Mandolin Shrinivas

Much loved, much adored Mandolin U. Shrinivas, who remained a boy wonder all his life, is no more. He was a frail, shy teenager when he appeared on the cover of Sruti’s inaugural issue in October 1983, along with D.K. Pattammal, Lakshmi Viswanathan and Sonal Mansingh. Founder-editor N Pattabhi Raman concluded his profile of the child prodigy with the passage: “Meteors are transient; they describe a fiery streak in the sky and then burn themselves out. Stars stay with us, adding sparkle to our life. It is the hope of almost everyone who has been exposed to the luminosity of Srinivas’s music (that is how he spelt his name then) that he will turn out to be a star on the firmament of South Indian classical music.” There are those that believe Shrinivas had accomplished so much in his brief sojourn on earth, that it should not matter that he was snatched away in his prime just as Srinivasa Ramanujan and Subramania Bharati were. It is hard to agree with such a sentiment. At 45, he had many years of glorious creativity ahead of him, his music poised for a greatness beyond what he offered the world over the last three decades. The way he approached ragas, his new interpretations of them in recent years, suggested that the best of Mandolin Shrinivas was yet to come.