Reformer sets them free

SPIRITED Taledanda by Sankalpa was very convincing  

Sankalpa of Mysore in association with the Department of Prisons presented Girish Karnad's Taledanda at Kala Bhavan, Hassan, recently. The put up a fine performance and for the first time in recent years, the auditorium was packed to its capacity. Huligappa Kattimani, who has produced four plays for jail inmates in the last eight years has, directed this play too.

Its probably the fact that prisoners are performers the brings people in hordes to watch the play. They were so impressed that the hall was ringing with cheers and applauses.

Mr. Kattimani conducted a 45-days workshop for the inmates of Mysore jail and Taledanda is the product of such a workshop. The workshop had yoga, traditional folk dances such as Kamsale and Kolata besides teaching them painting, pottery making during the workshop. The prisoners have proved that they are in no way inferior to the trained artists from various theatre schools.

Taledanda, the historical play set in 12th Century speaks of the efforts of the social reformer Basavanna in creating classless society and convincing the wisdom of work is worship. The play dwells primarily on the differences between King of Kalyana Bijjala and the treasurer Basavanna.

Mahesh Bogadi was brilliant with his remarkable body language, and perfect dialogue delivery. Manchanakramita (Ibrahim), Damodara Bhatta (Ganesh Nayak) and Mallibomma (Mariswamy) supported the main characters effectively. They climax of the play was so effective that it will remain in the memory of the audience for a while to come.

The scenes of Bijjala's fight with Sovideva's group, Anubhava-Mantapa, Bijjala waiting for Basavanna in a Shiva temple were memorable and brought to fore Kattimani's grasp on the theatre medium. In fact, the layered narrative of the play came out in Kattimani's direction.

Apart from the performance of artists, it is the stagecraft by Santhosh Kumar Kusanoor, Ningappa Kulageri and Phakkieresh, music of Veerabhadraiah and Yergal, lighting by Krishna Kumar Narnakaje and Ravi Mohan, make-up by Maltesh Badiger, costumer by Pramila Bengre and Prakash Mahishoor attracted the attention of audience.

The limitations of Kalabhavan auditorium, was exposed during the performance of this play. Despite efforts by the artists, due to lack of acoustics, it has become difficult for the audience to catch the dialogue delivery of the artists and lighting played havoc. However, it is admirable that the artists made their Herculean efforts to reach the audience, who gathered in large numbers.