Meaningful Jubilee in Kundapur
Report of Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Yakshagana Talamaddale Programme in Bhandarkar's College, Kundapura held on Rajyotsava Day, 1 Nov 2000)

In the year 1976, Dr H Shantaram, the then Principal of Bhandarkars' College Kundapura, took interest in organising Yakshagana Talamaddale programme in the college on the Rajyotsava Day, since then a tradition of Talamaddale programme was established in the college.  To mark the Silver Jubilee of the event, a day and night programme was organised in the College on 1st November 2000.

Inaugural Funciton: Sri Hiriyadka Gopal Rao, a veteran maddalegara and the former 'Guru' of Yakshagana Kendra of M G M College, Udupi, inaugurated the celebrations.  Dr Kalegowda Nagawara, the President of Karanaka Janapada and Yakshagana Akademy presided over the function.  Dr H Shantaram, the Administrative Officer of the Academy of General Education, Manipal was the Chief Guest.  Dr U S Aithal, the Principal of the college welcomed at the beginning.  Dr Jayaprakash Mavinakuli compered the programme.

Seminal on 'Yakshagana Talamaddale Swaroopa': To mark the Silver Jubilee Celebrations meaninfully, an Yakshagana Gosti (seminar) was organised soon after the inaugural formalities.  The seminar was presided over by Dr. M Prabhakara Joshy, a renowned Yakshagana arthadhari.  Besides Dr Joshy, a panel of experts consisting of Dr Chandrashekar Damlem Sri Korgi Venkatesh Upadhya, Dr G L Hegde, Sri Subramanya Dhareshwar presented their views on various issues pertaining to Talamaddale.  A host of Talamaddale artists and ardent lovers of Yakshagana from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada Districts were specially invited to participate in the discussions in the seminar.

Ranga Vaibhava: Yakshagana is a traditional folk art.  It is characteristically a South Indian performing art. It has a unique place in the cultural ethos of Coastal and Malenad regions of the Karnataka State.

Specially invited professional and amateur Yakshagana artists presented a unique programme, namely 'Ranga Vaibhava'.  It was one of the rarest shows presented ever.  Episodes from religious epics and legends were demonstrated marvellously by the artists.  Spectators were thrilled by the enchanting costumes, fascinating make up and short impromptu dialogues.  Characteristic 'himmela' (accompaniment) consisting of Taala (two small cymbals), maddale (drum), Sriti Pettige (harmonium) and Chande (drum for high pitched beats) provided background music.  Bhagavataru (generally known as the Prathama Vesha) with the customary dress of Kempu Mundaasu (red turban) and wearing a chain of gold beads around his neck, sang the Yakshagana songs with traditional 'raagas'.

Ranga Vaibhava programme began with a procession of Bhagavataru (singer), durmmers and two kodangis (little clowns or buffoons) from 'chowki' (dressing room) to the Rangastala (performing area or stage).  'Poorvaranga' or 'Sabhalakshana' was presented by the students of Yakshagana Kendra of M G M College, Udupi.  While the guiding spirit was that of Sri Bannanje Suvarna, the 'Guru' (Principal) of the Yakshagana Kendra, the unstinted support was extended by Sri Heranje Krishna Bhat, the Director of the Kendra.  Under the 'Poorva Ranga' programme, Kodangi Kunitha (dances by little clowns) was followed by Hala Oopalas (depicting Balarama and Sri Krishna) who praised Vishnu while dancing.  They performed Ganapathi Pooja (worshipping of elephant headed God) near the entrance to the Rangasthala.  

Afterwards, Sthriveshas (two female characters) entered the stage and danced traditionally.

'Oddolaga' dance of five Pandavas was  a feast to the eyes of the spectators.  Glittering head gears, adornments on chests, and bhujakirtis on shoulders, etc along with rhythmic dances enchanted the spectators.

