Muralidhara Khajane

Srinivasa Kappanna is the likely contender for the post

The director’s post has been vacant

since January

The theme of this year’s ‘Bahuroopi’ theatre festival has not yet been decided

MYSORE: Considered to be one of the cultural icons of the State, Nataka Karnataka Rangayana, has been headless for the past 10 months. The director’s post, which fell vacant after former director Chidambara Rao Jambe demitted office on January 19, 2008, has not been filled by the Government so far.

Meanwhile, Rangayana is making preparations for “Bahuroopi” National Theatre Festival, which the repertory has been conducting for the last six years. According to the in-charge Director of Rangayana and Joint Director Department of Kannada and Culture, discussions on organising “Bahuroopi” had been held and Rangayana would conduct the festival with the support of local artistes and theatre experts.

Each of the “Bahuroopi” festivals so far has been conducted using a common theme. Issues pertaining to women, downtrodden and the exploited; impact of liberalisation on indigenous culture; agrarian crisis and problems being faced by tribals, have been the themes in previous festivals. The theme of this year’s “Bahuroopi” has not yet been decided. According to sources in Department of Kannada and Culture, noted film and theatre personality T.S. Nagabharana will be the convener of the festival in the absence of a permanent director.

In fact, this is the first time Rangayana is organising “Bahuroopi” in the absence of a director and the officials cannot do anything “new”, at best they can follow the path of previous directors, with the support of Rangayana artistes, according to a senior artiste. The process of appointing a new director faced hurdles after the exit of Mr. Jambe thanks to the absence of a popular government in the State. Members of Rangasamaja, which is the governing body of Rangayana, said that the delay in convening a meeting of Rangasamaja had delayed the appointment of the new director.

Meeting

Finally, a meeting of Rangasamaja was convened to discuss the issue and names of former Rangayana director C. Basavalingaiah, noted cine personality T.S. Nagabharana and theatre personality Janardhan (Janni) were proposed for the post. Some theatre personalities suggested Srinivasa G. Kappanna, who was the director of Nataka Academy then. But Mr. Kappanna, through a release, made it clear that he was not in the race.

Meanwhile, Janni’s name, which figured prominently for some time for the post slowly moved to the backstage, because of the alleged pressure from the “BJP Think Tank” to appoint somebody with “Rightwing Ideology” for the director’s post. At that time, B.V. Rajaram, who is now director of Nataka Academy, was mooted. At this juncture, even Mr. Nagabharana figured prominently for the post, but he too refused the offer, because of his commitments in the film industry. Similarly, Prof. H.S. Umesh also refused the offer because of ‘technical difficulties’.

It seems now Mr. Kappanna, who earlier refused the offer, is now a contender for the post. When The Hindu contacted Mr. Kappanna, he said that he had refused the offer earlier because of pressing reasons. But now, in order to realise the dream of his guru, B.V. Karanth, and as he had an emotional bondage with Rangayana, he was prepared to accept the post, if it was offered to him.

In case his name comes through, Rangayana will have its new director before “Bahuroopi” festival and Mr. Kappanna, who is known for his organisational skills, will successfully conduct the national-level theatre festival, said a senior artiste of Rangayana.

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