Theatre

Stories from a battlefield

A scene from 'Katamaraju' Photo: C.V.Subrahmanyam.   | Photo Credit: C_V_SUBRAHMANYAM

Tales of battles and its attendant diplomatic missions are always of great interest. The heroic acts of valour and dauntless spirit inspire people no end. Packed with this, the play Katamaraju Katha was staged at Kalabharati, Visakhapatnam, and evoked warm response. Though a telescopic version was staged, the performance ensured the effect of a full-length play. The play was about Katamaraju of Yerragaddapati, a Yadava chieftain of the 13th century. He is said to have fought a heroic battle with Nallasiddi of Nellore. Katamaraju and his clan are possessors of great cattle wealth. As a terrible famine struck their province, they move to Nellore region in search of greener pasture for their cattle to graze.

Katamaraju seeks the permission of its ruler Nallasiddi to graze their cattle there. The king accepts it on the condition that Katamaraju pay ‘pullari' — grazing tax, in terms of calves that take birth during their stay in Nellore region. The agreement thus reached works out well for some time. However, as fate would have it, differences crop up between the two parties and palace intrigues particularly by Kundamdevi, a courtesan, who holds king Nallasiddi under her captivating charms, play their own role in influencing the events.

The play opened with the scene that an enraged Kundamdevi at a presumed misdeed by Katamaraju's close confidant, instructing her men to avenge it in a strong manner. The rest was about the acts of omission and commission on both sides that further precipitated matters leading towards what eventually turns out to be a Yadava Bharatam that witnessed a bloodbath in a horrific battle. Gorgeous period costumes and good stage props besides remarkable histrionics ensured the play was worth watching.

Sivajyothi as Kundamdevi, particularly as an enraged woman in royal command, displayed praiseworthy emotional nuances in expression. S. A. Srirammurthy in the eponymous role was at his best particularly in delivering long-drawn dialogues packed with emotion. R Saikumar Yadav, Eswararao and Suryanarayana did well.

Later, a scene from the play Sardar by Rapeti Apparao, and mono action of Lord Krishna as an envoy of Pandavas at Kuru court by L Atchhibabu stood out.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:27:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/stories-from-a-battlefield/article2774531.ece

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