Legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam passes away at the age of 74

S P Balasubrahmanyam singing a song at Alva's Virasat 2015 awardsBCCL
  • The South Indian singing icon Paadum Nila S.P. Balasubrahmanyam passed away today afternoon at the age of 74 after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in August.
  • The six-time National Film Awards winner has recorded over 40,000 songs across 16 different Indian languages, including but not limited to Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindu.
  • Balasubrahmanyam also holds the Guinness World Record for recording the most number of songs in a single day.
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Singing legend, ‘Paadum Nila’ SP Balasubrahmanyam passed away today afternoon at the age of 74 in Chennai’s MGM Healthcare Hospital. According to the medical bulletin, the time of death was recorded at 1:04 pm.

Balasubrahmanyam’s condition deteriorated rapidly last night, and the hospital had shifted him onto maximum life support. The singer’s close friend and actor Kamal Haasan visited the hospital on Thursday night to check in on his health.

In the last update on September 22, his son, SP Charan, shared Balasubrahmanyam was making ‘steady progress’ and undergoing physiotherapy — eager to leave the hospital.

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Balasubrahmanyam initially tested positive for COVID-19 on August 5. He was subsequently admitted into the private hospital in Chennai and shifted onto life support a few days later on August 14.

Members of Sahodaran LGBT community praying for the speedy recovery of playback singer S P Balasubrahmanyam who was admitted to a hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, August 19BCCL

His loss leaves behind a great void, not only in the industry but also in the hearts of his fans.

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SP Balasubrahmanyam’s legacy
The 74-year old is an icon in the industry with a career that spans over nearly half-a-century. During this time Balasubrahmanyam was honored with a Padma Bhushan from the President of India and the Guinness world record for recording the highest number of songs in a single day.

SP Balasubrahmanyam singing a song at TMA Pai International Convention Centre in Mangalore at a music concert organised by Telugu Kala Samithi on Saturday, 20 January 2008BCCL

What many don’t know is that his initial intention in life was not to be a playback singer but an engineer. But fate had something else in store for him.

Without any formal training, the singer made his debut in the 1966 Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna.
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However, his watershed moment was the 1969 release of Adimai Penn. Not only was this another feather in MG Ramachandran’s hat, but the movie also led to Balasubrahmanyam winning the Best Playback Singer singer award from the Tamil Nadu government.


His first national award came after the movie Sankarabharanam, even though all the songs in the Telugu film were based on pure Carnatic ragas.

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Nonetheless, he’s one of the few people in India who has worked with singing icons across generations, from MS Viswanath to AR Rahman.

Singing was his first love, but Balasubhramnayam was no stranger to being on-screen as well. He has acted in various roles, from guest appearances to supporting roles in around 70 movies.

Balasubrahmanyam was fondly known as the ‘Paadum Nila’ or Singing Moon. And his songs will continue to mesmerise generations to come.

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