Hyderabad: The Central government on Monday conferred the second-highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan upon the legendary singer, late SP Balasubrahmanyam. The 74-year-old veteran singer died on September 25 last year in Chennai due to COVID-19 complications.
SPB, as he is popularly called, had sung over 40,000 tracks in his mother tongue Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi and had won innumerable awards including six national film awards, 25 Nandi awards of Andhra Pradesh, and numerous other awards. He was a recipient of the Padma Shri (2001) and Padma Bhushan (2011) from the government.
The singer went on to become the on-screen voice of superstars Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan and Salman Khan in several films.
A few days after his death, the Andhra Pradesh government and thousands of fans wrote to the Central government to confer Bharata Ratna, the highest civilian honour, upon the late singer.
Chitra, Rama Swamy, Sumathi among Padma awardees
Another prolific playback singer, Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, or KS Chithra, has also been conferred the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award of the country. Chitra has recorded more than 25,000 songs in various Indian languages, including Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, and Urdu, as well as foreign languages such as Malay, Latin, Arabic, Sinhalese, English and French.
A popular violinist from Andhra Pradesh, 96-year-old Annavarapu Rama Swamy and Nidumolu Sumati, a first-of-its-kind woman mridangam player were conferred upon the fourth-highest civilian honour, Padma Shri by the Central government on Monday.