Tollywood singers



He was born as Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam into an orthodox Saivite family on June 4, 1946 in Konetammapeta (then in Madras Presidency and now in Andhra Pradesh). He is the second son in a large family of three sons and five daughters. His father S. P. Sambamurthy was a well-known exponent of Harikatha and his sister S.P. Sailaja is a former actress-singer in Telugu.

Balu took to singing as a hobby during his childhood. He developed an interest in music very early in his life, and had studied notations and learnt to play instruments such as harmonium and flute on his own while listening to his father. His father wished that Balu should become an engineer which brought him to Ananthpur, where he enrolled for the AMIE course in JNTU. Meanwhile, he also pursued his hobby and won awards at many singing competitions. From there he had identified as a good singer in annual, college functions where he use to sing and then referred and recommended by his friends for Madras, to sing.

Balusubrahmanyam took to singing as a hobby during his childhood. He developed an interest in music very early in his life, and had studied notations and learnt to play instruments such as harmonium and flute on his own while listening to his father.He is also a classical singer,learnt classics in his early childhood with his mothers co operation. He refines in carnatic music. His father wanted Balu to become an engineer; this brought him to Ananthpur, where he enrolled for the Engineering course in JNTU. Later he discontinued the course due to typhoid and then joined AMIE. Meanwhile, he also pursued his hobby and won awards at many singing competitions. There he was identified as a good singer in annual college programmes where he used to sing. Some friends recommended that he sing in Madras and provided him with referrals.

In 1964, a Madras-based Telugu Cultural Organisation, organized a music competition for amateur singers. Balu won the first prize, and that proved a turning point in his life. Music director SP Kodandapani took him under his wing. Offers then poured in from Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam movies.

His Marriage

When he was 21, he fell in love with the daughter of the owner of the house he was staying on rent. His parents objected to their union as the girl was of same “Gothram” (lineage), as this was prohibited in conservative Brahmin families. They eloped and got married at Simhachalam, Andhra Pradesh, accompanied by Ilaiyaraaja,Bhaskar,Anirutta and Gangai Amaren, who were his best friends.              His wife’s name is Savithri. The early days of the couple at Chennai was very difficult and tough. The couple have two children namely Pallavi and Charan, who have a production company named Capital Film Works. Charan’s voice almost resembles S.P.B’s voice.

His band

Before he became a full fledged cinema singer, Balu was the leader of a light music troupe that comprising

- Anirutta, who was working in Corporation and was the harmonium artist
- Ilaiyaraaja who joined the group as Guitarist and then moved over to harmonium after         Anirutta became busy in his regular job
- Baskar, Ilaiyaraaja’s brother who was in charge of Percussion
- Gangai Amaran another brother of Ilaiyaraaja who was the Guitarist after Ilaiyaraaja moved   over to Harmonium.

A gifted singer, he is highly regarded for his incredible vocal range, deep rich voice, and mastery of style, technique and control. These qualities allowed him expression across various genres of Indian music, and he has been highly sought after by many of India's film music composers. His approach to singing is methodical; he perseveres to understand the full meaning of the songs that he sings (many of which are very poetic) and the settings in which these songs are couched in order to most effectively match their requirements with his vocal delivery.S.P.B., though was very young, started singing for many different language films. As he became very busy, at times he used to sing even 17 songs in 12 hours at the recording theatre. He has also sung in Sanskrit and some regard his pronunciation of this language to be very good. Most of the introduction songs in Chiranjeevi and Rajinkanth films are sung by SPB only. Most people feel that Balasubrahmanyam's voice most suits Kamal Haasan. Sometimes, people cannot even figure out if it is Kamal singing or Balu singing or even Kamal talking or Balu talking. In the case of Telugu movies, he just changes his voice to suit the hero acting in the film. For eg., Nagarjuna, his dad Akkineni Nageswara Rao, N.T.R., Krishna and many others.


