Playback singers Afsal and Anoop Sankar on sharing stage with their idol and his music
As a young boy growing up in Kochi, Afsal would rush back every evening from school to his brother’s shop that sold audio cassettes. It was the Tamil songs sung by S.P. Balasubrahmanyam that he would continuously listen to.
More than three decades later, he still swears by SPB. The playback singer says he sings more of SPB’s hits than his own in his stage shows.
“That is what the people want and I am only happy to oblige them,” Afsal told The Hindu on Friday. “He has influenced me greatly as a singer and he will continue to be an inspiration for many like me, though he may no longer be with us.”
Afsal remembers the kind of frenzy SPB’s popular songs generated at live music shows across Kerala. “He was the singer who made Tamil music popular here,” he said. “All those great songs he sang for Ilaiyaraaja in the 1980s were the integral part of our ganamelas. I still recall singers like Kundara Sarath, Shakthidharan and Kalaiselavan, who used to render SPB’s songs.”
Afsal said he was privileged to perform along with SPB on a few shows.
Anoop Sankar is another Malayalam playback singer who is known for singing SPB’s songs.
“I will never forget the seven stages during which I performed along with him,” Anup said. “I love singing his songs and I admire him as a person too. Once in Mumbai he apologised to me in front of the audience for not rehearsing the song Ootti patanam… (Kilukkam).”
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