Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu recollects his decades-old affiliation with S.P. Balasubramanyam.
The devastating information of the passing away of the legendary playback singer, S.P. Balasubramanyam has left me shattered and shell-shocked. I’m benumbed and phrases fail me as I wrestle to precise my deep anguish. Like tens of millions of individuals throughout the globe, my spouse, Ushamma and I, prayed fervently for his speedy restoration. We hoped that he would win this battle towards the dreaded Coronavirus. Alas! The merciless hand of future has snatched away ever-smiling Balu from us.
I get up each morning and get rejuvenated by listening to Annamacharya Keertans and devotional songs of late Sri Ghantasala Venkatasewara Rao and Sripathi Panditharadhyula Balsubramanyam. This has been my routine for a few years. The phrases that Balu is not any extra has left a void in me. How can my morning routine be the identical with out listening to your mellifluous voice, Balu?
Ever since I got here to learn about his hospitalisation, I’ve been in fixed contact, initially with Balu and later together with his relations. It turned my every day routine to hunt updates on his well-being. I used to be often in contact with the medical doctors who have been treating him at MGM hospital. For the previous many days, the medical doctors stored me knowledgeable on how he was dealing with the aftermath of contracting the virus. I need to praise the medical doctors for doing their finest.
S. P. Balasubramanyam being felicitated for getting into 50th yr of his singing profession. Photo courtesy @MVenkaiahNaidu/Twitter.
During the preliminary days of his remedy, I felt joyful when the medical doctors advised me that he was enhancing and responding to remedy. They knowledgeable me that they have been taking recommendation of consultants from Mayo Clinic and Boston Medical University and used to replace me on their line of remedy too. Upon my suggestion, they took the recommendation of main pulmonologists in South India. When the medical doctors knowledgeable me of the necessity for physiotherapy remedy for Balu, I had spoken to Apollo Hospitals Group Chairman, Dr C. Pratap Reddy for arranging the machine.
Balu’s son, Charan was additionally in fixed contact with me, briefing about his well being situation.
Four days in the past, it got here as a aid when the medical doctors advised me that he was progressing and responding to the remedy. They mentioned that he was spending time with relations by chatting with them. I used to be relieved on listening to this as initially his communication was solely by means of gestures or by writing down his ideas on a chunk of paper.
I used to be advised that he had lately expressed his want to watch TV as he was a eager cricket fanatic. On getting these updates a number of days in the past, I felt assured that he would pull by means of. All this made me not believe the information that he’s no extra when it was damaged to me. I can barely keep composed and acquire my ideas. Memories come flooding to me, unable as I’m to deal with this sudden tragedy.
I’ve all the time had a particular affinity in the direction of Balu… it might be as a result of the truth that I knew him since childhood or as a result of he hailed from my village in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh or for his humility, dedication and arduous work, which he imbibed from his father, late Sri Sripathi Panditaradhyula Sambamurthy, who was a harikatha artiste and an amazing musician. Sri Sambamurthy used to organise Thyagaraja music festivals and invite eminent musicians. It was an amazing alternative to me and music lovers of Nellore to hear and benefit from the music of legends like D.Ok. Pattamal, M.S. Subbalakshmi, Chambai Vaidyanathan Iyer, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, Violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman, Veena skilled Chitti Babu, vocalist M.L. Vasanthakumari, eminent percussionist T.Ok. Murthy and others. It might be any or a mixture of all these causes which endeared Balu to me. I’ll miss him personally in methods past the pale of language — such is the deep bond I shared with him.
With his pleasant disposition, Balu was equally affectionate in the direction of me each time we interacted. We used to go down the reminiscence lane and get nostalgic.
His conversations was once interspersed with fascinating anecdotes, which I cherish.
Our love for Telugu language and Bharatiya Samskrithi ( Indian tradition) was one of many frequent components that additional cemented our bonding.
Balu was an establishment by himself. Undoubtedly, he was like a binding pressure, an overarching bridge between the previous and current generations. He was a mentor par excellence and a genteel information for the youthful era. Not solely did he earn title and fame globally as a flexible singer, however was equally comfy in donning the greasepaint. He slipped effortlessly into the supporting characters he had enacted. The incontrovertible fact that he lent his voice to main actors from the sixties until lately and in several languages speaks volumes of his brilliance. He had the distinctive present of modulating his voice to swimsuit the actor’s persona. Voice modulation was his forte.
Apart from Telugu, he has sung in lots of languages, together with Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.
The Telugu folks particularly and the world of music basically will likely be indebted to Balu for unearthing recent and hidden singing expertise by means of the favored programme of Padutha Theeyaga patronized by Ch. Ramo Rao, Chairman, Eenadu Group and telecast on ETV for a few years. The soft-spoken Balu all the time used to encourage the budding performers by subtly correcting them in a pleasant method. It was an amazing high quality of this iconic persona. I can always remember the second once I offered the centenary award to Balu on the inauguration of the 47th International Film Festival of India in Panaji, Goa 2016.
It will likely be troublesome to me and tens of millions of his followers to simply accept the truth that Balu’s voice has fallen silent. Om Shanti!
(M. Venkaiah Naidu is the Vice-President of India)