SP Balasubrahmanyam passes away: Singer's music was a lesson in decoding custom whereas retaining with the instances – The News Everyday

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He can have voiced a music instructor in Sankarabharnam and a dancer in Salangai Oli, however inadvertently, SPB set me on a path that traversed Indian and Western music.

Growing up in a Tamilian family means having music taking part in in the home. All. The. Time. Perhaps the one situations when it might not be the case, was when utilizing the mixer-grinder or answering trunk calls that routinely heightened our decibel ranges.

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Film music can usually be simpler on the untrained ears than classical vocals, but with SP Balasubrahmanyam it was like a subliminal lesson in decoding custom whereas retaining with the instances. To assume {that a} playback singer with no coaching in classical music would so seamlessly be the directing voice of so many movies steeped in classical music, says one thing about SPB (as he was identified)’s potential to mould his voice.

Most of us who grew up in ’90s Mumbai on a gentle dose of Hindi movies and had been acquainted with SP Balasubrahmanyam’s voice, knew it was synonymous with Salman Khan’s Rajshri hits. From Maine Pyaar Kiya to the vastly fashionable Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, SPB bought Salman’s intonation so completely that the one time we might inform the 2 aside was if his South Indian accents slipped in.

By the time he turned a reputation to reckon with in 1980-’90s Mumbai, he already had a wealthy musical legacy, and so every thing he did after that was simply surplus.


Although it had been a few years since Sankarabharnam (1980) launched by the point I used to be born, the soundtrack continued to seek out a lot airplay through a reel-to-reel system at residence. Classical music (each Carnatic and Hindustani) was such an intrinsic a part of our upbringing, that movie music, particularly these primarily based on classical music are “elders-approved”, as a result of they change into an effective way to introduce the youthful era to the aesthetics of musical disciplines with out being overwhelmed by their complexities. This was “inception” earlier than Christopher Nolan taught us the phrase. The food regimen is so wealthy in these “raga-based” songs that after we lastly sit right down to study music, we realise that already know a variety of the notes/chords.

So, the Holy Trinity of classical music-based South Indian movies at residence noticed Sankarabharnam (Telugu), Sindhu Bhairavi (Tamil) and Salangai Oli (initially Sagara Sangamam in Telugu) being performed on loop. Those 5 years between Sankarabharnam and Salangai Oli created a better imprint in my thoughts than the Salman years that coincided with my era.  They say the early impressions of music on a baby have a long-lasting impression via the grownup years as properly. Over the years, I’ve come to grasp that a lot of my understanding of classical music finds its roots within the movie songs of SP Balasubrahmanyam.

SP Balasubrahmanyam handed away on 25 September in a personal hospital in Chennai.

He went on to win many extra accolades and recognition over time, however his vocal prowess in Sankarabharnam is probably his biggest movie achievement. Classical legend Balamuralikrishna was to lend his voice to the lead character Sastri, earlier than a hardcore playback singer was picked to voice the part. And to assume that he adopted that up with Saagara Sangamam is testimony to his genius.

One of my earliest reminiscences of casually studying music concerned repeating notes after my mom — Sa-Ri-Ga-Ri, Ga-Pa-Da-Pa from Sankarabharnam. If you’ve watched the film, you’d know precisely which scene. I, after all, had no concept it was from the film till some years later. The track would play and Amma would pause after every line and sing it slower till I understood. And I might try and match her pitch. We would sing alongside to ‘Broche Varevu Ra,’ once more Amma singing as Sastri and I might be the coed. The songs of the movie gave nice scope for repeating traces provided that the plot revolved round a guru and his relationship along with his shishya. We would effortlessly sing in Telugu though we didn’t know a phrase of it in any other case.

My father would lounge on the sofa singing ‘Manasa Sanchara Re’ whereas studying something from the newspaper to Anna Karenina, because the whiff of filter espresso crammed the air. Till date neither of us can hearken to ‘Dorakuna Ituvanti Seva’ with out being moved to tears by the tip of it. In the film, Sastri sings the track earlier than falling unwell halfway. His pupil then picks up from where he left and continues ‘Dorakuna Ituvanti Seva,’ which loosely interprets to “Can I ever have the privilege of serving you”, thus symbolically taking up the mantel.

A still from Telugu movie Sankarabharnam, which SP Balasubrahmanyam had referred to as “an epic journey in my life.”

When I sat down for my first Hindustani vocal lesson in entrance of the legendary Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar, his thoughts was looking for a easy track for the Tamilian woman. In his infinite knowledge he determined, Na Manogo To Dungi Tohe Gari Re from Nivdung (1989) could be easy sufficient for an eight-year-old. The language was fully unfamiliar to my damaged understanding of purposeful Marathi and I used to be slightly unversed within the faculty of Hindustani classical music at that time. Add to this the sight of the illustrious Asha Bhosle leaning in opposition to the room door as you study one in every of her personal songs; you’ll be able to think about the state of affairs is each unbelievably superb and immensely daunting.

As Panditji concluded the track, he earnestly requested me if I grasped something in any respect. And I stated, “All I know if that this song is in Hindolam.”

“This is Malkauns,” he corrected, puzzled.

I checked out my mom for reconfirmation, who fortunately defined, “Raag Malkauns in Hindustani is Ragam Hindolam in Carnatic music.”

Impressed, he requested if I’ve been coaching in Carnatic music, and I stated, “No uncle, I know it from the movie Sankarabharnam.”  And I sang the opening traces of Samaja Vara Gamana from the movie, earlier than Asha Bhosle stated “Arre, yeh toh SPB ka gaana hai.”

The film is a good introduction to Carnatic classical music, with SPB’s golden voice being a compelling information to the wealthy custom that backs the movie’s soundtrack. He can have voiced a music instructor in Sankarabharnam and a classically educated dancer in Salangai Oli, however inadvertently and maybe via windfall, he set me on a path that traversed numerous languages and disciplines of Indian and Western music.

Now as I write his obituary, I’m overwhelmed with emotion and the one phrases that reverberate in my head are Dorakuna Ituvanti Seva?

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[Attribution Firstpost.]

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