He is 70. But his enthusiasm to revive the dying Mudalapaya Yakshagana is going very strong. TS Ravindra, a native of Talakad in T Narasipur taluk, for the past five decades being doing everything possible to preserve this play for the next generation.
For the past two years he has been relentlessly visiting several schools in and around the districts of Mysore and Chamarajanagar, creating curiosity and interest in this art form amongst the youngsters urging them to start learning in their free time.
Watching with response from the people was becoming lukewarm, he decided to teach this art form directly to children in their schools during their spare time.
He has even taught Mudalapaya to tribal children belonging to the Soliga community. His love for propagating the art is so intense, that he is imparting the training freely to the school children. He commutes to schools at different locations, by himself bearing all expenditure.
He first visits a school and meets the Head Master their explaining him about the Mudalapaya Yakshagana and the importance of keeping the art-form alive. Only after completing after all due formalities he proceeds towards training. In order to motivate the students, and help them bring out their talents into the open, he approaches various organisation to provide an opportunity and makes sure the stage is set for the children.
The children will be trained to act and perform on stage, while narrating the 'Bhagawatha' will be managed by him. Bhaktha Markandaiah, scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharatha, tales from Panchatantra, incidents from Krishna, Lava-Kusha, Shiva and other art forms are being taught. He adds: 'This will also help children to understand about the culture of our country.'
'The interest to teach is gaining more momentum with each passing day. I want to teach about this art form to as many students as possible in my lifetime. I feel a sense of satisfaction. Several schools have come forward to engage their students to learn Mudalapaya,' he added.
Explaining the hurdles, he said: 'Its not an easy task to attract children towards this artform. Most of the parents do not agree to enroll their children. The parents should change their mindset and allow their children to learn traditional art forms.'
'Our ancients passed this knowledge within their family members, and there is need of bringing it into the open. Accompanying my father T Subbegowdru on his tour performances, who was a Yakshagana artiste, a teacher and a Gamaki, I learnt this art form. I feel happy to have imparted the training to hundreds of children so far,' he added.
'Mudalapaya Yakshagana and Theater base are same. While, at Mudalapaya the artistes enact dance, action, while 'bhagawatha' will rendered by others', according to BK Chandrashekar Gowda, Yakshagana lover.