Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This family members have dedicated their life to theater field

At a time when modern life had made people think of acquiring degrees, get a fat salaried job and settle in life, here is a family which threads the path less traveled and has made theater their life.

'Surabhi' family of which the fifth generation is into theater, have kept an unbroken record to pursue the theater field started by their great grandfathers 129 years ago, despite the fact that majority of them are well educated in different fields and some have even received gold medals.

Swapna Subhadra, a teen member of the family who is currently pursuing her Ph.D on 'Gubbi Veeranna theater company and Surabhi Company' said that “Education is meant to make us aware of knowledge, but theater is creative, to be alive, which is what life is all about. We have never thought of venturing into other streams.”

Another member Geethasri, a MBA holder, said she enjoys staging plays. “I won't feel I am highly qualified, as there is lot to learn each moment. Everyday we upgrade our talent and think of performing well.” Sharath, a BSc graduate, said that it was God's gift, while B.Com holder Chinmay expressed his happiness for staging plays.
Another interesting aspect is that all these family members are multi talented. Apart from acting, all the music, stage decoration, make-up, lightings, stage set are done by themselves.    

Presently three generations, belonging to the fifth, sixth and seventh generations are in Mysore to stage the play 'Jai Pathala Bhairavi' (Telugu) at the on-going Bahuroopi National Theater Festival being held on January 17.  The family team comprising of 69 boys and girls, apart from 13 couples will be staging plays under the banner, 'Sri Venkateshwara Nataka Mandali' popularly known as, 'Surabhi' (Surabhi is the name of a village in Andhra Pradesh).

The family members, numbering around 300, have dedicated their life entirely to theater field as their motto says it all, “Theater is our life”.  Surabhi has been divided into five troupes at present and the family members stage plays across the country.  Right from pregnant woman to an aged person, all perform on stage.

The head of the family, R Nageshwar Rao proudly said that Surabhi is a dedicated family group and for the past seven generations they have not given up theater field. “There is several instances artistes have died while staging play, and we have continued the play, laying down the body to side,” he added.

Sanjeev Rao who belongs to the first generation, began his career by holding puppet show and also staging plays wayback in 1885. Since then the legacy has continued without break in the succeeding generations. They stage folkart and historical plays.

Transgenders enact the play based on their daily life

Enacting the Marathi Play 'Hijda' at the Bahuroopi Theater Festival here on Thursday, transgenders expressed the problems they faced daily in the society, in addition to being tagged as 'gay', their daily life, how their own family members treat them apart from the society and also the other way around.

The artistes said that by staging the plays they gained immense self confidence, learnt to handle daily things and their acting skills vastly improved. More over they have learnt to live in harmony and have got lot of time to understand each other.

The play was staged under the banner of Akanksha Rangabhumi, Pune. Apart this, the live music played drew the attention of people in large.
Akbar Shekh an officer at RTO, Pune and a theater artiste said that the plays will spread light on issues of transgenders and educates populace about the problem encountered by transgenders in society.
The troupe members are planning to produce two plays in coming days based on German Writer Kafka and another play about love and relationship.

They said: “When people like our acting and applaud, sky is the limit for our joy.” Zaqmeer Kamal, Head of the Hijda Theater group is a lecturer of German language in Pune University. With keen interest in theater field, amidst his daily schedule, he has dedicated some time daily for theater activities.

Satish Sanbhor costume designer said that he loves theater field and for the past 15 years he has dedicated his life in creative sector.


Girl to perform Gotipua dance at Theater festival 
Gotipua, a folk dance of Orissa, which was hitherto performed only by boys aged below 15 years, is slowly opening up to girls, keeping in tune with the modern times. The dance group comprising of 18 artistes has only one girl artistes named Sonalatha, who is expected to enthrall audience by her scintillating performance on January 16, at the on-going Bahuroopi National Theater festival. 

For 16-year-old Sonalatha who started practicing at the tender age of three has performed all across the country, including in some parts of European Countries. 

She says: “Earlier girls were forbidden to practice this traditional dance Gotipua. It was challenging to break the age old tradition that only boys   should perform the Gotipua. Being introduced to it when I was very young, I gradually developed interest and dedicated myself to learn the dance form. Today, am proud and happy.”  

“I enjoy dancing the religious themes adopted while staging plays at different parts of the country. This also in a way introduces our religion, culture, tradition to Westerners” she added with contentment. 
The interesting feature of Gotipua is that dancer himself has to sing and dance while performing onstage. A major portion of the dance involves gymnastics and the artistes have to practice daily from 5 am to 7 am without break to attain the mastery, she adds. 

