Tribute to Late Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna by his disciple D V Mohana Krishna
Seven decades of a successful life dedicated to song opts for silence and sojourn into another world. Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna was a legend in his lifetime. The unparalleled genius of Carnatic music firmament has as many ‘worshipers’ as his compositions. It was not just his fans who knew music and heard of him with awe and admiration; he was the pride of Telugu land, every single individual with some inkling of music through the radio to records to cassettes to CDs /DVDs spanning across generations, admired and followed him religiously. Such is the power of pure music.
Says the learned vocalist and disciple of Late Dr. Balamuralikrishna, D V Mohana Krishna, “For five blissful years, from 1982 to 1987, I imbibed music from him. I am a student, admirer and was occasional accompanist of Balaramurali sir”. At the age of 14, Balamuralikrishna was able to render in all the 72 melakarta ragas. What do you call this if not a prodigy. All the ‘navarasa’ found expression in his tone when he began to sing, more so the profound bhakti bhava. His pitch was three-and-a-half, none could sing in that range till date! He breathed life into the then All-India Radio’s popular early morning show, the Bhakti Ranjani that drew every individual to turn an ear to the radio in their houses.
On the night of 9th February 2017, D V Mohana Krishna performed Murali Gana Mohini under the Campus Concert Series in memory of his guru Late Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna at the University of Hyderabad (UoH). The programme commenced with a warm welcome by Dr. Zahidul Haque, Cultural Coordinator.
Shri. D.V.K. Vasudevan, music teacher at UoH and former cultural coordinator addressed the gathering and spoke in detail about Late Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna. He remembered Sri. Mohana Krishna’s association with the University and his kacheri in 2008 which was attended in large numbers by the students, faculty and staff. ‘It is only Mohana Krishna garu who can come closest to the legend himself’ said Mr. Vasudevan.
O Rajashekar garu, violin vidwan, Sri. Peravali Jaya Bhaskar, a much sought after mridangam artist and Shri Sai Charan, accompanying vocalist, were the other accompanists with Mohana Krishna. Mementos were presented to the artists as a token of love and gratitude.
A minutes silence was observed by the audience as a tribute to the maestro Dr. Balamuralikrishna garu.
The evening started with soulful rendition of gam ganapathe in ganapathi ragam and adi talam. This was followed by daivamu neeve in gurupriya ragam and adi talam. The greatness in Late Balamuralikrishna’s singing was seen in the rendition of amma anandadayini sung in gambiranata ragam and adi talam. The audience comprising of students, faculty, staff and many from outside were treated to divine performance through mama neni in todi ragam and adi talam. The performance ended with a thillana thaya ragamalika in ragamalika ragam and adi talam. Mohana Krishna’s performance was a fitting tribute to the great guru of carnatic music Late Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna.
D.V. Mohana Krishna was barely six when his grandmother placed him under the tutelage of guru Sistu Prabhakara Krishnamurthy Sastry in Machilipatnam. Confesses Mohana Krishna with a smile, “I was a diligent student and loved Carnatic music. But I was young and had a greater interest in Telugu film music, especially songs of Ghantasala.” For years, Mohana Krishna continued to nurture his love for both streams of music. When he was studying Intermediate, his guru gave him audio cassettes of Carnatic music giant M. Balamuralikrishna. Listening to Balamurali’s divine melodies, bhava-soaked renditions of lyrics gave him an insight into the greatness of the Carnatic classical tradition, he says. It also motivated him to learn from this great master. His ambition was fulfilled when Balamuralikrishna noted his talent and sincerity and accepted him as gurukula student.
The program was anchored by Miss Irene George, 1st year MA Economics student. A note of acknowledgement was placed on record at the end by thanking the artists especially Shri Mohana Krishna for keeping alive the legacy of his guru.