In the Ranga Vaibhava programme, Yakshagana dance postures and foot steps used in exit from and entry to the Rangasthala, dances depicting different battle sequence and cobats, mass hunting by kiratas, digvijaya (conquering) etc. were performed.  A variety of roles were enacted by the artists such as Kedage Mundale, mukhya strivesha (leading female character), bannada vesha (demonic characters like Ghora Bhishana and Hidimbe), warrior queens, Eradaneya Vesha (i.e. Purusha Vesha or the main male character) etc. etc.  Needless to say that Hasyagara, Hanuma Naika, messengers (doota) etc. characters kept the audience in good humour.  In short, it was a demonstration of all the theatrical techniques, and 'Navarasabhivyakthi' (depiction of nine sentiments) through characteristic roles of Yakshagana.

A very rare depiction was that of the 'double kore mundaasu vesha' (double head gear) by Sri Haradi Mahabala.  Perhaps, he is the only artist who is proficient in this art of wearing double headgear for Kirata (hunter) vesha.  Despite his old age, he performed very well and earned kudos from the thousands of spectators.  The spectacular event of Ranga Vaibhava was compered by Sri Shridara Hande, an Yakshagana teacher, artist, critic and organiser.

Felicitations: The highlight of the post dinner session was the felicitation to the pioneers and propagators of Talamaddale programme in the college in the yester years.  All those who put sustained efforts in organising the programme uninterruptedly for 25 years were presented with a shawl and a memento. Dr H Shantaram, who pioneered the programme in the college was honoured with an Yakshagana corwn and a shawl by Sri Sri Keshavananda Bharathi Swamiji of Edneer Mutt.  He had all praise of Dr H Shantaram's patronage to Talamaddale programme in the college and blessed him profusely.  Sri Sheni Gopala Krishna Bhat, the most prolific Yakshagana artist was the Chief Guest.

Later, all the Talamaddale artists, including himmela personnel who participated in the Rajyotsava Yakshagana were felicitated by Dr H Shantaram with shawls and mementos.  Dr M Prabhakara Joshy, expressed sincere thanks on  behalf of all the honourees.  Dr H V Narasimha Murthy was the master of ceremony.  Prof. K Shankar Rao and Sri Sujayeendra Hande have left no stone unturned to make the entire event a great success.

Talamaddale Programme:  Yakshagana Talamaddale artists of repute have congregated at Bhandarkars' College on the Rajyotsava Day.  Talamaddle is a form of Yakshagana which is staged indoors by Yakshagana artistes, sitting around aBhagawataru.  There are neither costumes nor dances in this kind of Yakshagana.  However, dialogues is most important part of this programme.

Three prasangas (stories), namely, Shrasetu Bandhana, Subhadra Kalyana and Bhishma Parva were presented.  Sheni Gopalakrishna Bhat, Perle Krishna Bhat, Dr Prabhakara Joshy, Amba Tanaya Mudradi, Moodambail Gopalakrishna Shasthri were prominent 'arthadharis' among others, who played main characters in these prasangas. The Talamaddale programme went on till dawn.  Heranajalu  Gopala, Ambalpady Ganesh Achar Brothers, Dinesh Ammannaya were in the Himmela.  Both Badagu Thittu and Thenku Thittu Bhagavathike were presented.


      - U S Aithal, Kundapur   



Yakshagana Seminar At Bola

A seminar on tradition and renovation of Yakshagana was conducted at Bola Piliyooru school Bola, Karkala Taluk under the Silver Jubilee Programme series of Kannada Sangha, Kantavara.

Sri Damodara Nisarga, Chairman Gokarnanatheshwara Bank Mangalore and Trustee of Dogra Poojary Smaraka Yakshagana Kendra inaugurated.  He lighted the dondi on stage decorated with aracanuts, palm leaves and Bhuta costume.

