Impromptu poet with a trademark headgear

Published: 15th April 2013 07:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2013 07:33 AM   |  A+A-

There was a special reason why singer P B Sreenivas - who passed away on Sunday afternoon - was attired in a headgear, similar to the Mysore Peta. The man with the lilting voice felt he looked infinitely better when he wore it.

In fact, as the singer had himself said once during his interactions with the public at the erstwhile Woodlands Drive-in restaurant - a favourite haunt of his where a table used to be reserved for him - he felt low once when he was a young man when his head was clean-shaven. “I, then, chanced upon the headgear, wore it and solicited reactions on my appearance. Everyone said I looked majestic. It is a habit that has stuck from then,” the singer replied in a characteristically witty manner.

According to another version, the singer was insistent on making a style statement like that of former CM M G Ramachandran. He had tried out various styles, none of which seemed to work. However, at a function in Karnataka, when he was an established singer, he was honoured with the Mysore Peta, which impressed him no end. The headgear has stuck, ever since. In fact, the singer used to order four caps every year. Another characteristic of Sreenivas was that he used to carry around a large number of pens wherever he went. This could, perhaps, be attributed to the writer instinct in him. The singer is famous for rendering poems impromptu at important functions.

Sreenivas’ son Nanda Kishore addressed the media at his residence and said the body will be cremated on Monday. Family sources said he was ailing for over a week. The veteran singer and music composer is survived by four sons and a daughter.

Born in September 1930 in Kakinada district, Andhra Pradesh, Sreenivas, affectionately referred to as PBS, has lent his voice to over 3,000 songs in eight languages, which have soothed hearts for over five decades. Ergo, it was ironic that a massive heart attack claimed his life.

PBS started his singing career at the age of 22 in the Hindi film Sampat. He is synonymous with actor Gemini Ganesan and Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar, for whom he was the stock playback singer. Some of his memorable hit numbers for the actors include Kaalangalil Aval Vasantham, Mayakkama Kalakkama, Poga Poga Theriyum and Naavaaduva Nudiye Kannada Nudi. He sang last for the Tamil film Ayirathil Oruvan in 2010. He crooned along with a horde of prominent singers such as P Susheela, S Janaki, P Bhanumathi and Lata Mangeshkar.

In addition, he was associated with many music organisations, notable among them being the Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram. He was presented with the prestigious Kalaimamani award of the State government recently.

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