From celebrities to general public, Tamil Nadu came together and prayed on Thursday for the early recovery of veteran playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, who continued to be critical and is on life support battling COVID-19 at a city hospital. In an emotional show of solidarity, stars of the Tamil film industry such as veteran director Bharathirajaa, music composers Ilayaraja, A R Rahman, lyricist Vairamuthu and actors, including, Rajinikanth, joined the mass prayer at 6 pm while many sung his popular hits.
MGM Healthcare, where 74-year old Balasubrahmanyam is being treated, said he "continues to be critical on ventilator and ECMO support in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. "Our multi-disciplinary team of clinicians have been actively collaborating with national and international experts and continue to closely monitor his vital parameters,"Assistant Director (Medical Services) of the hospital DrAnuradha Baskaran said.
The popular singer, admitted to the hospital on August5after he tested positive for coronavirus, was put on the ECMO support, a heart-lung assistance machine, on Wednesday, nearly a week after he suffered a setback in his health. As people responded to the call for the mass prayer in a big way, young men and children, holding candles lined up on the outer periphery of MGM Healthcare and offered prayers.
Similarly, fans of the singer, popularly known as SPB, lined up in front of the ancient Big Temple in Thanjavur and in towns and cities including Madurai, Salem, Erode and Coimbatore while scores prayed from their homes and recited prayer songs from their religions. Members of fan clubs of various leading actors, including Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan and Vijay, also held prayers, wishing that the singer whose golden voice mesmerised generations for over five decades recover soon.
The social media platforms also witnessed scores praying for his recovery with hashtags such as "#GetWellSoonSPBSIR" and "#SPBalasubrahmanyam" trending. Bharathirajaa, a long time friend of SPB, on Wednesday had given the call for the one-minute silent mass prayer at 6 pm and Rajinikanth and a host of others later appealed to fans and the general public to participate in it.
Other prominent people who joined the mass prayer session were chairman of Apollo Hospitals group Dr Pathap C Reddy and yesteryear actress Saroja Devi, film director Thankarbachanand actors Sivakumar and Prabhu. Many fans sung SPB's popular renditions "Nalam VazhaEnnalum Vaazhthukkal" (Our wishes for your well-being) and"Unnal Mudiyum Thambi," (You can do it brother) in a number of places.
Tears rolled down Bharathirajaa's cheeks during the prayer. He had also appealed to the people to play a song sung byBalasubrahmanyam, praying for his speedy recovery.
Tamil television channels, including news channels, broadcast his songs and "Padum Nila Balu Va" (Come singing moon Balu) was among the slogans seen on placards held during prayers. Lyricist Piraisudan praised him in a poem for his talent and prayed saying, "Padum Nilavey meendum nee pada va."(Singing moon, come again to sing.)