Verse drama feast
Rhyme, rhythm and lyricism to the fore.
The final scene set in Kaurava court provied opportunity for actor baburaju to reveal his talent and musical skill.
Colourful fare Performers of Srikrishna Rayabharam.
It was a feast for lovers of verse drama, watching five popular plays staged at the open air theatre named Ghantasala Pranganam in front of Ravindra Bharati. The Department of Culture and the Theatre Development Department of Andhra Pradesh Government organised this festival outsourcing this work of staging all the plays to Rajababu, an experienced harmonium player of Sarveswara Natyamandali. The festival was named ‘Padyanataka Panchamrutham'.
Srikrishna Rayabaram was the last production put on the stage featuring some known artistes of the city and also borrowing the services of others from different districts. This was one of the five Mahabharata plays that Tirupati Venkatakavulu penned. It was whittled down to three scenes –Dwaraka, Upaplavyam and Rayabaram scenes. Duryodhana and Arjuna go to Dwaraka and seek Krishna's help in the ensuing Mahabharata war. Krishna divides his army, keeping himself on one side and his army on the other. Arjuna opts for Srikrishna alone, to the delight of Duryodhana as he gets the entire army to his side. D. Nagender as Duryodhana, Yanadi Rao as Arjuna and Baburaju as Srikrishna played these roles well. In second scene, Krishna assumes ambassadorial role to strike peace between the warring groups and seeks Pandavas' opinion as to what he should bargain with Kauravas. Dharmaraja wants peace, but not the other brothers. Draupadi, who was there in the original script was absent in the scene. Yet this scene too was well dramatised by the artistes, especially Salvachari as Bheema and Vanam Sankarayya as Dharmaraja and D. Nagender, another artiste chosen to play Srikrishna. The final scene set in Kaurava court provided opportunity for actor Baburaju to reveal his talent and musical skills. Warier as Karna and Sekhar as Aswathama gave impressive portrayals. At a brief function, K.V.Ramanchari, spoke of the artistes' struggle to keep the art forms alive.
This play, staged on another day, was edited and some important scenes were removed. It depicts how Chintamani, a prostitute under the control of her greedy mother, starts reducing her rich customers like Subbisetty and others to paupers. She finally traps a handsome Bilvamangala, first with an intention of robbing him, but eventually surrenders to his scholarship. It opens in Bilvamangala's house discussing moralities and responsibilities with his wife Radha. Then it moves to depict how Subbisetty is ruined and ends up showing how Bilvamangala gets drawn to Chintamani.
Vanam Sankaraiah as Bilwamangala, Baburaju as Bhavanisankarudu, Jandhyala Subbalakshmi as Radha, Subhashini as Chintamani, Giri as Chintamani's mother and Rosireddi as Subbisetty, a character designed for comedy, played their roles reasonably well. The other plays presented in the festival were Ramanjaneya Yuddham, Satya Harischandra and Srikrishna Tulabharam. Most of the artistes in the earlier plays performed in other plays too.
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