This loss is very personal. He was an epitome of uniqueness when it comes to singing. More like a household name. A way of communication for different generations. My grandmother loved him, my mother fell for him, and I was a big fan. Who doesn’t?
He was beyond languages and belonged to the music. That music came from different composers. Even today, my new year doesn’t start with “Wish you a happy newwww yeaarrr” in his voice.
It begins there and there were many introduction songs for the heroes that in a way motivated all of us. The romance and how he enthusiastically brought them all to life, Be it “Aayiram Nilave Vaa” or “Chumma Kizhi”, there was something about him and the voice was just too much for all of us.
He was always there. His voice was literally our go-to irrespective of the situation. He was the companion during our lonely sleepless days, when we wanted to cry out loud, his voice was there to tell us that everything will be okay. There were times where I would go, shut doors and tune to music and there he was. Train journeys, love, breakup, friendship, romance, family, mother love, marriage, party, new year, devotional…You name it, he was always there and in fact, motivated us to come back do things in life. There are people who were brought back to life just by hearing him sing. He was a superman in that way. He had this superpower to heal, something nobody knew how and why.
Despite born in Telugu family, he made sure to pronounce all the languages right and made justice for everything. Earlier days, his Thamizh was literally teasing and his Hindi songs were too good that it brought me tears. Whenever I hear this ‘Pehla Pehla Pyar Hai’ from Hum Aapke Hain Koun, it almost kills me.
Of all the actors he sang, the chemistry he had with actor Mohan was my favourite. I cannot just pick a single song from their combo as there are just too many from Panivizhum Iravu to the whole of Mella Thirandhadhu Kadavu.
Among forty thousand-plus songs from 16 different languages, I’m pretty sure that we haven’t heard part of his works because there are just too many. Now, imagine singing them all, oh, he even recorded a song during this COVID19 pandemic. He was 74. Apart from his songs, he taught me how passion works and how to keep grinding for what we need no matter if you have to work 20 hours a day. It is all worth it in the end because you are going to love it. Oh, he enjoyed every single moment of it. Of course, he was a good actor and a voice-over artist too.
I will take his works, memories and songs to my grave. Thanks to the impact, healing, motivation and everything. Only a few can touch so many people’s lives and be there for them irrespective of the language. Go Well, sir.