Sunday, June 13, 2021
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End of an era

Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna was an Indian Carnatic vocalist, musician, multi-instrumentalist, playback singer, composer, and character actor. He has garnered two National Film Awards, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1975, the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour in 1991, for his contribution to music. Dr. Balamuralikrishna, who burst into the music world as a child prodigy, died in peace. He was 86 and is survived by his wife, three sons and three daughters. His music appealed to both the connoisseurs and the laymen alike. In classical music, he was able to give “play acting” to the essence of the lyrics in his song. In the film world, “Oru Naal Pothuma”, a ragamalika in Thiruvilayadal, “Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran”, a Reetigowla-based song in the film Kavikuil, “Mounathil Vilayadum Manasatichye” from the film Noolveli  and the Abhogi song “Thanga Ratham Vanthathu” from the film Kalai Koil continues to enchant a generation of music lovers.

A native of East Godavari district of the erstwhile Madras Presidency, his father Pattabiramaiah was a musician and his mother Sooryakanthamma was a veena player. He gave his first concert when he was nine and the quality of his music is explained by the fact that All India Radio (AIR), Chennai, included him, a child artist, in the list of A-grade artists.  He was also an accomplished violinist and once accompanied Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, the pioneer of the modern-day Carnatic concert format. Dr. Balamuralikrishna learnt violin by listening to his father playing the instrument. India has lost a national treasure. A great personality and well respected in musical circle is no more but the musical lovers consider him as a living legend.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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