Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Indian movies of the 80's and 90's had a unique feature. Birds stop flying, tidal waves halt and trees cease to sway the moment there is a shocking scene. On a sad, quiet evening, Mahati felt such signs. Everything and everyone were in motion but nothing seemed moving forward. The Delhi based media as usual felt that South Indians are 'below the belt' and had no clue about the things happening down here. Still, Mahati felt that something in the world order was not in place. How would it be! Music froze for a moment, unable to believe that Carnatic maestro, Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna passed away.

Murali Krishna, a child prodigy earned the title 'Bala' at the age eight and mastered all the 72 melakartha raagas soon. He was also the creator of many raagas one of which is the inspiration for her name, Mahati realised. Even an acclaimed mathematician would be awed at the new project that he had taken up which involved the tala system and the creation of thousands of newer raaga from the multiple probabilities using the 72 melakarthas. Surely, he must be the pioneer amongst those many musicians in the modern era who took Carnatic music to the masses through his wonderful works like Tatwalu. He truly sings about the beauty of life and death which come unannounced in Tatwalu. His contributions with the help of many others only have opened up Annamacharya and Ramadasu to us. Music would be proud of him, with his thorough understanding of the field and his many many innovations, the world would be proud. Find his music journey here.

His close friend and his jugalbandhi partner, late Pt. Bhimsen Joshi was awarded with the Bharat Ratna literally on his hospital bed. When asked whether he deserved the highest civilian award of the nation, Balamurali just replied that he can buy his own first class rail ticket (Bharat Ratna recipients are given Indian railway concessions). His music had won him not only the best awards for art in India but in France as well. He was honoured with Chevalier rank by the French government in 2005. That is because he sang in French! His music has garnered enough support worldwide in the form of his friends, number of concerts and awards and importantly his disciples.
The country is proud of its best actor, kamal Hasan who is a proud student of Balamurali. Hasan refused to appear in the video of the patriotic song, 'Mile sur mera tumhara' unless he was shown listening to his teacher that is Balamurali Krishna. P.V.Mohan Krishna would remind us of Balamurali himself.

The entire world gave a teary farewell to Micheal Jackson. Balamurali Krishna deserves nothing less. He did receive such an honour. He was certified to be great enough to be awarded the Bharat Ratna by none other than Selvi Jayalalitha herself. That assures his greatness. Yes, music had only frozen for a moment. It continues to flow in its path with numerous other contributors emerging like the mighty Ganga with its hundreds of tributaries. Yet, there is some void, an unfillable one, like a gap formed when four wheels are brought together. Those lucky to have listened to the 'Sangeetha Virinchi' live in concert are the content ones. The humble arrogance in his beautiful compositions, his smile and his voice which all remained same over the years (like Yesudas's voice), are going to live on, forever.