Bhagawatha Mela Festival at Melattur

 ( "Prahlada Charithamu" with S.Natarajan as Leelavati and S.Kumar as Hiranyakashipu.)

Bhagawatha Mela is a tradional dance drama of Tanjavur Dristrict  in Tamilnadu.  This art is a sister or a cousin of yakshagana, we can say. It is Telugu art form surviving in Tamilnadu originally probably a branch of what we call as 'Kuchipudi', it went to Tamilnadu in about 1600 A D.  Now it is surviving in Melattur, Salaimangalam, Itthukadu etc.  It is perfomed only during Narasimha Jayanti.  It is now highly classicalised in its dance.  It has limited spoken words.  It is an interesting form.

Melattur Sri Laxmi Narasimha Jayanti Bhagawatha Mela Natya Nataka Sangham arranged the 60th annual festival this year from 28th of May to 2nd of June at Sri Varadarajaswami Temple. The festival included besides Bhagawatha Mela shows, Harikatha, Kuchipudi, Gramiya Ramayanam and Sankirthanam.  Kalaimamani Sri S Natarajan, the troupe leader and the leading actor has appealed for support to preserve the great traditional art in Melattur.  

Another troupe, Bhagawatha Mela Natya Vidya Sangam led by Sri Bharatham R Mahalingam also perfoms the Bhagawatha Mela dance drama in Melattur.  

Watching Bhagawatha Mela is a rich art experience. 





        Maddlegar Kinnir is no more

Senior Percussionist, Kinnir Narayana Hegde died recently at Kinnir, Malkod near Honnavar of U K District.  He was seventy.  Known for his outstanding command over the Maddale, Kinnir was a master of drum melody, clean and clear finger beats, adherence to traditional method and excellent follow-work on the stage, Kinnir was a team man.  He was the associate of senior artists like Keremane Shivarama Hegde, Yaji Bhagavath and Nebbur Bhagawath.






Jalandhar Rai Passes Away

Young yakshagana actor, social activist and school teacher, Jalandhar Rai (42) died at Mangalore, recently.  This was, a tragic end to a multifaceted career of great social value.  Sri Rai hails from Serthaje of Nidpalli, Puttur.  He was a science teacher at Anandashram High School Kotekar.  Rai was an amateur yakshagana artist and art organiser.  His roles like Hiranyaksha, Devendra, Rakthabhija, Madhu Kaitabha, Chandamunda, Sri Rama, Koti, Chennaya and many more had brought him laurels.  Sri Rai was a Kabaddi player, a social worker, teachers organisation leader and environmentalist.  






Deraje Samskritiranga, Chokkady

A cultural forum by the above name has been started at Chokkady Sri Rama Temple, Chokkady, Sullia Taluk of D.K. It aims at perpetuating the memory of artist and writer Sri Deraje Seetharamayya (1914 - 1984). Also called Chokkady Seetharamayya, he is considered to be one of the all time greats of Talamaddale form of art.  Born at Aivarnadu, he made Chokkady, the centre of his activities.  He founded the Chokkady Sri Rama temple.  The Samskritaranga is run by a Trust.  It aims to organise various activities like seminars on Deraje's works, on Talamaddale, honouring of artistes, running a yakshagana library, publication etc. besides weekly and special Talamaddale performances.  The forum will provide a befitting memorial to the great artist, writer and humanist Sri Deraje. 





'Yakshaprabandhagalu' Released

'Yakshaprabandhagalu' - a collection of critical writings on yakshagana by Prof. Udyavara Madhavacharya has been released recently.  Prof Acharya is a critic, short writer and a stage director.  The present book six articles dealing with various aspects of yakshagana.  The book is published by Vyasa Prakashana Udupi, and is priced Rs. 30/-.  The articles give interesting observations and insights into the theoretical and practical aspects of yakshagana.









Kalaranga: Silver Feathers

Kalaranga Udupi, a leading performance group and art welfare organisation, organised another week long festival from the 23rd to 30th of May as a part of their Silver Jubilee year series of programmes. The festival included performances by seven leading groups, including two professional troupes.  It also included one demonstration by Sridar Uppur, Balipa Narayana Bhagavata, T Jayant Kumar and others, and artists' get-together, and review seminar.  The seminar was led by leading experts H Subbanna Bhat, Prof. M L Samaga, Sadananda Aithal and others. 

