The void left by the unfortunate and untimely demise of legendary playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, better known as SPB, has left a deep impact on his close companion and music director Ilayaraja.
In a tribute video, Ilayaraja, visibly upset and struggling to speak, said ‘this sadness was unfathomable and endless.’
“Balu, wake up from this slumber. I wait to see you. Where have you gone? Have you left to sing among the immortals? The world is a vacuum without you. I cannot speak,” a trembling Ilayaraja said.
The Ilayaraja-SPB friendship is five decades old. SPB used to enthusiastically recollect their old days in Chennai – they used to ride a two-wheeler and entertain wedding crowds with film songs. A programme would fetch them Rs.200-250. SPB was the main singer and Ilayaraja and his siblings would handle the orchestra.
The bond only grew as their careers rose meteorically. The duo made over 2,000 songs, all mesmerizing ones. They had minor skirmishes but the friendship overrode it all.
The Ilayaraja-SPB duo was once a success mantra in the industry and all film-makers waited to get their dates in tandem. It was an age of films wherein the music was the hinge on which the story revolved. Moreover, the Ilayaraja-SPB combo in the credits ensured sure-shot success in the box office.
The industry was but well aware of the different personalities that SPB and Ilayaraja were. SPB personified humility and compassion who never hesitated to compliment and praise his fellow-singers and accompanying artists.