Passionate patron of theatre

Chatla Sreeramulu.  

HYDERABAD: Modern Telugu theatre has a few pioneers, who steered social drama to higher, more mature levels. Chatla Sriramulu stands out as one who enriched social theatre bringing into it such rare techniques like mime, expressionism, symbolism, freeze technique and so on, not known till his arrival as director-actor of N.R. Nandi’s play Maro Mohenjadaro three decades ago. He studied British theatre, German theatre’s Brecht’s technique, Roman Theatre and more before he ventured into modernising Telugu theatre. He was considered as a guru of modern theatre and called it the springboard to artistes who crave to become film and TV artistes. Akkineni Nagarjuna, Venkatesh and Dasari’s son Arunkumar were all trained by him in diction, playing roles and dialogue delivery. He served as principal of Madhu film Institute in Hyderabad.

He also trained students of theatre arts departments of Andhra University, Osmania University, Telugu University and the University of Hyderabad.

Sriramulu rose from small moorings into an icon of Telugu modern theatre. He was born into a poor family living in a wayside hut, by the side of a canal in Vijayawada, and later graduated from a local college and developed love for theatre.

His life took many turns the moment he joined the Railway service. He felt proud in saying he was the first person chosen to announce arrivals and departures of trains, for his officers thought he had a good voice. He shared time between his job in Railways and theatre. His first love being theatre, he even left the job in the Railways.

Chatla won many awards for his portrayals and direction in competitions held by Andhra Nataka Kala Parishat and Andhra University. He was called ‘Abhinava Bharatacharya’. He was the recipient of honorary doctorate of Telugu University in 2009, State’s NTR award in 2010 and to top it all he received central Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Rabindra Puraskar in 2011 that earned him cash award of Rs. one lakh. The noble side of Sriramulu gets reflected in his setting that cash gift aside in a bank to give cash awards of Rs. 10,000 every year to a theatre director.

In Chatla Sriramulu’s death, modern theatre has lost a passionate patron.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 6:05:40 AM |

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