Balu and I:
“Pardon me for my uncouthness,” politeness personified S P Balasubramanyam said as we were engaged in a conversation. He’d said nothing objectionable.





 

“Pardon me for my uncouthness,” politeness personified S P Balasubramanyam said as we were engaged in a conversation. He’d said nothing objectionable.

 Balu was shooting for a film in Hyderabad and I was there to interview him. For the role he was playing, he had to change his dress and get into a lungi. This happened 23 years ago. He apologised for the fact that he had to change in front of me. A gentleman, as he was, he did not want to keep me waiting. Neither did he want the crew to be kept waiting for the shooting. But yes, I had to wait for some more time to carry on with the formal interview.

“Have you got a tape recorder?” he asked. “I’ll take down notes as we speak,” I told him. For someone who believed in ‘recording’, Balu called an assistant and sent him to buy a cassette. It took some time for him to return and as there was a tape recorder with someone on the sets, we began the interview – on record. Balu made it easier for me as I could concentrate on having a comfortable interaction with him.

There were several times that I listened to the tape recorded interview even after I had published his it in the newspaper. Several times,  because one  had grown up listening to the popular singer on radio and here was the very voice in conversation with me. The tape recorded interview is Balu’s gift to me.

The first time that I saw Balu was when I was in school. He had come to give a performance with his troupe. “There is no recorded music here. You are watching us all perform live on our instruments,” he told the crowd.. And the only thing that he requested was that the troupe should be encouraged with an applause after every song. It was a plea, a sincere one.

The last personal meeting I had with him was at PVR cinemas at Panjagutta. Balu did a full length role in ‘Mithunam’ directed by Tanikella Bharani. There were only two or three characters in the film. A special screening was organised and the film had everyone in grips. Everyone turned emotional. It touched the hearts of everyone as they could relate to every scene in the movie which was about family relationships and bonding.

As the film ended, Balu did not make himself scarce, lest he be mobbed. On the contrary, he opened the door of the theatre in the multiplex and stood outside it. He facilitated everyone to meet him, one by one, and greeted them all. “Thank you for taking the time to come and watch,” he said to me politely acknowledging appreciation.

Balu has passed on but will live on.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.