GNB - AN AESTHETE TO THE FINGER-TIPS
While analysing the phenomenal success of GNB, the noted critic, B.V.K. Sastry said that two factors which contributed to the same in a great measure were his magnetic personality and his vibrant voice. The tall, lean and handsome GNB dressed in spotless white, with his glittering diamond ear rings. easily drew the immediate attention of all, young and old, male and female. His audience used to be thrilled and expectant when he ascended the platform and bowed to them in his characteristic way. GNB was a spontaneous attraction to the vast but
discerning crowd that used to throng to his concerts. He was the
prince charming ' and the ' matinee idol ' to most of them. By his magnetic personality and
pleasant mien he was able to establish an instant rapport with his audience who used to watch him admiringly and listen to him attentively.
His voice served him so well that he did not have to exert himself so much. The way he used to lift his left hand against his forehead while executing some of his inimitable ' sancharas ' in the upper octave was so graceful that people could not decide which was more admirable
the' ravais' that were flowing from his sonorous voice or the rainbow colours flashing from the rings adorning his fingers. GNB used to move his hands up in a romantic way when he was executing birkas in more than one octave culminating around the ' tharasthayi panchamam'. Many of his admirers used to eagerly await such birkas as well as his gestures which so well synchronised with the mood.
The way he used to keep time, as Prof. T.V.Ramanujam
once observed, itself was so beautiful. The beats fell evenly and produced such a pleasant sound that vied with the ' chappu '
that Palghat Mani Iyer would produce on his mridangam. Admiring his accurate method of
" keeping time " Mani Iyer said that any percussionist could play safely and without any fear or doubt by just following GNB's immaculate ' kai thalam'.
The gracious way of appreciating the accompanists synchronised with the ' mood ' and the ' bhava ' that were permeating his concert. The calculated pause he used to give between one item and the one following and his genial survey of the audience helped the listeners to absorb the previous item and get prepared for the next in the
ever pleasing bill of fare. Rarely was there any dull moment in a GNB concert. The super craftsman that he was, GNB always read the pulse of his audience correctly and catered to their wishes with a varied and lively presentation of the picturesque panorama of Karnatak music.
The pleasant, genial and modest way GNB used to receive and reciprocate the approbation and praise from music lovers and critics after the concert reflected his desire to do better and better. As his admirers used to say, GNB sang with so much of poise and aroma. The sweet smell of 'swag' perfume clinging to him during his concerts was a sort of halo to his music.
The fine ' akaras ' that beautified his alapana, the slightly nasal tone that embellished his ' thanam
' the crisp handling of kritis rendered without violence to the' sahitya', the melodious glow of
' swara korvais ' in his swaraprastharas were all
characteristic of art in its purest and finest form.