This unique series of programmes was blessed and supported by Sri Sri Vishweshsha Thirtha Swamiji of Paryaya Pejawar Mutt and sponsored by a group of art loving business people.  The festival was well attended and was a grand success, said the Kalaranga President Sri Jagajivandas Shetty and the secretary Sri Murali Kadekar.






Talamaddale at Rangamane Mysore

Prof. Late Sindhuvalli Anantamurthy was a unique theatre person.  He was a teacher in dramatics, a director, an activitist and an organiser besides being a very good friend and gentleman.  

'Suruchi Rangamane' is the home theatre in which he used to organise theatre related programs.  Suruchi is a model for theatre work.  

A talamaddale 'Jarasandha Vadhe' was presented at Suruchi, Saraswatipuram, Mysore on 9th May 2000 on the occasion of the commemoration day of Sri Ananthamurthy.  It was presented by Dr M Prabhakar Joshy and party.  Leading literary persons and intellectuals attended.  Ms. Vijaya Sindhuvalli and associates hosted the program.








Troupes Conclude Tirugata

Different Yakshagana troupes concluded the tour itinerary between 10th and 24th of May. Traditionally the 10th day of 'Vrishabha' month (24th of May) is the day for the troupes to 'go in' i.e. to wind up for the  year.  Now many troupes fix their own last day of the Tirugata, while some follow the old pattern.  On the last day, the 'Seva' (free service to deity) performance is given at the concerned temple as an offering to the deity.  The accounts of the artists and of the troupe are closed and settled on that day.  The boxes (apparatus) are kept in ('pettige olage iduvudu').  Artists bid farewell, wishing to meet next year in the same troupe, go home after tiring tour.  The last day of the tour has an emotional touch.  There are about 30 professional troupes of yakshagana. All these troupes start planning for the next season right now.











Seven Jewels Honoured 

Seven leading personalities were honoured as "Tulunada Saptaratnas" at Manya of Kasaragod, on the occasion of Silver Jubilee of the Bayalata Seva by Nityananda Grinthalaya.  The seven honoured persons were Sri T Satish U Pai, Managing Editor, Udayavani, artistes Sri Sheni Gopalakrishna Bhat, Sri Perla Krishna Bhat, Sri K N Tailor, Sri Kumble Sundar Rao, Senior political leader Sri M Ramanna Rai and actor Sri Chinna Kasaragod. 






Yakshagana Camp for Children at Sullya

A week long residential camp was organised for primary school and high school children, at Sullya from 21st to the 28th of May.  The camp was organised at the Sneha School Complex, Parivarkana Sullya.  It was organised by the Tenkutittu Yakshagana Hitarakshana Vedike and Makkala Sahitya Sangama with cooperation from RRC Udupi and other sponsors. The camp schedule included simple theory and practicals, dance, costume, study of epic stories. slide show, video show, games, songs, discussions and yoga etc.

The camp was coordinated by Sri Chandrashekara Damle, Prof Srikrishna Bhat and Dr Prabhakara Shishila.  Many senior experts and artists visited the camp.








An Interesting Convention At Bettampady 

Bettampady is a place about 16 kms away from Puttur. It is known for its rich heritage and interest in yakshagana. The local temple of Sri Mahalingeshwara has an interesting convention.  The major festival of the temple is on Karthika Poornima, as in the case with many other temples.  But the last annual festival is on Pattanaje day, i.e. 24th of May, and it is locally called that the deity 'goes inside' though it is only symbolic.  This usage coincides with the system of yakshagana troupe's convention.  They 'go inside' (conclude the tour) on the 24th of May, that is the 10th day of Vrishibha month of solar calendar.  So, may be Bettampady temple had a yakshagana troupe for a long time.  The present ritual usage may be a remain of the same.

[Readers are requested to write to us on similar phenomena in other places]






Bettampady Sri Mahalingeshwara Yakshagana Sangha

Anniversary and Talamaddale

The anniversary of Bettampady Sri Mahalingeshwara Yakshagana Sangha was celebrated on the 24th of May.  Senior artists Bevinje Venkappa Rai Bhagawatha and Adur Sundara Rao Maddalegar were honoured.  There was a Talamaddale by well know artistes.




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