K M Raghava Nambiar, Journalist and critic, stressed the need for preserving the beauty and artistic form of Yakshagana.  Satyashankara Bollava, Dharmadarshi, spoke on the responsibility of art patrons, organisers and critics and said there is always scope for improvement.  Prof. Udyavara Madhavacharya spoke of the need for experimentation, with an artistic and balanced approach.  Artist-teacher Belady Vittal Shetty in his reaction said that tradition is not stagnant.  G T Annu Bhat, senior artist said attempts to preserve the form and creativity are essential.

Sri G L Acharya, industrialist and art supporter, said the beauty of traditional arts should be carefully studied and fostered.  He praised the Kantavara Kannada Sangha for arranging such a seminar.

Dr Na Mogasale, President of the Sangha co-ordinated the programme.  Dr M Prabhakara Joshy, who directed the seminar introduced the participants, the subject and compeered the discussion.  Dr Jeevandhara Ballala, President Silver Jubilee Committee, was present.  Sri Gopala Bhandary, MLA wished the function welll.  The program was followed by a demonstration by senior artist Hiriyadka Gopala Rao on Maddale.  Artists of Kaajaaragutthu Yakshagana group gave demonstration of Yakshagana dance.









"Yakshadara' Released

 The deceneary souvenir of Yakshalahari Kinnigoli was released recently.  It contains twelve articles on various aspects of Yakshagana and is quite instructive.






Yakshagana Workshop For Women

Yakshagana Kendra M G M College Udupi, Jnanajyoti Bhajana Mandira, Hanuman Vitoba Mahila Yakshagana Sangha jointly organised Yakshagana workshop exclusively for women artists.  Sri K k Pai, Registrar, Manipal Akademy presided over the inaugeration.  Bannanje Sanjeeva Suvarna conducted the workshop of 'foundation and basics of Yakshagana'.  Prof. H Krishna Bhat and Bhagavata Neelavara Laxminarayana Rao co-ordinated.






"Sheni Darshana" Released

"Spoken word is an important aspect of Yakshagana.  It communciates the story and the message of the epic to the people" said Yakshagana maestro Sri Sheni Gopalakrishna Bhat on the occasion of the release of the collection of his 'artha' dialogues at Puttur recently.

"Sheni Darshana" editied by Journalist and Yakshagana critic Sri Na. Karantha (Na. Karanta Peraje) contains the trascriptions of the various roles depicted by Sri Sheni through his very unique spoken word mastery.  It also contains some of his thoughts on art, life and on culture.  The book published by the Karnataka Sangha Puttur is a unique type of publication.

Critic, artist and organiser Sri K M Raghava Nambiar, releasing the book outlined the various aspects of the developments in Yakshagana during this Century.  He said 'Sheni' is probably the greatest of Talamaddale Arthadharis.

Presiding over the functions, Sri T Mahabaleshwara Bhat, President Sagar Taluk Sahitya Parishat honoured Sri Sheni on behalf of Karnataka Sangha.  He congratulated the editor and publishers for the venture.

Sri Bolantakody Ishwara Bhat, President of the sangha and Ramananda Nellittaya of Yakshakoota organised and conducted the programme, which concluded with a Talamaddale - 'Karna Bedhan'.






Yakshaganotsava at Sampaje


The grand annual Yakshagana festival "Yakshaganotsava" is a special event every year.  This year it was the decenery year.  Artists, cultural activists and priests were honoured.

Sri Sri Raghaveshwara Swamiji of Ramachandrapuramata and Sri Sri Keshavananda Bharati Swamiji of Edneer Mutt were the guests of honour.  Both the Swamijis spoke of the imprtance of Yakshagana, its greatness and the achievements of the artists.

Sheni Gopalakrishna Bhat and Malpe Ramadasa Samaga were awarded the decenary Special honour.  Cultural activist and art promoters Deviprasad Sampaje, Social leader P B Diwakara Rai, artists and co-operator Bellare Kittanna Rao, artist Moodambailu Gopalakrishna Shasthry were honoured.  Artists Kolyuru Ramachandra Rao, and P B Vasu Rai were felicitated. Vedic preists Mudipu Krishna Bhat and Parakkaje Ganapathi Bhat were honoured. Sri Bare Keshava Bhat, K P Balasubramanya, Hiranya Venkateshwara Bhat made the felicitation speeches.

