The present study demonstrates a detailed characterization of the binding interaction of a potential chloride channel blocker 9-methyl anthroate (9-MA) with calf-thymus DNA. The modulated photophysical properties of the emissive molecule within the microheterogeneous bio-assembly have been spectroscopically exploited to monitor the drug-DNA binding interaction. Experimental results based on fluorescence and absorption spectroscopy aided with DNA-melting, viscometric and circular dichroism studies unambiguously establish the binding mode between the drug and DNA to be principally intercalative. Concomitantly, a discernible dependence of the mode of binding between the concerned moieties on the ionic strength of the medium is noteworthy. A dip-and-rise characteristic of the rotational relaxation profile of the drug within the DNA environment has been argued to be originating from a substantial difference in the lifetime as well as amplitude of the free and DNA bound drug molecule. In view of the prospective biological applications of the drug, the issue of facile dissociation of the intercalated drug from the DNA helix via a simple detergent-sequestration technique has also been unveiled. The utility of the present work resides in exploring the potential applicability of the fluorescence properties of 9-MA for studying its interactions with other relevant biological or biomimicking targets. © 2015 the Owner Societies.