S. P. Balasubrahmanyam Biography: Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam is a prolific vocalist and actor from India. In the media, he is also known as S. P. B. and Balu.
Born in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was reared by a Telugu Brahmin family. His mother, Sakunthalamma, passed away in 2019, and his father was a Harikatha artist and actor. Balasubrahmanyam developed an early interest in music and enrolled at the JNTU College of Engineering Anantapur in order to become an engineer. During his engineering studies, he continued to pursue music and won prizes in singing competitions.
The Telugu Cultural Organisation sponsored a singing competition for amateurs in 1964, where he won first place. In a singing competition, Balasubrahmanyam was chosen as the top singer. His first audition song was “Nilave Ennidam Nerungadhe,” composed by seasoned playback vocalist P. B. Sreenivas.
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam Career
As a youth, Balusubrahmanyam took up singing as a hobby. While listening to his father, he studied musical notation and taught himself how to play instruments such as the harmonium and flute. His father’s desire for Balu to become an engineer led him to Ananthpur, where he enrolled in JNTU’s Engineering programme. Later, he dropped out of school due to typhus and joined AMIE. During this time, he also pursued his hobby and won numerous singing competitions. There, he was recognised as a talented singer during annual college events. Some acquaintances encouraged him to perform in Madras and provided him with referrals. In 1964, a Telugu Cultural Organisation based in Madras organised a singing competition for amateurs. The fact that Balu won first place was a turning point in his life. The music director SP Kodandapani adopted him. Then, offers from Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam films flooded in.
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam Personal Life
Balasubrahmanyam married Savithri in 1969, and they have two children, Pallavi and S. P. Charan, who is also a playback performer and film producer.
S. P. Kodandapani, who gave Balasubrahmanyam his first vocal contract and mentored him in his early career, was regarded by him as his guru. Throughout his existence, he would reflect on him and frequently pay tribute to him. He gave his recording studio his name. He also christened his film production company Sri Kodandapani Film Circuits in his honour.
On 5 August 2020, Balasubrahmanyam was confined to MGM Healthcare in Chennai after testing positive for COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic in India. His health subsequently deteriorated, and he was transferred to the intensive care unit in a critical condition. He required the assistance of a ventilator and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). It is stated that his condition worsened due to his age (74 years) and numerous comorbidities (such as diabetes). His son Charan provided periodic updates via social media, while members of the Tamil film industry prayed via Zoom on 20 August and admirers held candlelight vigils outside the hospital.
Similarly, many actors and actresses in the Telugu film industry exhorted people to pray for his life, and many Tollywood composers have also organised virtual mass prayers. On September 4, 2020, members of the Kannada film industry gathered for another mass prayer in Bengaluru. Balasubrahmanyam tested negative for the coronavirus on September 7, 2020, despite his continued use of a ventilator and ECMO. He began exhibiting indicators of recovery, such as speech and physical activity. However, on September 24, the hospital issued a statement stating that he had become “extremely critical” and was on “maximal life support.”
After more than a month of hospitalisation, Balasubrahmanyam passed away on September 25, 2020, at 1:04 p.m. (IST) due to cardiorespiratory arrest. He was interred with state honours at his farm residence in Thamaraipaakkam, Thiruvallur district, on September 26, 2020.