Organiser of the festival Keelar Gopalakrishnayya welcomed.  Subraya Sampaje conducted.  Sri T Shyamabhat coordinated.  The programme was followed by a full night bayalata by leading artists.






Jayarama Ganiga is no more

Upcoming female role star of Yakshagana Sri H Jayarama Ganiga passed away, recently.  He was just 30.  He was a very talented, active, capable young man with great promise.  He became famous by his role 'Ranganayaki' in the Yakshagana by the same name.  His untimely death has taken away an able actor.





Udupi District Literary Conference

The first literary conference of the newly formed Udupi District was held at the MGM College Udupi on the 16th and 17th of Dec, 2000.  Senior scholar, poet, philosopher Bannanje Govindacharya chaired the conference.  The schedule included seminars, poetry, reading and singing, open discussion with writers, honouring of achivers book exhibition and entertainment.  A session feature Prof. Ku. Shi Commemoration, in which speakers paid glowing tributes to the great cultural leader. The conference was well attended.



Vishnupurana in Kannada

The famous Vishnupurana, one of the 18 main Puranas in Sanskrit is an important work among the epic - legends of India.  It is said to be the summary of all Puranas, containing many interesting stories, philosphical discoveries, moral tales etc.

Vidwan B L Nagaraj, a Sanskrit scholar has translated the Purana into Kannada, in 6500 Bhamini verses.  The publication is undertaken by Vishnupurana Prakashana Samithi, Westgate, Kankanady, Mangalore.  It is to be completed soon.





Artists Meet At Landolinks

An artist-writers family get-together organised by Karnataka Samskritika Kriya Vedike, was held at Landolinks Township Derebail Mangalore.  The programme featured family fun, games, dance, skits, music, Yakshagana, mimicry etc.  Sri J Krishna Palemar, Chairman Landolinks Township presided.  Forum president Sri Nagesh Salian organised.




Prof T Keshava Bhat Gets Akademy Award

Prof. T Keshava  Bhat, Senior poet, folklorist, yakshagana expert, author of many books is among the annual awardees of the Karnataka Janapada and Yakshagana Akademy.  Prof. Bhat gets a the award for his lifelong contributions to folklore and Yakshagana.



Polali Shasthry Awards - Centenary Concluded

The Polali Shasthry birth centenary series validictory and Shasthry Prashasti (Awards) finctions were held at Sri Kulai Vishnumoorthy Hall at Kulai Mangalore recently.  Polali Shasthry Samarka Samithi (Committee) (1976 - ) organised the function.

Senior Yakshagana book publishing house, Pavanje Gururao and Sons (Sri Manmadhwa Sidhanata Granthalaya) was honoured with the Centenary Award, for their great contribution towards the field of publication of Yakshagana Prasangas.  Vidhwan Hosabettu Narayana Rao was presented the annual award.

Dharmadarshi Harikrishna Punaruru inaugurated the function and lauded the efforts of the committee.  

Teacher, social worker and close relative of Polali Shasthry, Sri P Krishna Aithal presided over.  He recalled his association with the great artist, and narrated the development of Shasthry's talent.

Dr M Prabhakara Joshy and M Umesh Rao felicitated the honoured.  Sri Madhvamuni Rao, Son of Gururao was honoured on behalf of the publishing house.  M S Krishna Bhat, Sadu Poojary, K Ramanatha Rao, K Krishna Hebbar were the guests of honour.

President of the Samithi, P Sridhara Aithal presided an account of the Samithik.  Shivarama Panambur proposed the vote of thanks.  P V Paramesh conducted the proceedings.  The programme concluded with a Talamaddale - Subadhra Kalyana.





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