Thursday, May 9, 2019

Have Ilaiyaraaja and SP Balasubrahmanyam made up after fight over royalty?

Composer Ilaiyaraaja and legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam are best friends who have given numerous hit songs for several decades. However, the friendship hit a sour patch with a fight over royalty. After a couple of years, it looks like the two have reconciled and decided to work together again.

In 2017, SPB, KS Chitra and his son SP Charan found themselves in a legal hassle when Ilaiyaraaja claimed royalty from them if they performed his songs on stage. When the three singers were on a musical tour in the US, Ilaiyaraaja's attorney slapped a legal notice, asking them not to perform Ilaiyaraaja's compositions.

This legal notice caused a rift between Ilaiyaraaja's friendship with SP Balasubrahmanyam. In fact, SPB gave the famous Ilaiyaraaja 75 tribute concert a miss. The concert, organised by Nadigar Sangam, saw AR Rahman, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan in attendance.

Now, it is said that Ilaiyaraaja has another concert coming up in June. Reports suggest that SPB has volunteered to be part of the concert, setting aside their differences. After a major fight, this is the first time SPB and Ilaiyaraaja are coming together.

The concert, which will be held on June 2, will be a celebration of Ilaiyaraaja's 76th birthday. Singers KJ Yesudas, KS Chitra and Mano are said to be a part of this concert, which will be held at EVP Film City.

Courtesy: India Today

Friday, May 3, 2019

Adimai Penn: The film that made icons

As the MGR classic turns 50, MetroPlus looks back on the film that became a launchpad for singer SP Balasubrahmanyam

MG Ramachandran made three films under his banner — Nadodi Mannan, Ulagam Sutrum Valiban and Adimai Penn, which turns 50 today. From the initial promotional material, Adimai Penn too was projected as yet another MGR directorial, just like the other two films. However, it was veteran director K Shankar who wielded the baton. Originally, actors Saroja Devi and KR Vijaya were cast to play the leading ladies. In fact, they also shot a couple of scenes with cinematographer PN Sundaram. The project, for various reasons, was shelved and the story was changed.

MGR and Jayalalithaa were a hit pair back then, and in order to cash in on the box-office success of the combination, it was decided that the duo play double roles, with Ramamurthy cranking the camera. Jayalalithaa also made her singing début with ‘Amma endral anbu’, a song which she later used in her political career.

Adimai Penn was not just an iconic film, but a film that made many icons. One such was the arrival of the supremely talented playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam in to mainstream Tamil cinema. Recalling the experience working on the film, SPB says, “I was recording a Telugu song for the dubbed version of an MGR film in AVM studios. He (MGR) was sitting under a tree during a break. Since there were no air conditioners then, the doors of the studio were kept open. MGR was said to have remarked that he liked the Telugu version of his song, and asked his assistants to check out on the singer. He was keen on using a new voice and suggested my name to music director KV Mahadevan, fondly known as ‘mama’.”

A few days after that incident, a huge car landed outside SPB’s residence and an assistant walked in and said, “Chinnavar (MGR was referred to as Chinnavar) wants you to sing for this film. So, please come for rehearsals.” During the rehearsals at MGR’s Ramapuram residence, all the industry legends were waiting for SPB, and the tune — the iconic ‘Aayiram nilave vaa’ — was explained by ‘mama’. SPB says he overcame hesitation and anxiety and “somehow managed to sing the part alongside the legendary P Susheela”.

Since the song was to be filmed in Jaipur, the entire unit was supposed to leave in a week’s time. But SPB was diagnosed with typhoid during the recording sessions. “The crew sympathised with me and I was told to attend recording only after I fully recovered. When I went back to the studio again, I assumed it would be for some other song since ‘Aayiram nilave vaa’ was supposed to be shot in Jaipur, and the unit left already,” he says, adding, “I was pleasantly surprised when mama said, ‘You remember ‘Aayiram nilave vaa’? Then, let’s record it after a couple of rehearsals’. I was in a daze, but managed to sing it. MGR listened to the song and appreciated me.”

Soon after the recording, SPB says he mustered up courage to ask MGR the reason he was retained for the same song, despite his medical condition. “He asked me if I had told my friends about the song and even sung it for them,” remembers SPB, elaborating, “He said, ‘What if they watch the film and find out that you hadn’t sung? People might think that you didn’t do a good job and that we decided not to use your voice. Since this will affect your career, I postponed the shoot in Jaipur till your recovery’.”

Choked with emotions, SPB sought MGR’s blessings. “I cannot imagine anybody else so concerned about a newcomer’s career. In fact, I recorded two more songs, which did not find a place in the final version of the film. The first was a slow number with beautiful lyrics by Pulamaipiththan — ‘Veerathile kavi ezhudhi’, which was also Chandrababu’s favourite.” The second song, ‘Thaai illamal naan illai’, according to SPB, needed more zeal, and TM Soundararajan was chosen to croon the number.

SPB says he is grateful for both Adimai Penn and Shanthi Nilayam, which released the same year. “Both the films were quoted in the first State award I received in my début year in Tamil,” he adds. Following the release of Adimai Penn, the song ‘Ayiram nilave vaa’ became so popular that Sivaji Ganesan, in a special radio programme, stated that it was his favourite MGR song.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SPB and Mary Kom among awardees

V.C. Padmanabhan Memorial awards

Singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and Olympic boxer M.C. Mary Kom are among the winners of V.C. Padmanabhan Memorial Awards for Excellence for the year 2018. The Awards carry a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh and a trophy.

The awards were instituted in 2010 to commemorate the founder of the Manappuram Group. They are presented every year to eminent personalities who have made significant contribution in the fields of arts and literature; Civil Servant achieving excellence in public administration; public representative achieving excellence in good governance; business excellence leading to development of society at large, and ecology and environment conservation. A new category called ‘excellence in sports and games’ was added in 2018.

Other award winners are: Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairperson, SEBI MF advisory committee & former chairman, State Bank of India; and V.J. Kurian, managing director, Cochin International Airport Ltd.

Function on June 19

The awards will be presented at a function to be held on June 19 at the Lulu International Convention Centre, Thrissur. Former judge of the Supreme Court Cyriac Joseph will be the chief guest.

Ms. Bhattacharya will deliver the V.C. Padmanabhan memorial annual lecture on ‘Modernising the Legacy—My Experiences at SBI.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Monday, June 11, 2018

Mahesh Babu among T’wood biggies ‘giving up’ Rythu Bandhu aid

Motivated by the Telangana government’s initiative to support farmers under the ‘Give it up’ scheme, many film personalities are coming forward and returning their Rythu Bandhu cheques to the government.

Under Rythu Bandhu scheme, the government gives Rs 4,000 assistance per acre per crop investment to farmers in the State to procure agriculture inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and other inputs. The scheme was launched by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on May 10 at Karimnagar, and so far the Agriculture Department distributed 90 per cent cheques to farmers.

The government started a parallel ‘Give it up’ scheme, under which farmers or land owners who do not need the investment assistance can return it to the government. From day one of the scheme’s launch many political leaders and government employees opted to ‘give it up’ and returned their cheques.

From the past one week famous film personalities such as Mahesh Babu, Tanikella Bharani, SP Balasubrahmanyam and Prakash Raj returned their Rythu Bandhu cheques to government.

Singer and Padma Sri awardee SP Balasubrahmanyam, who received a cheque for his 5.37 acres at Solipet village of Shabad mandal in Rangareddy district, opted to ‘give it up’ and returned Rs 23,700 to Revenue officials on Saturday. “It is great support to farmers as they can clear their debts with the investment assistance scheme,” Balasubrahmanyam said.