Voice of the Veena -
S Balachander | A Biography


Launch at Delhi - 8th February 2012

February 8th 2012 was when the national capital, Delhi, kept its date with the veena vidwan Dr S Balachander. The launch in the city was hosted by Raintree at the India International Centre. Parliamentarian Mani Shankar Aiyar regaled the audience with anecdotes about the maestro and talked at length about Balachander's contribution to Carnatic music and to Tamil cinema. Complimenting Vikram for his book, he said, "Vikram has been a very fair biographer. In writing about both Balachander's virtues and vices, the author has saved the book from becoming a hagiography." Aiyar read from an equally entertaining but poignant article written by H.Y. Sharada Prasad written shortly after Balachander's death, in which the writer recounts the many idiosyncrasies of the veena virtuoso, who happened to be a distant relative of Mr Aiyar.

The launch was also attended by noted danseuse Ms. Pratibha Prahlad and Secretary, Ministry of Culture Mr. Jawahar Sircar. Ms. Prahlad, who had the fortune of meeting the talented musician, called Balachander "a superlative performer" and emphasised his immense dedication to his art, which made him a first among equals. Mr. Sircar lauded Sampath's efforts to bring to public realm the life and times of the maestro, emphasizing the need to find such linkages to our heritage. Concluding the session, Vikram called Balachander a tragic hero and said he was among the rare breed of musicians who understood his responsibility as an artist and stood up for things that no one else would stand up for."When mediocrity can be self-obsessed, why not a genius? What's sad is that an entire generation was in such a haste to forget this man. This is an attempt to celebrate this much maligned, yet gifted musician and maverick," he said.

The evening began with a delightful video presentation that took the audience on a nostalgic trip as it featured clips from Balachander's films like Bommai and Andha Naal and also some of his concert clippings, TV appearances and the famous Baje Sargam where too he made an appearance.


Voice of the Veena

My Name is Gauhar Jaan!

Traces the story of the life of one of the earliest women artists, the first Indian voice to be recorded in 1902. More…

Splendours of Royal Mysore

One of the most definitive accounts of the Wodeyar Dynasty in recent times. More…