One of the oldest theatre groups stages mythologicals.
Kalarajyam is perhaps the oldest theatre group that has been staging a good mix of verse plays. The unit celebrated its 37th anniversary over three days with three popular productions at Thyagaraya Gana Sabha. The man behind the show is Munnangi Bhasker. The festival had three verse plays – Chintamani of Kallakuri Narayana Rao on the first day, Sri Rambhakta Hanuman of Maddela Panchandam and Srikrishna Rayabharam of Tirupati Venkata Kavulu. The first and last plays were being often staged, the second day's production Ramabhakta Hanuman proved more interesting to watch. It narrated how great was the devotion of Hanuman to his Lord Srirama.
The play was in verse format, but was simple to assimilate. The storyline is sure a figment of playwright's imagination. Celestial figures thambura and Narada vie with the other each vouching he was the best singer. Srikrishna, arbitrator in this issue, asks Garuda, his mount, to go to Rameswaram and fetch Hanuman, a great singer himself, to adjudicate. The play then concentrates on projecting the ‘Rama Bhakti' of Hanuman. Hanuman first refuses the wish of Garuda saying that he would come only on the orders of Rama, not Krishna. He finally arrives at Dwaraka and gets convinced that Krishna is Rama's form in this incarnation. The adjudication of singing prowess ends in Anjaneya rendering a song- Madhuramu Rama Katha- and Krishna announcing that it was neither Narada nor thambura, but Hanuman is the greatest singer of them. Other characters of Balarama and Satyabhama are also played up well in different scenes.
Bhaskar Munnangi handled this production well, with planned moves of the characters on the stage and in their entrance and exit. The change of Krishna to Rama and back were quick. Bhaskar's son Jagankumar was in the main role of Hanuman and ably presented the mannerisms too, besides impressive rendition of verses and a song. Munnangi Prabhu Dayakar, Bhaskar's brother was in other roles of Srikrishna and Srirama, with a little make up change. P. Bhaskara Rao (Narada), Ramesh (thambura), Salvachari (Garutmantha) and Tirumala (Satyabhama) acquitted themselves well.
Of the other two plays staged in the fest Chintamani was presented in its original form of Kallakuri's text. G Gopalakrishna and Subhashini essayed the roles of Bilvamangala and Chintamani. ESR Murthy, Vijayalakshmi and Subbaraju were in other important roles.
Sri Krishna Rayabaramu was staged on the last day instead of the originally scheduled Sri Ganapathi Mahatmyam that was cancelled in the last minute. The Mahabharata play too was shortened and restricted to just two scenes – Dwaraka and Rayabaram.
Telangana Sakuntala, E.V. Swamy and Karampudi Venkat Rao were felicitated, respectively on each of the three days for their services to the theatre.