A Yakshagana play with an artist performing all the roles of a ‘prasanga’ (episode) is on the verge of making it to the over-the-top (OTT) platform for the first time. Deepak Rao Pejawar from Mangaluru has donned all the nine characters, both men and women, in the ‘prasanga’ titled ‘Hari Darshana’ which is also called ‘Sudhanwarjuna’. Its performance was shot at the All flix studio in Bengaluru for four days in July.
Mr. Rao, a postgraduate in business administration and who has a bachelor’s degree in education, presently teaches at an education institute in Bahrain. He is an artiste of the Tenku Thittu (southern) school of Yakshagana for over three decades.
The episode shot is presently being edited. The two-and-half-hour show will be released on the OTT platform after a month, Mr. Rao said.
The artiste who has many fans, particularly for his ‘sthree veshas’ (roles of women), said that he chose the particular episode because all the ‘nava rasas’ (nine emotions) can be exhibited through the characters.
He said: “It is a typical episode of Yakshagana having prime category veshas of Yakshagana theatre. The veshas are like kireeta vesha, pundu vesha, sthree vesha, vidushaka, bannada vesha, and the like.”
The initiative is also an effort to have it on record the traditional ‘veshas’ of Tenku Thittu school for the future generation, he said.
Mr. Rao said that nowadays many Yakshagana troupes and performers have omitted the characters of Kuvale (sister of Sudhanva) and Sugarbhe (mother of Sudhanva) while performing ‘Hari Darshana’ episode. Thus many will disappear from the performances in the coming days. But he has retained those characters in the performance recorded for the OTT platform.
Mr. Rao said that the show will have English sub-titles. “I performed from morning till late evening all the four days. Getting vibes for performance was a challenge as there was no accompanying artiste,” he said.
The background musicians included Ravichandra Kannadikatte as ‘bhagavatha’ (singer), Padmanabha Upadhyaya on the maddale, and Murari Kadambalithaya on the chende.
Kiran Upadhyaya, who has joined Mr. Rao in his production, said that Yakshagana plays, in which many artistes have performed, entered into the OTT platform just one-and-a-half years ago. Mr. Rao’s performance is a new experiment in Yakshagana.
The performance of each character had to be recorded separately and combined later.