He has performed both the popular and classical music of India. For example, the songs he performed in the films Sankarabharanam, Sagara Sangamam, Rudra Veena were based on Carnatic classical music, and the song Umandu Ghumandu in the movie Ganayogi Panchakshari Gavayi was based on Hindustani classical music.Many used to say that "He has a classical mist" but he never took the credit for classics saying he is just a newborn in classics as its a vast ocean & he just had a mouthful of it.

He virtually monopolised playback singing for more than 30 years in the Telugu, Kannada and Tamil cinema. His contemporary Dr. K.J.Yesudas monopolised the Malayalam music industry. SPB sang only a few songs in Malayalam. Although Yesudas' voice was regarded more suitable for sad songs in Tamil, SPB has also sung some evergreen sad songs in Tamil such as 'Naanum unthen uravai','Nenjukkulle' and 'Kuyilappudichu'. He hosts a popular TV show in Telugu called Paadutha Theeyaga on E-TV, Paadalani Undi on MAA-TV , and a kannada show Ede Thumbi Haaduvenu on 'E-TV Kannada' and Tamil show 'Ennodu Paattu Paadungal' on JAYA-TV. He also anchors a music show called "Sunada Vinodini" in TTD Channel


Balasubrahmanyam made his debut in film music as a singer in Dec 15,1966 with Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, a film scored by his mentor Kodandapani. He has sung more than 39,000 songs[3]since in more than 5 different Indian languages including Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam. However, he has sung most of his songs in Telugu. He holds the Guinness record for having sung the most number of song recordings by any singer (the record for a female singer is held by Lata Mangeshkar).

Awards for being  Best Singer

2005Pellam PichhoduBest SingerAndhra Pradesh
2003SeetayyaBest SingerAndhra PradeshIdigo Rayalaseema Gadda
2002VasuBest SingerAndhra PradeshPadana Tiyyaga kammani oka pata
2000Raghavayyagari AbbaiBest SingerAndhra Pradesh
1997Priya RagaluBest SingerAndhra PradeshChinna Chiru Chiru Navvula Chinna
1997AnnamayyaBest Dubbing ArtistAndhra PradeshDubbing for Suman
1996Pavithra BhandamBest Supporting ActorAndhra PradeshFather of Venkatesh
1994BhairavadweepamBest SingerAndhra PradeshSri Thumbura Narada
1993Mr.PellaamBest SingerAndhra Pradesh
1992Bangaaru mamaBest SingerAndhra Pradesh
1991ChantiBest SingerAndhra Pradesh
1989NeerajanamBest SingerAndhra Pradesh
1987AbhinandanaBest SingerAndhra PradeshRangulalo Kalavo
1986SirivennelaBest SingerAndhra PradeshVidhatha Thalapuna
1985MayuriBest Music DirectorAndhra Pradesh
1985MayuriBest SingerAndhra Pradesh
1984Suvarna sundariBest SingerAndhra PradeshIdi Naa Jeevithalapana
1983Bahudoorapu baatasaariBest SingerAndhra PradeshEkkada Thalupulu
1981PremaabhishekamBest SingerAndhra PradeshAgadu Agadu e nimishamu
1979ShankarabharanamBest SingerAndhra Pradesh
1978Naalaaga endaroBest SingerAndhra Pradesh

 Tamilnadu Awards

  • The Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu Government in 1981
  • Tamil Nadu Government Award - received 3 times
  • Film Fans' Association (Madras) Award (oldest association in the country) - received 20 times

Other awards

  • September 1, 2002 Life time Achievement Award "Play back King", conferred during TVS Victor Aalaapana Music Awards function for the years 2001 & 2002, at Hyderabad
  • August 5, 2002 "Dr. Bezawada Gopala Reddy Award", given during a function in Nellore
  • April 7, 2002 Delhi Telugu Academy's 'Rashtriya Vikas Shiromani Award (Life time)' in 2002 on the occasion of 'Ugadi 2002', held in New Delhi
  • 2002 Swaralaya-Kairali-Yesudas award
  • 2001 Sangeeta Ganga award
  • 2006 Raja-Lakshmi Award from Sri Raja-Lakshmi Foundation, Chennai
  • 2006 Best Playback Singer from Vijay TV, Reliance Mobile Vijay awards
  • Mia Tansen Award Sur Singar Sanjad (Bombay) for best classical rendition of a song from 'Tere Payal Mere Geeth' composed by Naushad Sab
  • Innumerable Awards from Magazines & Associations fostering films
  • 2007, Basavashree Award - Karnataka Government [4]
  • 2007, A.P.Cinegoers Association Award for best Singer for Sri Bhagavatham (Serial in ETV).
  • 2008, Kannada Rajyothsava Award. Presented on 1-Nov-2008.

