Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam ( pronunciation ) (Telugu: శ్రీపతి పండితారాధ్యుల బాలసుబ్రహ్మణ్యం, Kannada: ಶ್ರೀಪತಿ ಪಂಡಿತಾರಾಧ್ಯುಲ ಬಾಲಸುಬ್ರಹ್ಮಣ್ಯಂ, Tamil: ஸ்ரீபதி பண்டிடரத்யுல பாலசுப்ரமண்யம்) 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. 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 sung over 40,000 songs in various Indian languages. He has won National Film Awards across four languages as well as a Filmfare Award, three 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.

Early life and background

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

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.

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 "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.

Personal life

Balasubramanyam is married to Savitri and has two children, Pallavi and Charan. Charan is also a playback singer and film producer.

Early career: 1960s–1970s

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. 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 "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. He was then introduced to Malayalam film industry by G. Devarajan in the film Kadalppalam.

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. 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." 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

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. 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. 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.

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.

In 1989, Balasubrahmanyam was the playback singer for Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya. 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. Notable among these was Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! which became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time 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.

1990s

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.

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.

2000s-present

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.

Voice actor

Balasubrahmanyam accidentally became a dubbing artist with Kamal Hassan's film Manmadha Leela, the dubbed Telugu version of Manmadha Leelai. 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. He was awarded Nandi Award for Best Male Dubbing Artist for the films Annamayya and Sri Sai Mahima.

Filmography

As actor

Films

YearFilmLanguageRoleNotes
1969Pellante Noorella PantaTelugu
1971Mohammed Bin TuglaqTamilGuest appearance
1980Pakkinti AmmayiTeluguBala Raju
1982Baalondu ChadurangaKannada
Malle PandiriTeluguSheik Moses Murthy
1983Bharat 2000Kannada
Tirugu BhanaKannada
1987Manathil Uruthi VendumTamilDoctor
1988PremaTeluguAs an advisor to Venkatesh
Vivaha BhojanambuTeluguGuest appearance
KalluTelugu
1990Keladi KanmaniTamilA. R. Rangaraj
Palai Vanna RagangalTamil
1991SigaramTamilDamodar
1992ThyaguTamil
GunaTamilPolice officer
Parvataalu PaanakaluTeluguPaanakalu
ThalaivasalTamilShanmugasundaram
BharathanTamilRamkumar
1993Thiruda ThirudaTamilLakshmi Narayanan CBI
Muddina MaavaKannadaRamayya
1994KadhalanTamilKathiresan
1995Raja HamsaTeluguDoctor, family friend
Paattu PaadavaaTamilGiridharan
1996DrohiTelugu
Kadhal DesamTamilTabu's father
MynaTelugu
Pavitra BandhamTeluguVenkatesh's Father
Avvai ShanmughiTamilGuest appearance
Kandaen SeethayaeTamilPolice officer
1997DevulluTeluguLord Vinayaka
PellivaramandiTeluguHero's father
PrenaTelugu
UllaasamTamilThangiah
RatchaganTamilLIC Padmanabhan
Minsara KanavuTamilThangadurai
NandhiniTamil/TeluguAs himself / Friend of Prakash Raj
1998SandhrbaKannada
UyalaTeluguDoctor
Pelladi ChupistaTeluguAs himself and mentor of Roja
Mangalyam TantunanenaKannadaRavichandran's father
JollyTamilTeacher
Wife of V. VaraprasadTeluguVineeth's grandfather
1999Aaro PranamTeluguFather of hero (Vineeth)
Deergha Sumangali BhavaTeluguFamily friend to Dasari's family
Mechanic MaavaiahTeluguScientist
Paaduta TeeyagaTeluguFather of heroine (Heera)
Pedda ManushuluTelugu
MayaTamil/Telugu/Kannada
2000Goppinti AlluduTeluguBalakrishna's father
Manasu Paddanu KanniTeluguRasi's father
PriyamaanavaleTamilVishwanath
2001ChirujalluTeluguRicha's father
2002IndraTeluguAs HimselfCameo appearance
Padharella AmmayiTelugu
April MaadhathilTamilAs himselfCameo appearance
2003Magic Magic 3DMalayalamAcharya
FoolsTeluguGuest appearance
Maha YedabidangiKannada
2006MayabazaarTeluguLord Kubera
RoommatesTeluguAs himselfCameo appearance
2007Yen Uyirinum MelanaTamilN. Thirumuragan
AstramTeluguRaju Hirwani
KalyanothasavaKannadaRetired army captain
Malle PandiriTelugu
Hetthare Hennanne HerabekuKannadaDr.Dasari Narayana Rao
2010NaanayamTamilCEO Viswanath
2011ShaktiTeluguMahadevaraya's father
2012DevasthanamTeluguSambamurthy
2012MithunamTeluguAppa Dasu

