Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu was the pioneer (writer) of Telugu Drama. A versatile writer, he wrote dramas, novels and social satires which had a great impact on Telugu literature. Above all, Veeresalingam was also a great social reformer who, through his writings, fought against racial discrimination and several other social evils. He encouraged widow re-marriages which was a rarity at that time. The first Telugu drama that was staged was Vyavahara Dharma Bodhini written by Kandukuri.
To honour the great writer and social reformer, the Telugu drama society celebrates the Telugu Nataka Ranga Dinotsavam on the his birth anniversary.. In Vijayawada, an elaborate function was organised jointly by A.P. Department of Culture, Abhiruchi Cultural Association, Andhra Arts Academy and G.V.R. Government College of Music and Dance at Gokaraju Laila Gangaraju Kalavedika situated on Music College grounds, Vijayawada.
The highlight of the function was the honour extended to veteran movie and stage actors Vizag Prasad and Kondavalasa Lakshmana Rao. On behalf of Andhra Arts Academy, Golla Narayana Rao, chief secretary of the Academy presented the ‘Polavarapu Koteswara Rao' memorial awards to the two reputed artistes.
Speaking at the felicitation function, Prasad and Lakshmana Rao emotionally stated that the field of Telugu Drama is now in a pitiable position due to the onslaught of movies and TV The TV channels, they stated, bring disgrace to the true Telugu culture. They appealed to all to uplift the state of the Telugu drama and bring it back to its lost glory.
Other veteran drama artistes who were felicitated by the organiaers were Surabhi Indira, Subramanya Yadav, Mannem Jyothi, K.S. Sastri and S.Venkateswara Rao.The function was followed by some skits. The scene Krishnarjuna Samvadam taken from the mythological drama Gayopakhyanam was enjoyed by all. The roles of Krishna and Arjuna were excellently played by Chilukuri Babu Rao and B.Venkateswara Rao respectively. The comedy skits presented were Cinema Pichodu, Bank Loan, Gedelu-Vati Samrakshana and Doctor and Patient. The participants in the skits were Ramesh, Malleswara Patnaik, Mhona Krishna, Rajeswari, Pavankumar, Adisheshu, Shyam and M. Subba Rao.
Keywords: Telugu theatre day