahman also paid homage to the singer. Recalling how talented he was, Rahman said that SPB would learn a song in 15 minutes and sing it in just 10 minutes and move to another song. “I don’t think I have seen a singer like that — so quick, so professional and so humble,” ARR said.