Television

NameLanguageNotes
Nadhi Enge PogiradhuTamilSerial
JannalTamilTV Serial
Vaanam PaadiTamilMusic show
Paadutha TheeyagaTeluguMusic show
Paadalani UndhiTeluguMusic show
Endaro MahanubhavuluTeluguSerial
Ennodu Pattu PaadungalTamilMusic show
Edhe Thumbi HaaduvenuKannadaMusic show

As music composer

YearFilmLanguageDirectorProducer/banner
1977Kanya KumariTeluguDasari Narayana RaoSarigama Arts
1978SandarbhaKannada
1979Captain KrishnaTeluguK. S. R. Das
Ra Ra KrishnayyaTelugu
Thoorpu Velle RailuTeluguBapu
1980Hum Paanch (Background Score)HindiBapuS.K. Films
1981Ohamma KathaTeluguVasanta Sen
SangeetaTelugu
ThaiyyalkaaranTamilKalaipuli International
1983Thudikkum KarangalTamilSridharK. R. Gangadharan
Uranta SankrantiTeluguDasari Narayana Rao
1984BharyamaniTeluguVijaya BapineeduSrinivasa Productions
Mantri Gaari ViyyankuduTeluguBapu
Seetamma PelliTeluguBapuMuddu Art Movies
1985Bangaru ChilakaTeluguMaheswari Movies
BulletTelugu
DevaralledaneKannadaChamundi Production
Dongallo DoraTelugu
JockeyTeluguMuddu Art Movies
KongumudiTeluguVijaya BapineeduRaghavendra Cine Creations
MayuriTamilSingeetam Srinivasa RaoB.R. Creations in association with ushakiran movies
MayuriTeluguSingeetam Srinivasa RaoUsha Kiran Movies
Muddula ManavaraluTeluguJandhyalaMuddu Art Movies
1986BeteKannadaVajragiri Films
MaghadeeruduTeluguShyam Prasad Arts
Naach MayuriHindiLakshmi Productions
Padamati Sandhya RagamTeluguJandhyalaGummaluri Sastry, Meer Abdulla
SowbhagyalakshmiKannadaBhargavaVasu Chitra
1987GouthamiTeluguRadha Madhava Films
Lawyer SuhasiniTeluguVamsyJayakrishna Combines
PratimaTelugu
RamuTeluguSuresh Productions
1988Chinnodu PeddoduTeluguRelangi Narasimha RaoSridevi Movies
KalluTeluguM. V. RaghuMahashakthi Films
Neeku Naaku PellantaTeluguJandhyalaJ.J. Movies
Oh Bharya KathaTeluguMouliUshakiron Movies
PremayanamTeluguUshakiron Movies
Ramanna ShyamannaKannadaB. SubbaraoVasu Chitra
Vivaaha BhojanambuTeluguJandhyalaJ.J. Movies
1990SiddarthaTelugu
1991MahayagnamTelugu
SigaramTamilAnanthuKavithalaya Productions
Jaitra YatraTeluguSravanti Movies
1992Belliyappa BanagarappaKannadaPoorna PrajnaMadhu Bangarappa
Ksheera SaagaraKannadaSingeetam Srinivasa Rao
1993Muddina MaavaKannadaOm Sai PrakashVijaya Sridevi Combines
2003Unnai CharanadaindhenTamilSamuthirakaniCapital Cine Works

External links

  • S. P. Balasubrahmanyam at the Internet Movie Database