Friday Review

Regional culture to the fore

Dancers performing at the Lepakshi utshavalu, at Lepakshi in Anantapur

Dancers performing at the Lepakshi utshavalu, at Lepakshi in Anantapur   | Photo Credit: R_V_S_PRASAD

Arts, culture and sports of the region got a boost at the recent Lepashi Utsavalu in Anantapur, writes V.K. Rakesh Reddy.

One could call it the gladiator games for the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, as thousands of people thronged the Lepakshi village to celebrate the ‘Lepakshi Utsavalu’.

For two days, Lepakshi reverberated to the sounds and sights of games, folk and classical arts typical to the region, thus managing to dispel the despair of the common public for two days

A highlight of the event was how Telugu film industry seemed to park itself in Lepakshi to entertain the masses, led by cine actor and Hindupr MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna who portrayed the role of Vijayanagara emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya in a drama, set to contemporary times.

The two-day fete featured many an art and art form starting from rural sports which included, besides the regular fare of kabaddi and wrestling, Katti Samu, a very local version of fencing.

A ‘Tolu Bommalata’ where stories are told using the shadows of leather puppets captured the imagination of many. Crowds thronged the stall of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and the state archeology departments on both days as every aspect of the Lepakshi temple right from the epigraphy associated with it to the architectural marvels of the temple were deciphered by experts.

The audiences were entertained through sport and visits of movie artists and dignitaries, and dances, dramas and other art forms in the evening. The cultural programmes had the audience virtually glued to their seats.

The closing ceremony of the two-day fete which featured a contemporary version of Bhuvana Vijayam by several movie artists including noted stage and movie artist Jayaprakash Reddy and writer Paruchuri Gopala Krishna playing crucial roles even as Balakrishna played the role of Sri Krishnadevaraya and the roles of ‘Ashta Diggajalu’ played by other noted poets and cine writers.

Starting the play was Jayaprakash Reddy, playing an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, objecting to people being devotees of Lord Vishnu in the temple town of Lepakshi. Paruchuri Gopala Krishna suggested he ask Sri Krishnadevaraya questions behind the philosophy of ‘Shiva – Kesava abheda tatvam’ which forms the crux of the Lepakshi temple. Enter Balakrishna as devaraya to a welcome song by Bharatanatyam dancers.

A poem by Jonnavittula on Telugu language and its heritage through the idiomatic flavour of Rayalaseema stood out and was promptly cheered by the people to a standing ovation upon completion. Jonnavittula’s comparison of the preservation of the Telugu language in the Rayalaseema districts to that of the sacredness of the gold of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala and the collection of the Vaggeyakara Annamayya and the poems of Vemana was truly a refreshing literary exposition for all. In all, the Lepakshi Utsavalu truly proved to be a morale booster and raised the expectations of people in the district. Special praise would be in order for Balakrishna and the district authorities who put in special efforts to put up the show.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 1:26:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/regional-culture-to-the-fore/article8309635.ece

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