But there is a revival in the art, says theatre person Malathi

Theatre in Karnataka is seeing a resurgence of interest, said S. Malathi, theatre person and alumnus of National School of Drama. She was speaking after inaugurating an event to mark ‘Konkani Diacharane’ (Konkani Theatre Day), held in the city on Wednesday at the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy.

She said theatre is seeing a revival today though “at one time, it looked as though theatre was dead”. It is houseful for theatre programmes in places such as Thirthahalli,” she said.

Ms. Malathi said parents must encourage children who are enthusiastic about theatre. Theatre does not discriminate against a person on grounds of gender, caste and other differences, she said.

During the struggle for Independence, theatre, especially street theatre, played a very important role as also during the 1970s, when it was very relevant to the social and political repression. Currently, however, the problems that theatre faces today are a lack of money and women actors, who are more interested in acting for television.

Theatre vs cinema

She said cinema is an industry, where money matters while theatre reflects society’s humanism.

Kasaragod Chinna, Chairman, Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, said that a section of Konkani theatre is yet to shake off its shackles with traditional themes (pouranika naataka) still dominating. “The change is just beginning,” he said.

Technically too, it is very far behind its rivals. “If there is a situation when a play has to be sent to the national level, it is very challenging,” he said.

Actors who have moved to cinema from theatre cannot be trifled with. “They cannot be pushed around,” he said.

Konkani theatre artistes John Permannur, Deepali Khambadakone, Vithoba Bhandarkar and Charan Kumar, music director, were felicitated at the event.