'The Gotipua is performed by a group of boys all aged below 15 years, but the interesting feature is they are all clad in female costumes. But, because of her interest and love for Gotipua, she continued her studies at Gurukala and practiced Gotipua alongside,' said her master Prakash Kumar. 

'The word Goti means individual or single and Pua means boy. Boys dressed in female costumes perform these dances during the time of  festival and on other special occasions. But as more number of girls began showing interest in learning this art form, four Gurukulas in Orissa began teaching the same and presently more than 110 girls are learning this traditional art form,” he added.

Boys and girls are recruited when they are around five years old and after a rigorous training are allowed to dance in public programmes. As boys attain adolescence at the age of fifteen and changes occur in their appearances it becomes difficult to clad them in female dress. Thus, boys after 15 years are not allowed to perform Gotipua, he added.  

The roots of Gotipua Dance (dance by boys) can be traced back to the tradition of Maharis or Devadasis attached to the temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri, Orissa, he added. 

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25 years journey of Rangayana

The 25-years journey of Rangayana is a milestone in theater field. To commemorate this, a special photo exhibition is being held recording the 25 year journey of Rangayana repertoire that took birth in 1989.

Photographs of plays such as Govina Hadu and Kindarajogi staged in 1989; Raga Sanje staged in 1990 are still the cynosure of all eyes at the exhibition. Apart from this, photos of the first plays staged at Rangayana was seen attracting art lovers in large, drawing their interest towards stall.

Thirukana Kanasu, Sarasammanna Sammadhi, Kusumabale, Malegalli Madhumagallu, Chandrahasa, Gunamuktha Katharanga, Kallaralli Hovagi, Krishnegowdana Anne, Gora of Gurudeva Ravindranath Tagore, Sadarama Naoolcam, cheque mate, chirebandi vade, Sigal, were some of the other photographs displayed at the expo. 


Relish mouth watering dishes of Hubli at Bahuroopi theater festival 
Theater lovers visiting the ongoing Bahuroopi National Theater festival were also seen making a beeline for relishing the mouth watering dishes of Hubli. 

A stall setup at the food counter in Kalamandira Premises under the banner 'Hubli Special' has become the second most visited spot for chat lovers. The yummy taste of hot Jowar Roti accompanied with brinjal gravy is drawing large number of crowds. Apart this, Jilibe, Girimittu, hot chilli bajji are some of the mouth watering dishes that are being served at this stall.

Eatery owner Soumith hailing from Hubli said that this is the second time they have erected the stall and the response is good right from day one. “Here people seem to have a liking for spicy dishes. On the opening day of theater festival I had roaring business.” 

Another stall setup by TS Nagakumar serves varieties of chats, his specialty being the 'Karibev Bhel' served along with sweet and hot Chutney made of  20 different kinds of ingredients. 

Nagkumar claims that his Chutney have medicinal properties that benefits the health as it cures cold and cough, while easing breathing problems and even reducing blood pressure. 

He also serves the regular chats like Bangarpet Pani Puri, rose Gulkand, Bannana Mix, Lotus Gulkand, Ghee Puri, Special Panis prepared out of fruits like mango, pineapple, grapes, pomegranate, pudina, lemon and much more.

Apart this, the theater festival is drawing book lovers. Books covering a wide range of subjects from history and mythology to books authored by Jananpita Awardees are exhibited here offering special discount. Ready made cotton dresses, saris, art works have also been displayed at the venue.  

Senior Citizen Chalapathi opined that the exhibition could have organised well related to art, culture, instead of erecting majority of stalls related to book and hand loom.


Bahuroopi National theater festival to kick off from January 14
Rangayana Theater repertory, is gearing up to host its eleventh National theater festival 'Bahuroopi' from January 14 to 20, with the theme 'Sufi Saint Harmony'. 

The annual fest will be inaugurated by Chief Minster Siddaramaiah on January 14 at 3.30 pm. Cine-Actor Prakash Raj, Minister V Srinivasa Prasad will be the chief guests. Prior to this, Ekathari Troupe will be presenting 'Thatwapada'. 

Briefing the media here on Thursday, Rangayana Director H Janardhan said that about 800 artistes from across country to enthrall the theater buffs, by staging plays in eight languages, such as Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Hindi, Nepali, apart from four plays based on Kannada litterateur.   
Plays will be staged at Vanaranga (7 pm) and Bhoomigeethe (3.30 pm and 6.30 pm) auditorium. Whereas Sriranga Auditorium will be used to host Bahuroopi Film Festival, he added.  