Film Fare Awards

  • Mozhi - 2007 - Tamil
  • (Dil Deewana) Maine Pyar Kiya - 1989 - Hindi

Film Fare Nominations ( Hindi films )

  • (Tere Mere beech Mein)Ek Duje keliye - 1981
  • (Tumse Milne Ki Tamanna Hain)Saajan - 1991
  • (Pehla Pehla Pyar Hain)Hum Aapke Hain Kaun - 1994

As an Actor 

YearMovie NameLanguageDirectorProducerRole
1969Pellante Noorella Panta
1971Mohammed Bin TuglaqTamilCho RamaswamyGuest role in a song
1976Parvathalu PaanakaluTelugu
1980Pakkinti AmmayiTeluguFriend of Chandra Mohan
1982Baalondu ChadarangaKannada
1982Malle PandiriTeluguJandhyalaChalla Venkatramaiah
1983Bharat 2000Kannada
1987Manadil Urudi VendumTamilK. BalachanderKavithalaya FilmsAs a Doctor
1988Vivaha BhojanambuTeluguJandhyala
1990Keladi KanmaniTamilVasanthA. R. Rangaraj (primary character)
1990Palai Vanna RagangalTamil
1992KoteswaranTamilFather of Hero
1992GunaTamilPolice Officer
1993Thiruda Thiruda/Chor ChorTamil/HindiMani RatnamMani RatnamCBI Officer
1994Kaadalan/Premikudu/Humse Hain MuqablaTamil/TeluguShankarK. T. KunjumonFather of Prabhu Deva
1994UllasamTamilFather of Ajith Kumar
1995Raja HamsaTelugu
1995Tirugu BhanaKannada
1996Kaadal Desam/Prema Desam/Duniya Dilwalon KiTamil/Telugu/HindiKathirFather of Tabu
1996Minsarakanavu?SapnayTamil/HindiRajeev MenonAVMFather of Aravind Swamy
1996NandiniTamilGuest Role
1996Pavithra BandhamTeluguFather of Venkateseh
1996Avvai ShanmugiTamilK.S.RavikumarGuest role as doctor
1997DevulluTeluguLord Vinayaka
1997RakshaganTamilPraveenkanthK.KunjumonFather of Nagarjuna
1997w/o Vara PrasadTeluguGrand Father of Vineet, Ramabhadra Raju
1998BharathanTamilBrother of Hero Vijayakanth
1998Paattu PaadavaaTamilHero cum mentally challenged person
1999Aaro PranamTeluguK VeeruFather of Vineet
1999Dheerga SumangaliTelugu
1999Mechanic MaavaiahTelugu
1999Paadutha TheeyagaTeluguFather of Heroine
2000Goppinti AlluduTeluguFather of Bala Krishna
2000Manasu Paddanu KanniTelugu
2000PriyamaanavaleTamilK. SelvabharathiFather of Vijay
2001ChirujalluTeluguShriram BalajiFather of Richa
2002IndraTelugu/HindiVyjayanthi MoviesAs Dr.SPB
2002Padharella AmmayiTelugu
2003Magic Magic/Chota JadugarTamil/HindiJoseNavodayaAs a Magician
2003FoolsTeluguDasari Narayana RaoGuest Role
2003Maha YedabidangiKannada
2006MayabazaarTeluguMohana KrishnaRKK Films BannerAs Lord Kubera
2006RoommatesTeluguAVSVisu Films Pvt LtdAs himself
2007Yen Uyirinum MelanaTamil
April MaadhamTamil
KalyanothasavaKannadaRetd.Army Captain
Malle PandiriTelugu
Mangalyam Tanthu NaanenaKannada
Muddina MaavaKannadaRamayya
Pedda ManushuluTelugu
Pelladi ChupisthaTelugu
1990SigaramTamilKavithalaya FilmsAs a Music Director
Thalai VaasalTamilAs a college Principal
UyalaTeluguS.V.Krishna ReddyAs a Doctor

