Rangayana remains headless for a year

Awaiting a director: A view of Rangayana, the theatre repertoire in Mysore.

Awaiting a director: A view of Rangayana, the theatre repertoire in Mysore.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: M.A. Sriram

Muralidhara Khajane

Shobha Karandlaje is in favour of a woman heading the repertory

Jambe demitted office on January 19, 2008

Rangayana has completed two decades

MYSORE: Considered to be one of the cultural icons of the State, the Nataka Rangayana has been headless for the last one year. The post of director, which fell vacant after Chidambara Rao Jambe demitted office on January 19, 2008, has not been filled by the Government so far.

The process of appointment of the director faced hurdles after the exit of Mr. Jambe owing to the absence of a popular Government in the State and officials having no interest in it during President’s Rule. The delay by Rangasamaja, the governing body of Rangayana, to convene a meeting and the plans of district in-charge Minister Shobha Karandlaje to appoint a woman as director are being attributed as reasons for the Government not filling the post of director.

However, theatre activists are of the opinion that the delay is because of the absence of an independent Minister for Kannada and Culture. The institution, with a galaxy of talented artists and quality infrastructure, was headed by theatre stalwarts like B.V. Karanth, Prasanna, C. Basavalingaiah and Mr. Jambe previously. The dream child of the doyen of Indian theatre Mr. Karanth, Rangayana has completed 20 years of its existence. Except for the National School of Drama (NSD) of Delhi, Rangayana is the only repertory in the country dedicated to theatre training. “It is a tragedy that Rangayana has remained headless for one full year,” said theatre director Janardhan. “Though routine events have continued, they lack creativity. The annual Bahuroopi — National Theatre Festival — held in December was not better than any government programme. The Government had released Rs. 40 lakh for it. Rangayana has become virtually lifeless owing to the Government’s apathy,” he said.

Indeed, Rangasamaja met and discussed names such as the former director Mr. Basavalingaiah, T.S. Nagabharana, Srinivas G. Kappanna, B.V. Rajaram and others. As Mr. Kappanna, who was chairman of Karantaka Nataka Academy at that juncture, refused to head Rangayana. Later, Mr. Kappanna showed interest in becoming the director. Mr. Basavalingaiah is also not averse to head the theatre repertory for another term. Mr. Nagabharana refused the offer as he is a member of Rangasamaja.

Woman head?

Ms. Karandlaje admitted during the inauguration of Bahuroopi that, in a way, she was responsible for the delay in appointing a director for Rangayana. She said she would like to see a woman heading Rangayana. She assured the gathering that the process would be completed at the earliest. According to sources in the Department of Kannada and Culture, names of three women — Malathi Sudheer, who worked both in professional and amateur theatre; Vijayamma, littérateur and theatre activist; and noted director B. Jayashree were doing the rounds. A meeting of Rangasamaja, for which Mr. Yeddyurappa is chairperson, will be held soon to select one among the three for the coveted post and an announcement would be made.

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