Singer-composer Mangalamapalli Balamuralikrishna, who caught the nation’s attention in Doordarshan’s iconic music video ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ in the eighties, passed away in Chennai on Tuesday. He was 86.
A child prodigy who rose to become a musician of immense versatility in all fields and held sway over rasikas with his mesmerising voice and unique way of rendering compositions, Balamuralikrishna was awarded France government’s Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters).
With a voice magnificently rich and instantly recognisable, Balamuralikrishna excelled not only as singer but left his imprint as a composer, poet, multi instrumentalist and innovator of ragas and taalas.
In ‘Mile Sur…’ -- the popular national integration song -- he sang the Tamil lyrics in the song first telecast on Independence Day in 1988.
Though he was born in Sankaraputham of East Godavari district in present Andhra Pradesh, he made Chennai his home.
He started performing at a very young age and presented his first concert when he was just six years old.
Described as a living legend and awarded honorary doctorates, Balamuralikrishna performed at more than 25,000 concerts across the world and has more than 400 compositions in Telugu, Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil to his credit.
In addition to Carnatic vocals, he was adept at playing the violin, viola and mridangam, a percussion instrument.
Reflecting his musical lineage, he once said that “music flows in my blood”.
Gifted with a stentorian voice, he could sing perfectly in three octaves. He was not content with the fame and recognition gained by performing concerts and composed new raagas known as ‘raganga ravali’, ‘lavangi’, ‘mahati’ and ‘manorama’.
Though his native tongue was Telegu, he could sing effortlessly in many languages, including Tamil, Kannada, Sanskrit, Malayalam and Hindi.
Hindustani music too was not out of bounds for this musical genius and his ‘jugalbandis’ with eminent exponents like Pt Bhimsen Joshi and Kishori Amonkar, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt Jasraj and Zakir Hussain drew wide acclaim.
He also left his imprint in the field of cinema, where he tried his hand with acting and playback singing too.
Among his notable film forays was the song ‘Oru Naal Pothuma’ in “Thiruvilayadal”, starring Sivaji Ganesan.
Balamuralikrishna did full justice to the song, with his voice bringing out the arrogance of the character.
Besides numerous cities and towns in India, he gave concerts worldwide, including in the US, the UK, France, leaving audiences spellbound.
Tamil Nadu chief ministerJayalalithaa expressed said his death was an irreparable loss to the field of music, cinema, fans and “above all for me”.
Balamuralikrishna had dedicated a raaga in her name titled ‘Jaya Jaya Lalithe’.
RIP #Balamuralikrishna , the legend of our own music. Heartfelt condolences to his family.— selvaraghavan (@selvaraghavan) November 22, 2016
There can never be one like him. Never was. Never will be.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) November 22, 2016
Wish some legends would never leave us.
Rest In Peace Padma Vibhushan Dr.Balamuralikrishna. My salutations as a devotee of your music.— Mukundan (@mukundanraman) November 22, 2016
Great loss for carnatic music. Rip #Balamuralikrishna— lucky (@Lakshmi0823) November 22, 2016
RIP #Balamuralikrishna sir. Legend of the Carnatic Music world. Heartfelt condolences to his family.— Dhanush (@dhanushkraja) November 22, 2016
Rip #balamuralikrishna the legend . Have met him on lot of occasions . A great loss to the music industry— G.V.Prakash Kumar (@gvprakash) November 22, 2016
Nobody can fill the void left behind by his death. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. RIP #Balamuralikrishna 2— M Venkaiah Naidu (@MVenkaiahNaidu) November 22, 2016
RIP legendary #Balamuralikrishna sir.. Fondly remember interviewing him for my school magazine ..— Anirudh Ravichander (@anirudhofficial) November 22, 2016
Loss of a legend. RIP. Dr.Balamuralikrishna sir :( https://t.co/cfTNpHCL8q— Kajal Aggarwal (@MsKajalAggarwal) November 22, 2016
RIP Padma Vibhushan Shri Balamuralikrishna. The music world will suffer his loss forever. His godly voice will stay with us for eternity!— Prasanna (@Prasanna_actor) November 22, 2016
With agency inputs
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