The funeral of veteran singer, actor and music director SP Balasubrahmanyam was held in Chennai on Saturday afternoon with a 72-gun salute by the Tamil Nadu Police, NDTV reported. The legendary playback singer died at a private hospital in the city on Friday. He was 74.
The ceremony was held amid elaborate security arrangements. Earlier in the day, his fans gathered outside the singer’s Red Hills Farmhouse in Thiruvallur district, where his body was kept.
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader D Jayakumar and Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister Anil Kumar Yadav were among those who attended the funeral. Several others, including actor Vijay, director Bharathiraja, singer Mano, music composer Devi Sri Prasad and comedian Mayilsamy, attended the funeral.
Balasubrahmanyam, who recorded over 40,000 songs, was hospitalised at MGM Healthcare in August after he tested positive for the coronavirus. He tested negative on September 4, but he was put on ventilator support after his condition deteriorated. He died after suffering a cardio-respiratory arrest at 1.04 pm on Friday, the hospital said.
The singer has won six National Film Awards, and received the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2011.
Born Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam on June 4, 1946, in Nellore, he trained as an engineer but pursued his interest in singing throughout college. In 1966, he sang his first film song for the Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. Over the years, he became one of southern cinema’s busiest playback singers. He performed with some of the most well-known music composers in the business, including MS Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja, KV Mahadevan, Hamsalekha and AR Rahman. In 1981, he sang in a Hindi film for the first time, for K Balachander’s Ek Duje Ke Liye. Scored by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Ek Duje Ke Liye resulted in further assignments for Balasubrahmanyam in Hindi films later, including, notably, films starring Salman Khan in the late 1980s and the 1990s.
Balasubrahmanyam was also an actor, dubbing artist and music composers. He appeared in roles in Manathil Uruthi Vendum (1987), Keladi Kanmani (1990), Sigaram (1990), Thiruda Thiruda (1993), Kadhalan (1994) and Kadhal Desam (1996).