SP Balasubrahmanyam no more

News Network
September 25, 2020


Chennai, Sept 25: The legendary singer, who was hospitalised in August after testing positive for COVID-19, died on Friday afternoon at a private hospital in Chennai

Legendary playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam passed away at a private hospital at 1.04 p.m. in Chennai on Friday. He was 74.

Balasubrahmanyam was hospitalised in August at MGM Healthcare after testing positive for COVID-19, and while he reportedly did well initially, he took a turn for the worse, and was put on a ventilator and ECMO support.

On September 7, he tested negative for COVID-19 but continued to be on ventilator.

Popularly known as SPB, Balasubrahmanyam made his singing début in 1966 with Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. He has sung over 40,000 songs in as many as 16 languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi.

Balasubrahmanyam was also a voice-over artist. He was the voice-over artist for actor Kamal Hassan, whenever the latter's Tamil movies were dubbed in Telugu. Balasubrahmanyam also acted in a few movies.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter — both are playback singers.

Balasubrahmanyam sang thousands of songs in South Indian languages and in Hindi for five decades for generations of actors — from MGR, Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan — and was the winner of six national awards.

Paadum Nila (Singing Moon) as he was called by his fans, had a lilting voice with the finest traces of great singers. “His was a breeze-like voice of A.M Raja, with the softness of the P.B. Srinivas and the effortlessness of Mohamed Rafi,” said film music historian Vamanan.

His voice effortlessly captured varied human emotions and feelings. In one scene he would sing a spoof -- annatha adurar othiko -- and in another scene, powerfully express the anguished mind by rendering unna nenachan paatu padichen thangame as seen in Apoorva Sagodharargal. He acted in films such as Manathil Uruthi Vendum, Keladi Kanmani and Sikaram, besides scoring music for some films.

An extremely friendly man who enjoyed his moments with interviewers, SPB once said he was fond of life and never wanted to die.

SPB bagged his first national award for Sankarabharanam, even though all the songs in the Telugu film are based on pure Carnatic ragas. “Even SPB had apprehensions about taking on the assignment as he had no proper training in classical music. It was T.K. Pugazhlendhi, the assistant of music director K.V. Mahadevan, who persuaded SPB to render the songs,” said Mr. Vamanan.

The second time, he won the award for his first Hindi song, Tere Mere Beech Mein in the film Ek Duuje Ke Liye. Two more awards came his way for the Telugu films Sagarasangamam and Rudraveena. Sangeetha Sagara Ganayogi Panchakshara Gavai, the Kannada film won him his fifth national award.

The award for Tamil films eluded him for many years even though his collaboration with music director Ilayaraja and M.S. Viswanathan had resulted in innumerable memorable duets, solos, folk songs, spoofs and songs with classical touches.He finally won it for the song Thanga Thamarai in the film Minsara Kanavu for which the music was scored by A.R. Rahman. SPB, in an interview, said Tamil films offered a lot of scenes and scope in which a song was perfectly suited, without any artificiality.

Born Sripathi Paditha Arathyula Balasubramaniam, in 1946, to Nelloor-based Harikatha exponent Sambamurthy, SPB’s ambition was to become an engineer. His failure to clear a subject in his PUC course forced him to pursue the now-defunct AMIE course in Chennai. But the music in his blood lured him towards singing competitions, and finally to the film world.

His talent was spotted by another playback singer and music director S.P. Kothandapani, who was sitting among the audience at a competition at the Andhra Social and Cultural Society (ASCA) and he provided him with an opportunity to sing in the Telugu film Sri Sri Mariatha Ramanna. SPB was one among four singers — S.P. Kothandapani, P. Susheela, P.B. Srinivas and Eelapada Raguramaiha — who rendered the ragamalika song, Emi Evindha Mogum.

“Anyone who had listened to the part he rendered for Shoban Babu would realise potential in the voice. It proved to be a prelude for a record career in film music,” said Mr. Vamanan.

While he was able to find a toehold in the Telugu industry, the Tamil film industry proved elusive till and an introduction to music director M.S. Viswanthan (MSV) through his friend Bharani. SPB chose to render Nilava Ennidam Nerungathy before MSV, who liked the voice, but had reservations about his Tamil pronunciation. It was actually a chance meeting with MSV that opened the doors of the Tamil film music industry. SPB came in like a fresh breeze with Iyarkai Ennum Ilayakanni, for the film Santhi Nilayam.

“Though the song was recorded first, another song, Aayiram Nilave Vaa in the MGR-starrer Adimaipen reached the public first -- the film was released earlier in the year 1969,” explained Mr. Vamanan.

