India’s violin virtuoso Balabhaskar dies at 40

Music lovers in southern India are in mourning for violinist and composer of Balabhaskar, above, (Credit: Facebook) who died on Tuesday at the age of 40 after being on life support for a week in a hospital following a car accident on Sept 25 while returning home with his family from a temple.

Balabhaskar, who was reported to be recovering, suffered a heart attack and died around 1.55am in Thiruvananthapuram, his home town.

His two-year-old daughter Thejaswini Bala had died soon after their car hit a tree in Pallippuram outside the town, a loss he was not aware of till his last breath. His wife Lakshmi (38) is still in a serious condition in the ICU of the hospital.

Shaken by the tragedy that struck the musician’s family, thousands of mourners from different walks of life made a beeline to the University College, where he studied and his mortal remains were kept, to pay their last respects. Many uttered a prayer silently as Balabhaskar’s favourite songs were played on piano in the background by one of the artistes.

The funeral will take place at Santhikavadom crematorium in Thycaud with full state honours on Wednesday around 10 am.

At the age of three, Balabhaskar learned lessons in violin from his uncle B Sashikumar, a noted violinist and composer. The strong base in classical music gave him the confidence to do his first performance at the age of 12. He never looked back.

The young musician was equally attracted by popular film songs and soon the idea of fusing the classical and light forms of music struck him. At University College, he formed a pop music band called Confusion with his friends. He did several stage shows and won awards at music competitions.

At the age of 17, he composed music for a Malayalam film. More offers came but he soon left the industry as he wanted more freedom to experiment as a music composer. His fusion music became immensely popular as he presented the best in classical and popular music. His stage shows were full of life and vigour and attracted huge crowds.