Voice of the Veena -
S Balachander | A Biography


Launch at Bangalore - 24th January 2012

The Bangalore launch of 'Voice of the Veena' was held at the Darbar Hall of the Raj Bhavan, Bangalore on 24th January 2012. The event was hosted by the International Music and Arts Society, in association with Raintree publishers. IMAS has been highly supportive of Vikram Sampath's earlier efforts and books and readily came forward to host this event as well. The glittering Darbar Hall came to life even as several music enthusiasts congregated for an evening of melody and discussions around the life and times of one of India's greatest Vainikas.

Governor of Karnataka Dr H R Bharadwaj formally launched the book in the city. The guests of the evening included veteran film actress Smt Sowcar Janaki and musicians Smt Neela Ramgopal and Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh. Smt Janaki felicitated all the panelists including the Governor and the author with silk shawls. She recalled her film days with late SB and how he was a stickler for discipline on the sets, yet how respectfully he treated his co-artists, especially women. She richly complimented the author for taking the risk of writing candidly on uncomfortable matters that involved Balachander's perennial quest for the truth and his fight against the musical establishment that sought to regiment the art form. Smt Neela Ramgopal brought out the musical genius of the vidwan, his involvement in several unique projects like the Melakartha project, the 45 ragas concert eschewing all percussion, the foray that he made for the veena in the West and his numerous controversies.

Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh, being rightly placed as both the guru of author Vikram Sampath and the student of the late Maestro, sought to draw a beautiful comparison between the author and his subject - about how seemingly different they were, yet united in their spirit and commitment for the truth. Governor Bharadwaj lauded the author's efforts and mentioned that in these days when sensational and controversial topics were all that writers were seeking to milk, it is rare to find authors like Vikram who, guided entirely by their passion and devotion for music, write honestly on such subjects. He took the audience on a delightful nostalgic trip of the past covering a host of subjects of cultural importance. The evening ended with the audience asking for more and with beautiful memories of the lovely music that Dr Balachander created.


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