Both the songs became a hit overnight. SPB would gratefully acknowledge the opportunity given to him by MGR and music director K.V. Mahadevan who introduced him to the future Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

SPB was down with malaria after the rehearsal was over. But MGR waited till he recovered. “MGR told me that he did not want to disappoint me. He felt that I would have informed my friends and if I was not given the opportunity, my friends would not think well of my capacity as a singer,” SPB once said.

Later in the film Suryakanthi, he sang the number Naan Endral Avalum Naanum and late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa rendered the English verses. His playback songs for thespian Sivaji Ganesan, particularly Pootuvaitha Mugamo in Sumathi En Sundari and Emuna Nadhi Inkey in Gowravam were equally popular.

Even though there was an argument that MGR had roped in SPB because of his difference of opinion with T.M. Soundararajan (TMS), Mr. Vamanan said MGR continued to prefer TMS to render duets and songs with political messages. MGR also gave opportunities to K.J. Jesudas and Jayachandran.

SPB sang Aval Oru Navarasa Natakam in the film Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban and Paadum Pothu Naan Thendral Kattru and Angey Varuvathu Yaro in the film Netru Indru Naalai. MSV continued to use SPB in films of all actors.

Even though he worked with other music directors like V. Kumar, Vijaybaskar and Shayam, SPB’s career graph ascended with the arrival of Ilayaraja and actors such as Rajinikant and Kamal Haasan. Even with Ilayaraja it did not happen immediately. SPB could not get an opportunity in Annakili, Patrakalai, Kavikuyil, Durgadevi, Deepam and Thunai Iruppal Meenakshi.

Once the combination began though, it proved unstoppable. Bhuvana Oru Kelvikuri offered him two outstanding songs — Raja Enbar Mandhiri Enbar and Vizhiyile Malarnthathu. The duets he rendered with S. Janaki were irreplaceable.

At a time when Ilayaraja started dominating film music, MSV’s music for Ninaithale Inikkum rocked, and almost all the songs were rendered by SPB in the film. Later, when MSV and Ilayaraja came together to score music for Mella Thiranthathu Kathavu, SPB was their natural choice.

Actor Mohan benefitted enormously from the music of Ilayaraja and voice of SPB. Almost all the songs in his films proved great numbers. His voice remained eternally youthful and he enthralled his fans by appearing on stage with light music troupes. He and Ilayaraja had a small falling out after the music director prevented him from singing on stage the songs composed by him, based on copyright claims. The two patched up though later, in a public event.

SPB was the favourite singer of MSV and would always cherish the song Ilakkanam Marudho in the film Nizhal Nijamahirathu.

When MSV composed music for Krishna Ganangal penned by Kannadasan, SPB sang the song, the lullaby Ayarpadi Maligaiyil Thaimadiyil Kantrinaipol Mayakannan Thoongukiran. And now, SPB himself will be asleep forever, his voice playing the same lullaby it has played in several homes for decades now.

SPB is no more, but his voice will live on.


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News Network
October 17,2020


Ramanagara, Oct 17: In a dramatic turn of events, a case of gang rape turned out be case of honour killing with the arrest of victim's father and her elder brother along with her minor brother on Friday in Magadi.

This case made social media highlights as it coincided with the Hathras rape case. As a result, the Karantaka government even handed over the case Bengaluru Rural Superintendent of Police (SP), Ravi Channennavar, in the wake of Ramanagara SP S. Girsh testing Covid positive.

According to the police, the deceased identified as Hemalata (19) was a resident of Bettadahalli village in Magadi Taluka of Ramanagara district.

Her father, Krishnappa, filed a missing complaint on October 9, but on October 10 he filed a complaint of gang rape and murder. This had led to an outrage by upper caste and dominant Vokkaliga community on social media to lash out at the lower caste groups.

Acting swiftly, the state government directed neighbouring district Bengaluru SP, Channannevar to take over the case four days ago.

Soon after he took over the case, Magadi police started probing into various angles, including honour killing.

Speaking to media persons, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Magadi taluka, Omprakash said, "It was a challenging case as the family members had destroyed the evidences. She was killed using stone by her elder brother Chetan and her father Krishnappa, who had taken her to their farm to convince her not to shame their family by going out with her boyfriend, Puneet, who allegedly belonged to lower caste."

While the father was convincing the girl, her brother took a stone and hit her on the head and her younger brother (a minor) gave assistance in burning the body in their own farm.

The police have registered a case and are further investigation is on.


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News Network
October 18,2020


Bengaluru, Oct 18: The Central Crime Branch (CCB) has told the Karnataka High Court that they have certain materials in support of registering an FIR against Aditya Alva, son of former minister late Jeevaraj Alva, in the drugs case. It has filed the statement of objections in response to Alva’s plea seeking to quash the FIR registered against him.