 As a Music Director

YearMovie NameLanguageDirectorProducer/Banner
Thudikkum KarangalTamil
Unnai CharanadaindhenTamil
1977Kanya KumariTeluguDr.Dasari Narayana RaoSarigama Arts
1979Captain KrishnaTeluguK.S.R. Das
1979Ra Ra KrishnayyaTelugu
1979Toorpu Velle RailuTelugu
1980Hum Paanch (Background Score)HindiS.K. Films
1981Ohamma KathaTelugu
1981ThaiyyalkaaranTamilKalaipuli International
1983Uranta SankrantiTelugu
1984BharyamaniTeluguSrinivasa Productions
1984Seethamma PelliTeluguMuddu Art Movies
1985Bangaru ChilakaTeluguMaheswari Movies
1985DevaralledaneKannadaChamundi Production
1985Dongallo DoraTelugu
1985JockeyTeluguMuddu Art Movies
1985KongumudiTeluguRaghavendra Cine Creations
1985MayuriTamilSingitam Srinivasa RaoB.R. Creations
1985MayuriTeluguSingitam Srinivasa RaoUshakiran Movies
1985Muddula ManavaraluTeluguJandhyalaMuddu Art Movies
1986BeteKannadaVajragiri Films
1986MaghadeeruduTeluguShyam Prasad Arts
1986Naach MayuriHindiLakshmi Productions
1986Padamati Sandya RagamTeluguJandhyala
1986SowbhagyalakshmiKannadaVasu Chitra
1987GouthamiTeluguRadha Madhava Films
1987Lawyer SuhasiniTeluguJayakrishna Combines
1987RamuTeluguSuresh Productions
1988Chinnodu PeddoduTeluguRelangi Narasimha RaoSridevi Movies
1988KalluTeluguMahashakthi Films
1988Neeku Naaku PellantaTeluguJ.J. Movies
1988Oh Bharya KathaTeluguUshakiron Movies
1988PremayanamTeluguUshakiron Movies
1988Ramanna ShyamannaKannadaVasu Chitra
1989Vivaaha BhojanamTeluguJ.J. Movies
1991SigaramTamilKavithalaya Productions
1992Belliyappa BanagarappaKannada
1992Jaithra YaatraTeluguSravanthi Movies
1992Ksheera SaagaraKannada
1993Muddina MaavaKannadaVijaya Sridevi Combines

Did you Know?!!

  • In the early 90's S.P.B. did many bollywood assignmenst in (hindi). composers like Ram-Laxman & Nadeem-Shravan regarded his voice perfect for Salman Khan.
  • Besides playback singing, Balasubramaniam is also the chairman of Kodandapani Audio Labs, Chennai.
  • In the 80's & early 90's S.P.B. worked with composers like Laxmikant Pyarelal, R.D.Burman, Bappi Lahiri, Anand Milind, Nadeem Shravan, Raam Laxman, A.R. Rehman, Anu Malik, Jatin Lalit, M.M.Keervani (Kreem), Naushad, O.P.Nayyar,Nikhil Vinay, Ravindra jain & many others.
  • He sang for Kasinadhuni Viswanath,Chiranjeevi, Rajnikanth, Salman Khan, Kamal Hassan, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff & also for Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Sanjay Dutt & Vinod Khanna & Akshaye Kumar.
  • He sang for more than 170+ films & 1 Private Album in Hindi.
  • He is the only singer to sing in a gond language( a language spoken by tribal of jagdalpur(MP)


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