ஜி.என்.பி நூற்றாண்டு மலரைப் பற்றி ஒரு பதிவு எழுதுவதாகப் போன பதிவில் எழுதியிருந்தேன். அதற்கு அவசியம் வைக்காமல் இன்றைய டைம்ஸ் ஆஃப் இந்தியா, சென்னை பதிப்பின் நான்காம் பக்கத்தில் ஒரு கட்டுரை வந்துள்ளது.
கட்டுரையை இங்கு இடுகிறேன். நன்றி ஷாலினி.
GNB: THE MAN & HIS MUSIC
Shalini Umachandran | TNN
He only wore khadi. He was the brand ambassador for Philips radios in the 1960s. He collected watches and cars from across the world. But to materials scientist and music lover Lalitha Ram, legendary Carnatic musician GN Balasubramaniam is a ‘gandharva’.
“Gandharvas are mythical beings known for their beautiful music. I believe GNB was a ‘gandharva’ who lost his way and landed on earth,” says Ram, co-editor of a commemorative volume on GNB, ‘Gandharva Ganam’, that will be released on January 5. “That’s why I chose the title. I know I sound fanatical when I talk about GNB,” he says, laughing. “But he has had a profound influence on my life,” says the 30-year-old. “He kept experimenting with music and that inspires you to reinvent yourself, no matter what your field is.”
As 2009 is GNB’s centenary year, his family wanted to bring out a souvenir paying tribute to him and his music. “We’ve focused more on his music,” says V Ramnarayan, editor of ‘Sruti’ magazine, who worked with Ram on the volume.
“We listed various facets of GNB’s music — his compositions, handling of ragas, preparation for concerts, layas, voice, kritis… and got experts to write about them,” says Ram, who has also written a Tamil biography of GNB, ‘Isai Ulaga Ilavarasar GNB’. “He is the best example of lakshya (creativity in music) blending with lakshana (grammar). GNB was known for his technical genius and that’s what this book focuses on,” he explains.
‘Gandharva Ganam’ is divided into three sections: the first has analyses of GNB’s music by experts, the second comprises writings by GNB and his father; and the final section contains personal reminiscences by friends and admirers. “People know that GNB wrote many articles on music but they’ve never been compiled. We’re hoping this volume will change that,” says Ramnarayan.
The book also contains three unpublished articles and a CD with a rare recording that GNB made for a foreigner just before his death in May 1965. “It was hard to read his handwriting in the unpublished articles,” says Ram. “It’s been satisfying to do research and discover new facets of the man and his music,” he says.
Ramnarayan adds that the articles were all in English and impeccably written. “He held a BA Honours in English Literature and his writings show his familiarity with poet s like Milton, the Greek tragedies, Western philosophy and music,” he says.
The volume is peppered with a number of rare photographs. Ram spent days in the Roja Muthiah library. “I found original film posters (GNB acted in five Tamil films) and even a Philips ad in which he was endorsing a radiogramme,” says Ram.
Ram has been an ardent admirer of GNB since his school days. “I listen to his music every day,” says Ram, whose fascination with GNB began after he watched a documentary on the musician on Doordarshan as a boy. Ramnarayan, though, is a relatively new convert. “I had heard GNB live when I was about 10, but didn’t think much of his music. In fact, I even believed he sang off-key. But that was until the beginning of this year when I watched a series of DVDs of a workshop analysing GNB’s music that Sruti had conducted in 1992,” he says. “That’s when I realised how profound yet accessible his music is. He is easily one of the most intellectual Carnatic musicians.”
RARE GLIMPSES: GNB during a recording for AIR; GNB with Ragini, ML Vasanthakumari & Padmini at a party hosted by MLV’s father Aiyyasami Iyer after GNB received the Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1958, and GNB inspecting a Philips radio, for which he was brand ambassador