R G Vijayasarathy
S P Balasubramaniam is regarded as one of India's musical talents.
He made his singing debut in Telugu in 1966 with Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. Since then he has rendered over 36,000 songs in Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam. Altogether, he has so far sung nearly forty thousand songs. SPB also holds a Guinness Record for the most number of song recordings by a male singer.
Besides singing, SPB has also acted in both films and television.
He is also a popular anchor for musical programmes in many TV channels. He is currently anchoring Edhe Thumbi Haaduvenu, the popular film song-based musical programme in Kannada.
R G Vijayasarathy caught up with SPB during one of the shooting of Ehde Thumbi Haaduvenu for more info.
'This programme has made me more popular in the state'
Your programme has now become extremely popular. What are the reasons for the tremendous popularity of this show?
I have just finished shooting the 300th episode of the programme. I am extremely happy to be part of this programme which has attracted a huge viewership. I was happy to learn that even the chief minister [B S Yediyurappa] and many other busy professionals like scientists, academicians, businessman, industrialists etc, spend considerable time in front of the television sets to watch this programme.
I have sung thousands of songs for hundreds of Kannada films, but certainly this programme has made me more popular in the state.
'I will not let the programme continue for even one episode if it does not inspire me'
The programme has been running for more than nine years. Do you feel that the programme may lose its sheen in the days to come when more technically savvy musical programmes are there in other channels?
I will not let the programme continue for even one more episode if it does not inspire me or the people who are watching it. I don't care for the TRP's or any type of forced insistence by the channels.
What I want is for people who are watching this particular programme to show their deep interest by participating, interacting and talking positively about it.
If that does not happen, I think it would be better for us to put an end to this. But I don't think it has faced any such problems till now.
'I was little hesitant to do the programme because I could not speak in the pure Kannada accent'
How do you assess this particular programme as you have anchored many musical programmes in other languages also?
Initially, I was little hesitant to do the programme because I could not speak in the pure Kannada accent. But I found that people have accepted my way of communicating with them. In the beginning I was communicating more in English but now, it is a different story. I use more Kannada words.
I can proudly say I can at least recite some verses of Dasa and Vachana Sahithyas because of this programme. I knew Kannada literature had depth but this has made me go deep into its rich literary treasure. I have tried to be as honest as possible in telling people what I like about a particular song. I also share many secrets about the song when it was recorded.
'Lyricist Jayanth Kaikini calls this a cultural pilgrimage'
Your suggestions to the viewers at the end of the programme has got a lot of appreciation...
I don't advise people what I cannot implement in my life. I make serious introspection before rendering any suggestion or advise to the viewers.
One more thing is that we have retained the original essence of the programme that started nine years ago. We have not tried to reshape the programme by giving more prominence to technical inputs.
Popular Kannda lyricist Jayanth Kaikini, who has been my co-traveller in this programme from the past few months, calls this a cultural pilgrimage.