- A grand six-day National Theatre Festival concludes
- Over one lakh visitors crowd art-drama-food venues
- Gandhi-centric events give glimpses of freedom struggle
- 20th Edition of Bahuroopi proves a resounding success
Mysore/Mysuru: All the events at the 20th Edition of National Theatre Festival ‘Bahuroopi’ hosted by Rangayana, the State’s premier repertory, saw packed audiences.
The festival that began on the evening of Feb.14 concluded last evening and the mega event attracted more than one lakh theatre buffs, art aficionados and the common man who tread the ‘Gandhi Patha,’ this year’s theme to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The theatre festival had been receiving more footfalls with each passing day and on an average, 18,000 to 20,000 people visited different venues every day. Last year’s drama ticket collection was recorded at Rs.5.50 lakh and this year, with packed audience in all the drama venues, the ticket collection is expected to touch Rs.7 lakh.
Recounting the Mahatma
The entire campus of Rangayana and the halls and corridors of Kalamandira recounted the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi throughout the festival and gave a literal glimpse of life at Sabarmati Ashram, moments from India’s freedom struggle, various forms of Satyagraha including Salt Satyagraha and the non-cooperation or civil disobedience movement to defy the British hegemony.
Curtains were drawn on the festival last evening after the Kannada play ‘Mahatma’ was staged by amateur theatre artistes of Mysuru and directed by S.R. Ramesh. The Bahuroopi film festival ended with the screening of popular Kannada film ‘Satya Harishchandra’ while the folk festival ended with the performance of ‘Kol Nritya’ by a team from Maharashtra followed by ‘Dollu Kunita’ and Mallakamba by Nethravathi and troupe and S.J. Hugar and troupe respectively.
A Kannada play ‘Kamyakala Prathima’ directed by Ganesh Mandarti, ‘Swabhabjata,’ an Assamese play by Seagull troupe and another Kannada play ‘Akshayambara’ directed by Sharanya Ramprakash were staged at different stages of Rangayana last night.
Host of Gandhi-centric events
The highlights of the art festival at the abode of art and theatre were staging of over 24 plays in different languages, folk performances by 16 different themes, more than 18 rare films, Gandhi Patha national seminar, Gandhi Bhajan, Ranga Sangeetha, poetry recital, Gandhi Lavani, street plays, book expo, handicrafts exhibition, a demonstration of cottage industry and a lip-smacking desi food festival — Bahuruchi. All of them were bound by a common thread — Gandhi.
Another attraction was a rare photography exhibition on the Mahatma at Kalamandira premises. The 100-plus photographs had been carefully selected from an archive of 10,000-plus black and white photographs on the Mahatma to chronicle his life — from childhood till his last days — and the works. The photographs were procured from National Gandhi Museum, New Delhi.
Director’s open invite
What attracted the crowd — young and old — is the open invite extended by Rangayana Director Addanda C. Cariappa who had said “it is not our Rangayana but your Rangayana. Come to Bahuroopi.” This struck a chord with the people who came in droves. Though in the mornings there was not much of a crowd, evenings were jam-packed with people jostling for every available space inside Rangayana and Kalamandira.
The performances that kept the audience fastened to their seats were ‘Mukhyamantri’, with ‘Mukhyamantri’ Chandru in the lead role, ‘Manteswamy Kathaprasanga’ and ‘Sangeeth Bari,’ a Marathi dance-drama directed by Savitri Medhatul that chronicled the evolution of Lavani, the folk art.
Also, ‘Oedipus’, the Bengali play, was well-received. The epic play ‘Mukhyamantri’ saw its 701st show and many watched the plays standing at the corners.
Events like Janapadotsava and exhibitions witnessed a huge response. Every visitor has something catering to his or her interests at the festival. All venues witnessed packed shows and the organisers were unable to meet the demand for more seats.
Audience, crowd praise arrangements
Apart from attracting artistes from different parts of India providing them a platform to exhibit their talent, this Bahuroopi received praises from all quarters for organised arrangements, variety and colour. Many people heaped praises on Rangayana for organising the event that was themed after Mahatma Gandhi as a befitting tribute to the frail man with white robes and a stick. They left the place with a promise to return for the next edition of Bahuroopi.
Seventy-year-old Manjula, a resident of Jayanagar who has her roots in Dharwad, told Star of Mysore that this year’s festival was unique and was themed aptly after Mahatma. “It is better than last year’s festival and has conveyed the message of truth and non-violence that are much needed in today’s world,” she said.
Pallavi, an artiste from Tiptur said, “For the first time I got a chance to act in a play ‘Miss Julie’ at Bahuroopi and I am elated. All the artistes have been treated well without any discrimination. We will come next year too.”