S. P. Balasubrahmanyam Was The Barry White Of India: New York Emmy Nominated Filmmaker Tirlok Malik

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

By Murtaza Ali Khan

The sad demise of the legendary Indian singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam has left his fans heartbroken the world over. One such fan is the New York Emmy Award-nominated Indian-American filmmaker Tirlok Malik who starred alongside the late singer in the 2003 Indian Malayalam-language fantasy film Magic Magic 3D aka Little Magician 3D. Malik, who is best known for making films about Indian immigrants in the US, reminisced, “His life is a celebration in the music world. “My heart goes out to his family and friends. I want to extend my deepest condolences.”

Working with S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was a memorable experience for Malik. “I still remember that after the first scene I did with him he came to me and said, ‘Tirlok ji, you are a good actor.’ I hugged him and thanked him and told him, ‘You are like a teddy bear, sir; it feels good to hold you. It’s an honour to play your son in this movie.’ He hugged me back,” recollected Malik who beside directing critically acclaimed films like Lonely in America, Khushiyaan, and On Golden Years has also shared screen with the likes of Al Pacino, Rajinikanth, Deepti Naval, Sanjay Dutt, Manisha Koirala, Mammootty, Ranjit Chowdhry, Rani Mukerji, Rekha, and Pooja Kumar, among others.   

According to Malik, there was a very distinct quality to S. P. Balasubrahmanyam’s voice that made him class part. “I liked to call him the Barry White of India. His voice was silky smooth, loving and could be flirting and sensual at the same time. His voice could melt hearts. All the songs he sang touched people hearts deeply,” explained Malik.  

Malik, who is also a restaurateur, entrepreneur, and a speaker, was on a short visit to India when the coronovirus pandemic broke out. “Alas, we have lost one more artist to COVID-19! It is the sad reality of the ongoing pandemic; no one can fully understands the effects of this deadly virus,” sighed Malik who is the founder of www.nritvfilmclub.com website which is a streaming platform of Indian American movies. He is currently trying to develop the script for the last part of his film series about Indian immigrants in the US.

A version of this article was first published in Transcontinental Times.

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