Legendary playback singer SP Balasubrahmanian has received a legal notice from music maestro Ilayaraja for singing his compositions without his permission at various concerts. Balasubrahmanyam, who is currently on a world tour, said he would now render songs of other music composers at the concerts instead of those composed by Illayaraja following his objection to it. In a Facebook post, the multiple times national award-winning singer, who is now in the US, also termed the incident as “unfortunate” and requested “all friends, musiclovers and especially all media persons, not to make I.Raja-SPB issue sensational.”
He said an attorney representing Ilayaraja had some days back sent legal notices to him, his son Charan (playback singer and actor) and singer Chitra and to all organisers of concerts in different cities and managements of all venues, asking them to stop singing Ilayaraja’s compositions without his consent.
The notice said if they continue to do so, it would be breaking the copyright law and he and his team would have to pay huge financial penalties and face legal action, Balasubrahmanyam said. Balasubrahmanyam, who has rendered many hits composed by Illayaraja over the past some decades, said he cannot now perform the maestro’s compositions following the legal notice.
“Let me say, I am ignorant of these legalities. Charan designed this world tour and we kick started this ‘SPB50’ in August in Toronto (Canada) and then performed in Russia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and did a lot of shows in India too,” he said. “I did not get any feelers from Raja’s office at that time. I do not know why now when we started US tour (a legal notice has been sent to him)”, Balasubrahmanyam, fondly called ‘SPB’ by his fans, said. “As I said earlier, if it is a law, so be it and I obey it,” he said.
Under the circumstances, Balasubrahmanyam said he and his troupe cannot perform Illayaraja’s music from today. “But the show (music concert) should happen. By God’s grace, I have sung lots of other (music) composers’ songs too which we will present. Hope you will bless our concerts as usual,” he said.
He requested the fans and audience not to have any “harsh” opinions and discussions regarding this on Facebook. “If this is the design of God, I obey it with reverence,” he remarked. Despite efforts to get Illayaraja’s views, his legal counsel was not available for comment.
SPB made his singing debut in 1966 and since then has sung over 40,000 songs in many languages, including Tamil, Hindi, Kannada and Telugu.
The singer was also honoured with Padma Bhushan in 2011 and has also bagged the national award many times.