The veteran actor is famous for his role in ‘Kanyasulkam'
VISAKHAPATNAM: Gurajada Appa Rao's ‘Kanyasulkam' has contributed to the protection of Telugu language as much as it had to the abolition of the social evil that was prevalent in north Andhra districts over a century ago, said noted stage and film actor Jonnalagadda Venkata Ramana Murthy, popularly known as J.V. Ramana Murthy.
He was felicitated jointly by the Kalavedika Cultural and Charitable Trust and Praja Spandana at a function organised at the Visakhapatnam Public Library on Tuesday evening.
Responding to the felicitations, Mr. Ramana Murthy said that attempts were made to impress upon the British Indian Government at that time to bring in legislation to abolish the evil but the Government was against it as it would cause displeasure to a section of the people.
The then Maharaja of Vizianagaram wanted Gurajada Appa Rao who was also a great social reformer, to write a story on the social evil (Kanya Shulkam) and create awareness among the people on the need to discard that practice. Gurajada was worried as the literacy rate was only 5 per cent among men and women had no education in those days.
He wrote ‘Kanyasulkam' so that it could be staged as a play to drive home the message. He used simple language that could be understood by the masses instead of ‘Grandhikam' though he was aware that he would invoke the wrath of language pundits. The overwhelming response to the play when it was staged in the central hall of Vizianagaram Fort over a century ago amazed Gurajada himself. It made people sit up and think about the injustice being done to girls who were being sold by their parents to old men for ‘Kanyasulkam'.
Mr. Ramana Murthy said that no other modern writer could match Gurajada in writing in the common man's language to this day. He recalled how he and his classmate Joga Rao had abridged the play to four hours in 1953 while retaining its essence. He played the role of ‘Gireesam' and there was no looking back for him ever since.
“I was attracted by stage but I had never realised that so much service could be done through stage. I was not even worried about the monetary gains in those days,” he recalled.
Responding to a query from actor Mishro, he said that the Gurajada Appa Rao had deglamourised the role of ‘Subbi' as it would make them think about her travails after they go back home. He disagreed with the view that ‘Gireesam' was made a hero while Subbi was sidelined.
S. Vijay Kumar of Vijay Nirman Company, Telecom District Manager P. Nagaraju, former Rector of AU A. Prasanna Kumar, noted physician V. Hanumantha Rao, president of Praja Spandana C.S. Rao and Nanduri Ramakrishna of Kalavedika were present.