A two day seminar on ‘Sufi-Saint-Harmony' will be will be held on January 18 and 19. Talks on ‘Sufi-Saint-Philosophy-Harmony-Secularism-Nativity’, including a special session on 'Experience-Mysticism' has been organised. Sarod Player Pandit Rajeev Taranath will inaugurate the event on January 18 at 10 am. Thinkers Rahmat Tarikere, G K Govinda Rao, Muzaffar Assadi, Rajappa Dalavayi will be present.  
Film festival
Bahuroopi film festival will be inaugurated by Film Director Kesarai Haravoo on January 14 at 11 am.Plays like Crazy Stranger (Romanian), Rebel Music of Americas (Spanish), Rebel Music-The Bob Marley Story (English), Kabir Khada Bazaar Mein (Hindi) and  Jai Bhim Comrade (English) will be screened. 

Theater artiste MK Ryna will deliver valedictory address on January 20. Rangayan former director Dr BV Rajaram will be felicitated by Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree on the occasion.

Prominent plays 
* A Marathi play 'Satya Shodak' based on the life of social reformer Jyothiba Phule will be staged by team of Municipal Corporation Workers Union, Pune, where more than 70 per cent of the theater artistes are pourakarmikas.  
* Abhinaya Theatre Research Center, Kerala, will be staging  a Malayalam play 'Macbeth'. 
* Aarohan Theatre Group, Nepal will be staging Nepali play 'Agniko Katha'. 
* Akanksha Rangabhumi, Pune will be staging Marathi Play 'Hijda' (transgender). 
* Kannada Plays: Nammolagobba Najookayya by Nataranga, Bangalore; Devanampriya Ashoka by Gothami Foundation and Mecca Dari by Tarikita Kala Kammata, Mangalore are some of the prominent plays at the fest.  

Entry fee
Entry fees for the plays is Rs 30. State government has sanctioned Rs 35 lakh for this national theater festival. 

Other highlights 
* Kindirajogi: Kalaripayattu of Kerala, Sufi Songs, Dollu Kunitha, Pooja Kunitha, Gotipua of Orrisa and other folk arts will be performed during the fest daily at 5 pm. 
* To commemorate the 25 years journey of Rangayana, a photo expo of theaters plays will be displayed. 
* 50 stalls will be erected at the venue, which include book and handicraft stalls. 


Play to throw light on Godhra riot victim
The two plays to be staged at the on-going Bahuroopi Theater Festival on July 17 and 18 , to remember the incident of 2002 Godhra violence and the fire in the monastery at Katmandu, Nepal. 

The play 'Seventeenth July' (Hindi) directed by Bapi Bose will be enacted by the troupe of Circle Theater Company on July 18. 

“Seventeenth July portrays the political scenario of present India; the communal violence took place at Godhra and a false rape charge brought against Asif Mirza and some of his Muslim friends. Based on this the story is being narrated,” said troupe members. 

“Muslims are projected in negative and basically majority of them fear to develop relationship. There is a court scene in the play, where the lawyer highlights the positive attitudes and the sufferings, problems being faced by Minorities. For today's communal politics the play is very relevant,” added another troupe member.  

The trial scenes that follow, unveils Indian Politics, and the use of communal sentiments to instigate political disturbance, while at the same time it presents a confrontation of two ideologically different lawyers, politically motivated public prosecutor Pankaj Pareekh and a   Rakesh Chatterjee, who is a strong believer of equality of people, religion, faith and human rights. Rakesh is desperate to bring fair justice to Asif and his friends. Will Asif survive this religious discrimination? With all this the play ends, added troupe members. 


Agniko Katha: A Tale of Fire 

A group of 22 members are on a mission to spread the message of peace through their Nepali play 'Agniko Katha' on January 19. The troupe members under the banner of Aarohan theatre Group, have already staged this play for more than 150 times world wide.  

Play Director Sunil Pokharel said that Agniko Katha (A Tale of Fire) is set in a monastery of the Tibetan Buddhist order in the mountain. 
“The play is related to incident of fire in monastery. The mankind is caught between movement and rigidity. The character imagine various reasons for the fire that engulfs the monastery the fire consumes the letters that have not been read by the monks and runs. A kind of uncertainty prevails. This is a play about concepts, quest, queries and quirks that the characters,” he added. 

“It was in 1989, Tyangboche Monastery burnt down. The monastery has been restored already. But, in Nepal, we see many things falling down and the series of destruction’s going on. We have been witnesses of the firing in schools of little kids, teachers being abducted, disappeared and killed almost daily and centres of learning put on fire. Prof Abhi Subedi who was the witness of a library being burnt down by his own students, conceptualised and wrote Agniko Katha,” he added. 
“Peace is never ending thing in country, and to spread the message of peace the play is relevant for all the time', he added.

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