Touring troupes invite amateur artistes and hobbyists to perform in shows

“Teach or learn during the day and play Yakshagana during the night” appears to be the mantra of some college teachers and students in the coastal belt.

And why not? Faced with a dearth of professional artistes, some touring Yakshagana troupes in the coastal belt are hiring the services of college teachers and students, who are amateur artistes, to fill the vacuum.

Deepak Rao Pejawar, head of the Department of Business Administration at Milagres Degree College in the city, is one of them. He is much-sought after by touring troupes. Mr. Pejawar, known for playing the characters of women, is being invited by Ramachandra Krupaposhitha Yakshagana Mandali, Hosanagara; Bhagawathi Mela, Sasihitlu; and Edneer mela.

“Though I get invitation to act on a daily basis during the peak season I agree for about 16 programmes per month as I have to balance between my profession and hobby,” he said.

Mr. Pejawar, who recently returned from a Dubai Yakshagana tour, also acts in off-season shows sponsored by different organisations.

Sujayeendra Hande, a Kannada teacher at Saraswathi Vidyalaya Pre-University College, Gangolli, Udupi district, said he received about 10 invitations a month during the peak season. He performed in Amrutheswari mela, Kota; Neelavara mela; and Perdoor mela.

Mr. Hande said that Bhandarkar’s College, Kundapur alumnus Naveen and SMS College, Brahmavar, alumnus Manoj Bhat also acted in melas during the night.

Principal of Excellent Pre-University College, Moodbidri, Shruthakeerthi Raja said that he got invitations for about 15 programmes a month during the peak season. He performed in Surathkal and Sasihitlu melas in addition to acting in Kateel and Dharmasthala melas as a “service”.

Mr. Raja said that some students of Alva’s College, Moodbidri; Gokarnanatheswara College, Mangalore; and Govindadasa College, Surathkal, also performed in melas.

Pocket money

The former chairman of Karnataka Yakshagana Bayalata Academy M. L. Samaga said that since many colleges had Yakshagana troupes of students, some of them made use of their talents to earn some pocket money. With their good health and quality performance, young students and teachers added value to the show.

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