Homages by Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth and Chithra in book being released on the singer’s first death anniversary
On September 25 last year, Indian music lost one of its greatest singers with the death of S.P. Balasubrahmanyam. He may have rendered most of his popular songs in Tamil, but he had a huge fan-following in Kerala too.
One of his admirers, K.P. Sudheera, a writer of fiction in Malayalam, has come up with a book about the much-loved singer. It will be released on Saturday, on his first death anniversary.
SPB: Pattinte Kadalazham, brought out by Honey Comb Publishers, runs into more than 400 pages and contains a biography of SPB, homages to him from those who worked with him, such as actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, lyricists Vairamuthu and Sreekumaran Thampi and singers K.S. Chithra and Mano, as well as translations of some of his songs in Tamil and Hindi.
“SPB has been one of my favourite singers and we used to talk over phone,” says Sudheera. “It is my regret that I could never meet him, though I had known him for more than a decade. When he passed away last year, I felt I needed to write about him. I have been working on the book for the last 11 months.”
She says many of SPB’s friends and colleagues were happy to share their memories of the legend with her. “People like Kamal, Rajinikanth, Vairamuthu and Chithra readily agreed to speak to me over phone,” she says. “I would have loved to meet them in person, but that wasn’t possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic. SPB’s close friend G.V. Murali helped me a lot while I worked on the book.”
Among the highlights of the book are the glowing tributes paid by Kamal, Chithra and Vairamuthu. Everyone knows that SPB sang many of the songs Kamal lip-synced to, but Kamal speaks about how the singer also dubbed for the actor in Telugu films despite his busy schedule.
In Chithra’s moving tribute, she talks of her experiences of sharing the stage with SPB and his humility, kindness, and sense of humour as well as her interaction with him shortly before his death after contracting COVID-19.