I had never quit singing: SP Balasubramaniam

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    » I had never quit singing: SP Balasubramaniam

    The first time the title track of Chennai Express
    played on television sets, it tugged at our nostalgic chords. For those of us
    who grew up in the ’90s, the familiarity made us smile. After all, the
    melodious voice of SP Balasubramaniam enthralled us through the ‘80s and
    ‘90s, especially with Salman Khan hits from the films Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum
    Aapke Hain Koun!, Saajan, Baaghi, Love and so on. Now, music composers
    Vishal-Shekhar have brought the voice back. Shekhar Ravjiani says, “When we
    were composing music for Chennai Express, we thought we should have a touch
    of the South in the songs as well. We are huge fans of Balasubramaniam, and
    decided to approach him.”

    When we ask Balasubramaniam if
    it took much prompting from the music directors to bring him back to
    Bollywood, he has a simple answer. “My job is to sing. I don’t need to be
    prompted at all. If I don’t like the song after going to the recording studio
    and listening to it, I simply excuse myself. This time, I liked the song and
    went ahead with it,” says the 67-year-old
    composer-singer-actor.

    Clearly, ever since he last sang
    for Bollywood, the industry has changed. “Things are different. For instance,
    I feel technology is overused now. Yet, it is heartening that some wonderful
    songs are composed even today,” he says.

    An engineering
    student from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, Balasubramaniam made his playback
    debut in 1963 after winning a singing contest in Chennai.

    The MGR film, Adimai Penn, launched him in 1969. He went on to sing for
    various Tamil, Kannada and Telugu films. “A good singer is one who, after the
    basic training, adapts to any style and situation,” says Balasubramaniam.
    When K Balachander decided to remake his Telugu film Maro Charitra in Hindi
    as Ek Duuje Ke Liye, with Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri as lead actors, he
    decided to rope in Balasubramaniam as well. The film became a musical success
    and Balasubramaniam won many awards. It was then that Balasubramaniam decided
    to stay back in Bollywood and lent his voice to more actors of the time.
    Another reason why Balasubramaniam sang Bollywood songs was the quality of
    composers. “All composers and lyricists had an individual style then. You
    listened to a song, and you could identify the creator,” he says. It was
    around this time that Salman Khan was roped in by Sooraj Barjatya to play the
    lead character in Maine Pyar Kiya. Balasubramaniam was signed on to be the
    actor’s voice in all his songs thereon. The film was a hit and filmmakers
    thronged to rope on Balasubramaniam for most of Khan’s films. “I, however,
    did not put any special effort to sing a song for any actor in a particular
    way. I act and emote with my voice the rest is in the hands of the artiste,
    director and the crew to project it successfully on the big screen,” he
    says.

    Balasubramaniam, a successful voice by then,
    returned to the South during the late ’90s. Was it the change in film music
    or was it the introduction of new voices that made him quit the Hindi film
    industry? “I did not quit. There were no offers from Bollywood,” he says
    humbly. But the South still welcomed him.

    “Irrespective of
    the language, I still record at least one song a day even today,” he says.
    Over the years, he even turned to composing and acting. However, singing
    remains his first love. He has no plans of shifting base to Bollywood, nor
    does he want to avoid singing here. “I never plan anything. I want to give my
    best today. Tomorrow is another day. I do not have goals and take things as
    they come. My only wish is to quit when I am not able to do justice to a
    composition,” he says. 

    Via: Entertainment

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