Theatre

In favour of pouranic plays

Naidu Gopi Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Naidu Gopi Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

Theatre personality Naidu Gopi opines that pouranic drama helps artistes grow professionally, though social drama helps get recognition.

The name Naidu Gopi rings a bell in Telugu theatre circuit for its ingenious performance and production as well. An ace actor and director, he has about 2000 performances to his credit over 25 years since he had launched his banner Gangotri at Pedakakani Guntur. Though a bigwig in social theatre, he essayed in historical and verse dramas as well which won him laurels. In recognition of his yeoman service to the cause of theatre, Bahuroopa Natasamkhya of SK Misro warmly felicitated him on an impressive note at Kalabharati Visakhapatnam recently.

“Unlike in social theatre,” he says, “Pouranic theatre provides room to become professional for one can choose a particular character and hone his talent on that count. The contours of the character remain well-known in its varied shades through the corpus of mythology and interpretations that helps one get moulded for its portrayal. Social theatre is different in its nature and content. Every character in a new script has its own dimensions of expression for its portrayal and no two characters are alike. Thus for an actor, every assignment is a challenge. One can therefore become a seasoned artiste rather than a professional known for portrayal of a particular character like those of mythological ones Krishna, Haarischandra etc. With its multiple characters social theatre range remains ever expanding”, he averred

“Parishad, undeniably, set the template for the script with its limited characters; however it is on account of feasibility of the cost of production rather than anything else for social theatre troupes seldom make any bucks through performance. Nevertheless there came a few dramas with wider canvas such ‘Padamati Gali’, of course they continue to remain exceptions. But for the Parishad competitions, Telugu social theatre would have been a thing of past decades ago. Parishads, through their periodical competitions provide succour for the substance of amateur theatre activity,” he observed.

On the decline of young crop of theatre artistes, he blames it on the corporate nature of college education. “In our days, every college worth its name used to have a dramatic association and an opportunity to stage a performance on its anniversary and any other important occasion. Today no college seems to encourage it and their celebrations go high tech rather than the theatre way. In the absence of a conducive ambiance in college, it is hardly possible to hope for a young crop of theatre artistes to surface and those that emerge are a few and far between. More over there are glamorous distraction like the small and big screen,” he said.

A recipient of several Nandi awards in theatre, Naidu Gopi feels that the new scripts do no good for the promotion of theatre. Unlike pouranic scripts which can be staged repeatedly by different troupes, a social script has to be a new one and it must be its first performance. For many scripts, , its first performance turns into its last one as the cost of production is prohibitive and is not affordable for any ordinary occasion. Moreover the troupe has offer a new script to be in the Nandi fray, leaving the tried one aside, and no troupe can repeat it even with improvements,” Naidu Gopi observed.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 3:15:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/theatre-personality-naidu-gopi-opines-that-pouranic-drama-helps-artistes-grow-professionally-though-social-drama-helps-get-recognition/article7818197.ece

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