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Tuesday, Oct 29, 2002

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Modern Kannada

AADHUNIKA KANNADA NATAKA: Dr. K. Marulasiddappa; published by Ankita Pustaka, No. 53, Shamsingh Complex, Gandhi Bazar Main Road, Basavanagudi, Bangalore-560004. Rs. 250.

THIS WORK is a very instructive treatise on modern Kannada drama and theatre and gives a scholarly insight into the trends and changing dimensions in the three streams of this art form — the folk drama, the professional (the company type) and the amateur.

Opportunity has also been taken to present the subject in its historical perspective and its deep roots in antiquity. The author, with intimate links with and knowledge of the subject over decades, says that drama and plays are acknowledged as adjuncts and extension of the literary heritage. It was true in the Kannada context also.

It had played, in its evolution, an important role in the Kannada cultural matrix, particularly, in the last three decades of the last century. There was evidence, backed with weighty and authoritative interpretations, that the antiquity could be traced to the ninth century.

The Bayalata, the folk version played in the open theatre, was the authentic face, called the Yakshagana with its cradle in the coastal Dakshina Kannada district, and widely in vogue in the Kannada country.

The long chapter on the noted playwrights makes delightful reading. In the front rankers featured include Samsa, Kailasam, Sriranga, Lankesh, Bendre, Gokak, Karanth.

There is a detailed evaluation of their plays and a comparative appreciation of their contributions and description of their special flavour and strength.

Tribute is also paid to the role of Sriranga in projecting the amateur stage and popularising it statewide.

The career of the amateur stage and the long line of contemporary notables among its exponents have also been sketched. In the view of the author, the amateur stream was the result of the inadequacies of the professional stage.

The vital role played by the professional stream, the company dramas as a rage in the early part of the last century has been described elaborately, stressing the importance of their complimentarity for the all round progress and stability of the Kannada theatre movement.

There was no point in merely depending on governmental patronage, the author observes.

According to him, the Kannada theatre had met successfully many challenges and it would not be correct to say that the cinema and television had threatened it.


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