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Balamurali turns 75

GUDIPOODI SRIHARI

An impressive function was organised to celebrate Balamurali's 75th birthday.



MEMORABLE MOMENTS Balamuralikrishna being felicitated for his contribution to classical music.

Managalampalli Balamuralikrishna, a musical legend in his lifetime and still going strong even after completing six decades of his singing career, celebrated his 75th birthday here recently at the Abid's Taj hotel.

A large number of friends from the music world besides family members and well wishers were present on the occasion.

The man who made this event most memorable was his childhood friend, colleague in profession and an eminent violinist and vocalists Neti Srirama Sarma.

Balamurali revealed at the function - "Myself and Neti Srirama Sarma were in the same class. But I left the school in three months, but Neti studied for two more years."

Neti and Balamurali learned Carnatic music from Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Panthulu, a role model for the creation of Sankara Sastry in Sankarabharanam, by K.Viswanath. Even the make-up given to Sankara Sastry's character was also that of Parupalli. Later Balamurali and Neti parted ways. Neti feels grateful to Balamurali for it was he who got the former's appointment in All India Radio.

Neti thought it fit to use this occasion to pay his respects to his friend, philosopher and guide Balamurali by organising the big event and felicitate him. The felicitations also carried a cash gift of Rs.75, 116/- to mark Balamurali's 75 years of age. A large number of musical lovers, member of various music sabhas attended the celebrations.

In a touching gesture, Balamurali presented Neti Srirama Sarma, with a chain which he has been wearing in all the concerts for the last 50 years.

Responding to the lavish praises showered on him by veterans like Malladi Chandrasekhara Sastry, Palagummi Viswanatham, Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, Annavarapu Ramaswamy and others, Balamurali turned philosophical when he said that he was not a musician, but an instrument of God to convey music through him.

In Telugu, his sentence has a touch of poetic expression Bhagavanthudu nannu panikirani vanigaa kaaka, Sangeetha parikaraaniga niyoginchadu. "If anyone asks me I tell it wholeheartedly, that I don't know music. But music knows me. It is using me as an instrument," he explained.

"My strength is the blessings of great gurus. I had the occasion of rendering as a ten-year-old, before Adibhatla Narayanadas (Harikatha Pitamaha). He blessed me. But guru means only one guru, our Guru — Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Panthulu. He knows how to teach every individual student according to their aptitude," he remininsced.

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