Theatre

Battle of the greats

G ayopakhyanam written by legendary poet Chilakamarthy Lakshminarasimham continues to draw audience even now. So it did, when it was staged at Thyagaraya Gana Sabha last week by a dedicated group of talented theatre artistes. This was presented by Prasad Folk Arts Cultural Association.

The crucial issue in the play is a quarrel between Sri Krishna and his brother-in-law Arjuna who married his sister Subhadra. And the dispute between them is about one Gandharva, named Gayudu, who accidentally spits into the palms of Sri Krishna while travelling across skies. Krishna at the time was paying his oblations to the Sun God, standing in a water front. Krishna vows to kill the culprit, unaware that Gayudu is also his devotee. Gayudu is now in jitters. On the advice of Narada, Gayudu goes straight to Arjuna and seeks his protection, but remains silent as to who the culprit is, till he extracts promise from Arjuna to protect him at any cost.

For Arjuna, a promise is a promise for ever.

Thus Krishna and Arjuna, these close relatives, are now at logger heads, Krishna vowing to kill Gayudu and Arjuna defending him. K. Pattabhi in the role of Srikrishna and V. Veeraraghavayya as Arjuna had at least forty verses, partly written in Sanskritized text. Both these artistes exhibited good faculty of memory, musical and histrionic sense. There was no need of prompting.

They mugged up these verses well and delivered them with clarity, at the same time displaying emotions effectively. Dr.T.V. Lakshminarasimha Sastry was in the role of Gayudu, a difficult role filled with myriad emotions displaying devotion to Krishna on one hand and his fear for life on the other. He played it well keeping humility at higher level.

Vanam Sankarayya as Narada suited the role of a trouble seeker and rendered his verses and songs in praise of Krishna impressively. Chitrarekha was played by Chandrasri.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 12:47:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/Battle-of-the-greats/article14691484.ece

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