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Last update: 25 May, 2020

For MDR, concert was just an extension of his life. He did not really assume a higher pedestal when he is singing. There was no separation between the performer and the rasika. He did not create any formal divide between these two. This meant that MDR could express himself at any point in the concert and the rasika could also equally participate in such a conversation. Many times, one can see him talking with rasikas in the middle of a rendition. And, these were not just oneway conversations, but was a true dialogue where a rasika could also express their opinions/comments without any barrier!

There are no rules!

The most noticeable aspect about his dialogues is that it could happen at any point in the concert – from varNam to mangaLam, from AlApana to kalpanAswara. Transition from an ongoing performance to a dialogue and back is all smooth and instantaneous, and, is a natural part (or extension) of his concert.

  • Take this instance where he suddenly transitions into a discussion after doing some little additions on his own kruti (the question of “uLaro” – do they exist? – is altered and answered as “chilar uLare” – “some exist”). He explains about it, enjoys the reaction from the audience, and continues!

  • Another instance of impromptu interruption is below. When in good mood, MDR is eager to share his (contextual) thoughts. In “nA jIv(A)dhAra“, at “nA nOmu phalamA“, he is saying that this is the most important stuff and rest all are “alankAram” (~decorations).

  • When something comes to his mind, he had to say it even if it is in the middle of a charaNam. At “tantai sol taTTat“, he says something like, now-a-days, it is “tantai sol kaTTat” 🙂

  • Another instance of stopping in the middle of a line and breaking into a conversation!

  • Explaining the reason for picking up a kruti – that he has not sung it for a long time! (and this could be one of the slowest rendition of this kruti 🙂 )

  • Here is an even longer explanation for the care he is taking in building up the rAga. One can hear the audience’s reactions as well! He admits that he has “forgotten” and he is singing something “bEgaDa“-ish, and is struggling to get his signature “bEgaDa“. At the end of AlApana, he is comparing his effort as walking on street without streetlights and somehow reaching home. And, finally, the conversation ends with a comment on the city corporation! 😉

  • It is not just about krutis, even AlApanas can have a break!

Reaction to mistakes

Like his inability to control the urge to share something interesting, MDR is also unable to hide if a mistake happens from his side. If it happens, he may immediately react to it – sometimes it may be a chuckle, on other occasions, he may accept it and share it with the audience as well.

  • Take this case of Arabhi straying into devagAndhAri and his reaction to that can be heard around 47:00 (he accepts that slight derailment has happened)!


When the audience is responsive, MDR is happy to discuss the meaning and details of what he is singing.

  • In this case, he is correlating the lyrics and musical phrases – high tide (ascending phrase) and low tide (descending phrase) 🙂

  • Take this shLoka for example. He did some explanation around 2:00:55, made some joke around 2:02:10 & then went into a detailed explanation (with humour sprinkled in between :)) around 2:03:00 :

  • Another instance of a long explanation (audio is not very clear, my need some tweaking of equalizer to hear properly) – he asks for two minutes and starts the explanation around 2:39:50. As usual, it is filled with bhakti and humour (his typical style). Then he starts the line again and stops few times in between to highlight the key points. shLokA rendition is great as well, so worth listening till the end!

  • After rendering his own krutihariyum haranum“, briefly he touches upon the underlying topic. He also admits that there are few more lines and he had skipped them. And then explains about his mudra as well to the un-initiated!

  • During this rendition of “hariyum haranum“, he is saying that the list can go on and hence he put a stop to it and wrote “vINAna pEcchu idellAm” 🙂


Sometimes, the behaviour of the audience prompted MDR to intervene. Some such instances are recounted here.

At other times, it was just random!

  • Here, he already had an urge to speak in between the lines (at around 2:03:23), but he continues, ends the kruti and then starts the conversation:

  • MDR can naturally move to casual chat in between the concert and then continue with the concert as if nothing happened. An example can be heard in the below concert (chat takes almost a minute here)!

  • Here, he was experimenting with the sAhitya, and, he himself immediately reacted to it along with the audience (hear for 2 minutes from the point below):

  • In the concert below, MDR was intending to wind up the concert after his tillAna, but some in the audience is requesting him to sing few more. His ideas of a concert structure is evident in this conversation. He is arguing back that “I have almost finished the concert with a tillAana, now, what to sing after this? Don’t the people want to go home?” etc. When rasikas are still pushing him, he is remarking that instead of singing krutis again, he can sing mangaLam for half an hour, as that is the only item that fits post a tillAna 🙂

  • Lot of breaks happening here. And at one point, he breaks in the middle of a line, abruptly stopping the flow (note around 43:56) and commenting on something!

  • Here is an instance of his situational humour sense – when he sings the line “toli duSkrtamulu guggula dhUpamula raghunAtha” (All the results of my past misdeeds would go up in smoke as incense offered to You), he details the line a bit more than normal and then reasons out that “that account (of past misdeeds) is a big one and need a lot of time to clean up” 🙂 The whole rendition is very nice – detailed with lot of charaNams covered…

  • In summary, everything was music for him, as seen by his humming and reactions in this instance 🙂