Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mookajjiya Kanasugalu @ Rangashankara

Mookajjiya Kanasugalu @ Rangashankara
Mookajjiya Kanasugalu is a 120 mins Kannada play staged by Kalagangotri at Rangashankara on 13th, 14th and 15th March 2008 as a part of 38th year completion of Kalagangotri. The successful staging of Shivaram Karanth’s novel Mookajjiya Kanasugalu is a tribute to the great writer who had won the Jnanapeeth award for this novel.

The play revolves around Mookajji, an old woman staying in a tiny village in Dakshina Kannada and her visions on wide ranging issues like religion, bachelorhood, history, sex, evolution, faith and human behaviour. All these she shares with her grandson Subbanna. Though known as a person who talks too much, Mookajji is a lovable character with her sceptical and genuinely compassionate nature, humane acts (her advice to Nagi and when she unites Ramanna and Nagi , both low caste workers and old lovers) and frankness (in a scene with her friend Thippajji whom she calls Thippi).

References to various religions and beliefs, the innumerable gods in Hindu mythology, their relevance, the questioning of their existence and their powers, their relativity with human nature surely will bring some thoughts about our personal beliefs.

The abstract thoughts, uncommon characterisation and above all, the distinct style of narration in the novel has always posed a challenge to theatre persons. S Ramamurthy, senior theatre person, has adapted this unique literary work to stage and director B V Rajaram brings this spectacular novel on stage with his narrative skills and unique sets. The dialect used in the play is very much close to the actual one spoken in Dakshina Kannada. The two minute yakshagana performance adds more color to the play.

All performances are worth mentioning here. Shailaja Dharmendra as Mookajji has given a wonderful performance with all her emotions. Rajendra Karanth as Subbanna is good as usual. It’s a great teamwork which has succeeded in giving out the best. Congrats to Kalagangotri for adapting to stage a novel which otherwise is said to be hard to adapt.

Mukhyamantri @ Rangashankara

Mukhyamantri @ Rangashankara

Mukhyamantri – the play which catapulted Chandru into stardom and because of which he even got his name Mukhyamantri Chandru was staged at Rangashankara by Kalagangotri troupe on 11th and 12th of March 2008 as a part of the the 38th year completion of Kalagangotri.

The play “Mukhyamantri” has been translated in Kannada by T.S. Lohitashwa from Hindi written by Ranjit Kapoor and it has been directed by Dr.B.V. Rajaram.

The play is a political intrigue, highlighting the strategies employed by the Chief Minister to win back confidence within 48 hours. The play begins with turmoil in the political circles of Udayanchala state. The Chief Minister Krishna Dwayapayana Kaushal (Mukhyamantri Chandru) loses the confidence of his party, at the end of his five-year term. He is, however, retained as the caretaker Chief Minister for a period of 48 hours, after which voting in the next elections begins. From the start, it is clear that Sudharshan Dubey, the president of the party, plots to overthrow Kaushal and become the next Chief Minister. But not wanting to give up, Kaushal launches a series of well-planned schemes to hold on to power. How he succeeds in his plans and in the process how his personal life is also affected is interesting to watch on stage.

A great performance by Mukhyamantri Chandru is what we have to look out for. He has played the character since 1980 when the play was initially staged and since then it has been staged more than 400 times. No doubt that he proves his mettle as the plotter and winner. He completely and constantly hovers in our mind as well as on stage during the two hour play and we will be left with no words but to appreciate his caliber as an actor. Bhargavi Narayan as the chief-minister’s wife impresses. All the other actors play their role well. Since it is packed with lots of characters, I find it difficult to mention everyone here.

Great adaptation for stage by B V Rajaram. Don’t miss it if you want to know the behind the scenes activities of politics and don’t be surprised if you find the proceedings similar to what is prevalent in present day politics also.