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The Many Lives of Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna: An Authorized Biography

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Item Code: UBJ108
Author: Veejay Sai
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2022
ISBN: 9780670090426
Pages: 319 (Throughout Color and B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 9.50 X 6.50 inch
Weight 610 gm
Book Description
About The Book

Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, an internationally renowned Carnatic musician from the illustrious musical lineage of composer Saint Tyagaraja, wore many hats in his lifetime. Having made his stage debut at the age of seven, he was hailed as a child prodigy. From then till the time he passed away, at the age of eighty-six in 2016, he remained in the spotlight, not just for his extraordinary talent and versatility as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, but as a composer, playback singer and even, briefly, as a character actor.
He was a primary school dropout, a teenage poet and composer, a restless mind, a polyglot, a legacy upholder, a wordsmith, a path-breaker, and this is a story of the many lives of Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna.
Veejay Sai's in-depth research into Balamuralikrishna's life and work led him deep into unseen archival material, and across the Carnatic music landscape of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Fortified by interviews with the musician's family members, disciples and peers, The Many Lives of Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, a definitive biography of the musical genius, is not only a revealing account of the personal traits and facets of a great maestro, but also of India's classical music world, a place as much of beauty as of untrammelled egos.

About the Author

Veejay Sai is an award-winning author, editor, biographer, translator and culture critic. He has written extensively on Indian performing arts traditions and practitioners for over two decades, and has been documenting the cultural history of India. He lives in New Delhi.


It was the start of summer in 2010. Precisely, 30 April. Bengaluru is usually cool at this time of the year. A short bout of spring gives way to the summer. The interim period is when Bengaluru's old trees pop up in thousands of sequential blooms. That particular a concert of Dr Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna (Dr MBK) was organized in a makeshift stage under a shamiana in the open lawns of Bangalore Club. The scenic colonial hub in the heart of the city was packed with club members and his fans. Jayaraj, a connoisseur of classical music who had served as the of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, was one of the organizers of the event. Dr MBK was accompanied that evening by Mysore Manjunath on the violin, Jayachander Rao on the mridangam and Giridhar Udupa on the ghatam. A couple of songs into the concert. he began a long Aalapana in Ragam Amritavarshini. Halfway through the Aalapana, the fragrance of petrichor enveloped the space. Clouds gathered in the sky showered down unexpectedly. 'Santatam Chintaye Amriteshwari, Salilam Varshaya Varshaya,' Dr MBK continued to sing with a wide grin on his face as the rain lashed outside the tent.
A few murmured that it was Bengaluru's first summer shower. Others were stunned. Could this have been the power of his music? One will never know. We live in times when sentiments like devotion are easily rationalized and open to countless arguments. But for a true devotee of music, nothing can be more powerful than its effect. For a society obsessed with consumerism and hungry for quick, visible results, the subtlety of what a form like Carnatic can offer is often lost.
The concert ended and everyone was returning home. The maestro and his manager were both being hosted at the club. They had retired into their rooms, and I went to bid them goodbye. The manager asked me to meet them the next morning instead as their flight out of the city was only at noon. The next morning, we chatted over breakfast. I asked the maestro if he felt his music had brought in the rain the previous evening. He smiled widely and shrugged. 'Whatever you believed happened, happened!" he said nonchalantly.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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