Yakshagana gombeyata for COVID-19 awareness

A scene from the yakshagana string puppetry show on COVID-19

A scene from the yakshagana string puppetry show on COVID-19   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Videos of English, Hindi, Kannada versions uploaded on YouTube

Yakshagana gombeyata, a form of traditional string puppet theatre, has now been used to create awareness on COVID-19 through YouTube.

Siribagilu Venkappaiah Samskritika Prathisthana and Gopalakrishna Gombeyata Yakshagana Sangha, Kasaragod, Kerala, have shot its performances and uploaded videos of their English, Hindi and Kannada versions on YouTube. Though there is no change in the screenplay, the dialogues are in three languages. Each performance lasts about 30 minutes.

The bhagavathike (singing) in the Hindi version is in the same language while Kannada songs have been used in the English performance. The English was version was uploaded on Friday, and the Hindi version was made available on Saturday. The Kannada version was on the YouTube on Monday.

Noted Yakshagana bhagavatha (singer) and founder of the prathisthana Siribagilu Ramakrishna Mayya, who took this initiative, told The Hindu that yakshagana gombeyata has been used for the first time to create awareness on a social issue. Yakshagana has been used for the same many a times, Mr. Mayya who has sung in the three performances said.

“We did not go for dubbing. Instead performed and recorded thrice separately. A team of more than 15 persons is behind this initiative,” Mr. Mayya said.

Stressing on the “stay home stay safe” message, the shows through the puranic character Dhanvantari ask viewers to maintain social distance and cleanliness, wear masks, and do yoga and pranayama to increase immunity and take care of themselves from the virus. Dhanvantari makes the fictitious ‘coronasura’ (villain) to run away from the battlefield in India, thus ending the performance. Unlike in many conventional yakshagana performances or gombeyata in which a spiritual force kills an evil force, here the spiritual force does not kill the evil force but makes it flee.

The Gopalakrishna Gombeyata Yakshagana Sangha led by its director K.V. Ramesh is the only surviving troupe presenting the show in Tenku Thittu (southern) style.

Earlier in this March, the pratisthana had shot a yakshagana performance to create an awareness on COVID-19 in Kannada and uploaded its video on YouTube.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 3:39:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/yakshagana-gombeyata-for-covid-19-awareness/article32010812.ece

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