Theatre

Significance of devotion underlined

A scene from the mythological play. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Muttaraju Subba Rao's creative work Srikrishna Tulabharam is one of the popular mythological stories. t was created solely for the purpose of conveying the idea that ‘Mere love for Lord Srikrishna is not enough, bhakti too is necessary'.

Being a good poet too, the playwright penned songs and verses that had tremendous appeal.

Therefore who plays the main roles of Srikrishna, Satyabhama and Narada matters now, for these actors have to render them with musical appeal. This play was staged to a capacity crowd at Thyagaraya Ganasabha as part of ‘Adhyatmika Samskritikotsavam'. Well-known artistes A. Koteswara Rao as Srikrishna, K.Ganesh Kumar as Narada and Vanaja Kumari as Satyabhama enacted the main roles in a play that appeared to have been drastically cut to suit the given time.

Narada informs Satyabhama that Srikrishna chose Rukmini to receive a rare ‘Parijata' flower he had brought from Indraloka. A proud and possessive Satyabhama is furious that Krishna ignored her. On Narada's advice Krishna goes to Rukmini's palace to celebrate her birthday, adding to her ire. Narada then convinces Satyabhama to perform a v ratamwhich will ensure she can keep Krishna with her.

As per the vratam Satyabhama must give away Krishna to a sage and buy him back in exchange for gold and valuables equivalent to his body weight. Satyabhama informs Krishna and arranges for the vratam. She gives away Srikrishna to sage Narada but when she seeks to buy him back, to her utter shock finds that all her gold and valuables cannot outweigh Srikrishna in the ‘Tulabharam'. Narada quickly claims Krishna as his property and sets out to sell him in the street, singing Idi Manchi Chowka Beramu.Nobody dares to buy.

A helpless Satyabhama is in tears. Narada advises her to seek the help of Rukmini. With her pride thus doused, Satyabhama seeks Rukmini's help. Rukmini brings along a sacred Tulasi leaf that she was praying with and places it in the scales. To every one's surprise the leaf outweighs Krishna.

Then wisdom dawns on Satyabhama that Bhakti or devotion and not just love, is more important to win over the Lord.

A. Koteswarara Rao, Vanaja Kumari and Ganesh Kumar proved the strength of their histrionics. Vijaya Durga figured in the brief role of Rukmini. G. Swamy Naidu as Vasantaka, a friend of Krishna and Surabhi Seshukumari as his counterpart Nalini, provided comic relief. Ch. Chandrasekhara Rao and Gopi on harmonium, Ch. Koteswara Rao on clarinet and Srinivas on tabla lent musical support.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 4:06:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/significance-of-devotion-underlined/article2655797.ece

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