Kalaimamani PB Sreenivas

A day after PB Sreenivas‘ death on Sunday in Chennai, the film music fraternity is still mourning the gentleman singer who brought a range of emotions to his singing-where every emotion he expressed seemingly mirror the listener’s own-and is inconsolable at the passing away of the 82-year old Sreenivas. Here is an exclusive of some of the heartwarming tributes.

Kalaimamani PB Sreenivas


Let me first pray for Shri. PBS’s soul to rest in peace.

Each singer has his or her plus and minus points. Let us not talk about the virtues of PBS’ s greatness as singer. It is a world known truth that he was one of the finest singers.

I started my singing career with him. The first song I recorded on the 15th Dec, 1966 in Telugu was along with him, Smt. Suseela and another veteran actor singer, Sri. Raghuraiah. My Tamil singing career started with my first audition with Sri.MSV, when I sang Sreenivas’ “NILAVE ENNIDAM” song.

I never came across another person with such noble soul. I never heard him utter a single bad word about anybody. Always sent me letters with appreciation whenever he heard a song of mine, saw a performance in a film or of me conducting reality shows.

He always greeted me with a kiss on my cheek. The last one was alas on a stage function in Music Academy on the 7th of this month on the eve of my journey to Sydney. That was the Telugu New Year award presentation function by a Telugu Cultural Association where he read the poem he wrote for the occasion. I took it and sang for the audience. He said that it always stands out special whatever I do on the stage.

I still remember the day, when I was standing at the bus stop in Pondy Bazar, he drove past me in his car, stopped, reversed, got down from the car and said, ” I want to change your initials to L G from S P”. I was confused and asked ‘why’.

He said ” It took at least a decade for me to get an opportunity to sing for MGR. You took only couple of months. So you are LUCKY GUY BALU, NOT S P BALU”.

Once in Mysore, I had the boon of felicitating him with a shawl and a Mysore turban. I said that the turban looked so good on him and asked him to wear it always. HE DID SO.

Alas, the MAHARAJA with out a MAKUTAM had left us forever.

He wrote 2 lakhs of poems in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Urdu, Sanskrit and English.

Did he get the recognition he deserved? I do not think so.

Now every body will praise his virtues after his departure.

Creations like PBS are rare.

His initials PB means, PRATHIVAADHI BHAYAMKARA. He never had a PRATHIVAADHI and neither was he BHAYANKARA.


What can I say? He is an old friend, and there are so many memories of the two of us. He has sung thousands of songs for me , and emotionally I am yet to recover from the news of his death. He was always patient, was always quick to grasp what a music director wanted, and above all he was blessed with a wonderful, mellifluous voice. I will miss him like a brother. In my mind I keep hearing his songs, “Mayakkama Kalakkama” and ” Kalangalil aval vasantham” .

What a gentleman singer he was !


You will never find another singer like PB Sreenivas, nor a better human being. His voice flows over you like sweet honey, and I think that is because he was by nature a very sweet person. No one has ever seen him get angry or speak harshly, and I have known him for over 50 years. He was a great and rare gentleman, a brilliant singer who soothed your soul.

His death has opened up a huge chasm. I wish and hope the Tamil Nadu government would institute an award in his memory since he died on Tamil New Year’s day. Although he has gone, his songs will live forever. His song, “Nilave Ennidam erungathey” is the single most favourite song of all singers, of all ages, in the film fraternity. Even during kutcheries, we used to sing that song.

Other songs like “Parthein rasithein” and “Ore kelvi, ore kelvi” were big hits, and it seems like only yesterday that I sang those songs wit him. He had also sung with Lata Mangeshkar in Hindi, and he was always trying to teach me Urdu. This was when I was staying in a rented house in Kutcheri Road, Mylapore. He wanted me to sing in Hindi films, but somehow I did not take enough interest. But he was always gentle and appreciated other people’s point of view.

A couple of years ago I gave lifetime achievement awards, instituted by my trust, to TM Soundarajan (TMS) and PBS. I am glad I did that. When a person is alive, we rarely appreciate their worth. This is especially true of musicians, who do not benefit from royalty. I wish state governments would take care of living legends and help them lead a comfortable life, when there are not many singing opportunities.

And people like PBS are a rarity in any culture.

TM Soundararajan

PBS was a good friend, and a thorough gentleman. He had the most melodious voice ever. I am extremely fond of “Mayakkama Kalakkama” – his voice brought alive the emotions in the lyric beautifully. Another evergreen favourite is “Nilave ennidam nerungathey”. He was such a wonderful person. It is a great loss for us.


He was simply the greatest treasure on earth. Was a wonderful man, no else had such a good nature like him. He never differentiated between the rich and the poor, and always went out of his way to be kind to people. I feel proud and honored to have worked with him. We have lost the sole legend that we produced, both as an artiste and as a human being.

He was a true pundit. He could read, write, speak and pen poems in 21 languages. When he sang it was as though a peacock feather was gently brushing over your soul. His songs make you wonder, ‘Is sugar sweet, or is PBS sweet?’ To me, PBS was born to sing the moon songs, and the “Nilave ennidam negungathey” song is agmark PBS. My personal favourite is “Raja raja sri rajan vandhan” from the film “Ooty varai uravu”.

The only consolation for all of us at this moment is that he was blessed with a happy, family life, just as his songs made many families happy. We should remember him forever.


Some people mixed up my biography with PBS’ and it has added to the sadness of the situation. You see, like many singers and ordinary Chennaiites alike, I too had interacted with him. As a person, he was the most humble celebrity I have ever met. I never heard him bad-mouth anybody, and that sweetness of nature came through in his singing, and gave an added dimension of gentles to the emotional content. As a musician he was pitch perfect , and unerring in delivering the correct note. We have not had anyone in south India like him who has been this perfect when it comes to ‘note’. My personal favourites are ‘Nilave ennidam nerungathey”, ” Mouname parvaiyal” and ‘Mayakkama kalakkama”.

He is irreplaceable, and we will all miss him. Always

SUBHASREE THANIKACHALAM, producer of music talent hunt shows :

PBS’ voice needed no EQ ( technical term) as he had the gift of natural EQ. Although EQ usually stands for emotional quotient, in music EQ means technically you manually adjust a recorded voice to give more bass, give treble etc. but his voice has EQ which stands for EMOTIONAL QUOTIENT.

There will be an awesome range in the lower ranges and still that clarity in higher ranges. Director Sreedhar made maximum use of his emotional appeal in most of his films. Kaadhalikka neramillai had no TMS. Nenjam marapadhillai had no TMS. SUMAITHAANGI had no TMS. Like this, many of Sreedhars works had only PBS.

The volume of his voice is just the perfect soothing for your ears. Never loud. Never unheard. So for me P B also stands for PERFECTLY BALANCED.

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