The CCB has stated that they have seized narcotic tablets and some quantity of ganja from Alva’s residence in Hebbal during the raid. Alva was also arranging parties and one of the persons circulating drugs which has come in the evidence of other accused, it said. The offences alleged against him are cognizable in nature, it said.

Justice Suraj Govindaraj, who heard the matter on Friday, adjourned the hearing to November 13.

In his petition, Alva challenged the FIR registered by the Cottonpet Police on September 4 under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and IPC. He claimed the complaint registered against him does not mention the commission of any cognizable offence said to have been committed by him.

Alva, who holds Masters Degree in International Diplomacy and International Law from the SOAS College, London, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Politics from the University of San Francisco, claimed that he was a realtor. He also stated that he hails from a respectable family of politicians who made significant contributions to the state.


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Dr Pragnya Chigurupati Narra
October 17,2020


The breast is a mass of glandular, fibrous and fatty tissue. It is placed over the pectoral (chest) muscle and attached by ligaments called Cooper’s ligaments. Development of these parts of the breast begin at puberty and are dependent on hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Women may have many changes in their breast during any point of their life. Some are dependent on their menstrual cycle. Others are linked to birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, family history or lifestyle changes. Most breast conditions are not cancer. They arise from an abnormality in the normal development and ageing of breast tissue.

October is breast cancer awareness month. In a spirit of raising-awareness, we're giving you a two-part series on breast changes in - 1)Premenopausal women 2)Post-menopausal women

Part 1 - Premenopausal women

Breast pain

The most common complaint amongst younger women is pain linked to the menstrual cycle. This is called “Cyclical mastalgia”. It is almost always due to our hormones (estrogen and progesterone). As the pain does not always affect both the breasts, there might be other causes to pain in a single breast. This type of pain might begin at ovulation and last all though the menstrual cycle. Pain that involves both the breasts and is cyclical is generally not harmful. When the breast pain does not correlate with her menstrual cycle, it is called “Non-cyclical breast pain”. It is advisable to chart the breast pain to understand the link better. The pain might be minimal to so severe that you can’t wear tight clothes or move around freely.

When you experience such pain, wear a good bra with adequate support. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle but limiting alcohol, caffeine and increasing greens in your diet are helpful. Pain killers such as Paracetamol may be taken in recommended doses if the pain is severe. Vitamin E capsules and massaging breasts with EPO (Evening primrose oil) have shown some benefit in patients.

Fibrocystic breast changes

These changes are what you feel in your breast prior to your menstrual cycle, commonly in the third and fourth decades of life.  Breasts may feel heavy, sore or lumpy. These changes occur due to an overdrive of estrogen and a deficiency of progesterone. Although these are not cancerous, having certain pathologically proven lesions of the breast which fall under the “fibrocystic” category increase the risk of cancer three-fold.


Infections are common in breast feeding mothers, smokers and women with systemic illnesses. They may present with lumps, nipple discharge, pain or fever. It is very important to identify and treat these symptoms which may range from simple medical management to surgical treatment.


Women who develop a cyst complain of a sudden development of a lump in the breast overnight. Cysts are fluid filled structures in the breast which occur due to a blocked duct or hormonal changes. They are most commonly benign. However, certain cysts may have a small component of a cancerous or precancerous lesion. They are generally seen in the third or the fourth decades of life.

They can be soft or hard. They may be felt by the hand or seen on imaging with a mammogram. They are generally observed or aspirated with a small needle.

Tumors (Benign)

Fibroadenomas (FA) are benign lumps that occur commonly in younger women, especially teens. They however can occur at any age group. They are mobile and slip when being felt. Women generally feel them when examining their breasts. If they are small and not growing, they maybe observed. However, if they are increasing in size or are symptomatic, simple removal is suggested. They very rarely turn cancerous (Complex fibroadenomas)

Phyllodes tumors are generally seen in the third and fourth decades of life and are prone to growing rapidly, changing the shape of the breast. The treatment is relatively complicated compared to a FA. Based on the nature of the tumor, radiotherapy might be required in certain cases and recurrences are common unless they are removed completely.

Breast Cancer

Currently, in India, the rates of cancer have increased in women between the ages of 25-40. The reasons for this might be lifestyle changes, similar to the West. If women under the age of 35 develop cancers, they tend to have a strong family history of ovarian or breast cancers. It is important to get counselled with a professional genetic counsellor.

Remember that ‘Breast Self-Examination” is the most important technique of identifying early breast diseases.  It has to be done every month. Make sure you reach out to a doctor if you find any abnormality in your breasts.

(This is this first article in a two-part series on breast changes)

Dr Pragnya Chigurupati Narra is a Breast Specialist & Oncoplastic Surgeon at American Oncology Institute


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