Chennai: From celebrities to general public, Tamil Nadu came together and prayed on Thursday for veteran playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam's early recovery from COVID-19 triggered illness. Ace Tamil film director, Bharathirajaa, music composers Ilayaraja, A.R. Rahman, lyricist Vairamuthu and actors, including Rajinikanth, joined the mass prayer at 6pm as the singer remained in a critical condition. Young men and children, holding candles, lined up on the outer periphery of MGM Healthcare in Chennai at Aminjikarai where 74-year old Balasubrahmanyam, popularly known as SPB, is being treated for coronavirus infection since August 5 and offered prayers. Similarly, fans 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. Other prominent people who joined the mass prayer session were chairman of Apollo Hospitals group Dr. Pathap C. Reddy and yesteryear actor Saroja Devi, film director Thankarbachan and actors Sivakumar and Prabhu. Many fans sung SPB's popular renditions 'Nalam Vazha Ennalum 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. The veteran director, a long time friend of SPB, on Wednesday gave the call for the one-minute silent mass prayer at 6 pm. He had also appealed to the people play a song sung by Balasubrahmanyam, 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 medium nee pada va. (Singing moon,come again to sing.) According to the bulletin issued by the hospital on Wednesday, SPB continued to be critical and is on ventilator and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support (ECMO), a heart-lung assistance machine.
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