The death of legendary playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam in Chennai on Friday evoked instant outpouring of grief from leading personalities and fans across generations whom he had enthralled since 1966. Thousand of fans, cutting across ages, lined up outside the hospital where he died battling complications from COVID-19, and later at his home in Nungambakkam in Chennai, to pay tearful homage to the singer.
Affectionately called by his fans as SPB and Padum Nila (singing moon), and Balu by his peers, Balasubrahmanyam's mortal remains would be taken to his farmhouse in suburban Red Hills where it will be cremated on Saturday morning. Following an appeal by DMK president to accord him state honour, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that the cremation would take place with police honour.
The last time such an honour was accorded to a film world personality in Tamil Nadu was when thespian Sivaji Ganesan, for whom too SPB had sung many a songs, died almost two decades ago.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among those who paid tributes to the singer and actor, who was died after prolonged hospitalisation of nearly two months.
"With the unfortunate demise of Shri SP Balasubrahmanyam, our cultural world is a lot poorer...A household name across India, his melodious voice and music enthralled audiences for decades. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with his family and admirers," tweeted Modi reflecting the sentiments of his fans.
Several Union ministers, Chief Ministers and tinsel town personalities from across India shared their grief over SPB’s death.
Acclaimed music director Ilayaraja, to whose music SPB had lent his voice in thousands of songs, put out an emotional video message saying there was no limit to his grief.
Actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, for whom SPB delivered several hits, too released videos recalling excellent voice of the singer and that his memories would live on for eternity.