A verse play at its highest
The story behind Deepavali wonderfully told.
Verse drama Staging of the play ‘Narakasura.'
Writers of verse drama are scarce these days. In the past, even social plays were studded with a plethora of poems. The lack of interest in and knowledge of metrical application in these plays has become scanty. The only author that we find these days who still hangs to this traditional verse theatre is Palleti Kulasekhar. He is meeting the present demand for Nandi Natakotsavam with handsome prize money in the Padya Natakam section.
The latest one that came from his pen is Narakasura that was staged at Thyagaraya Ganasabha in his presence recently by Mayuri Natanalayam, under the aegis of Rasaranjani ardently promoting the art of drama. Kulasekhar says he has penned 50 padya natakalu in recent times. Mayuri Natanalayam intends to enter this play in parishat competitions and the one soon to be held at Tirupati.
The troupe who presented this play appeared to be very serious about the production and what the audience witnessed was an engrossing production.
The story is familiar for those who are in touch with mythological tale of Deepavali. Narakasura, though branded as an Asura, is not a demon but born to Bhoodevi (mother earth) and Mahavishnu.
Knowing well that this boy will soon become enemy of the world, Vishnu orders Bhoodevi to abandon him.
Narakasura then goes into the protection of Sukracharya, priest of the demons. He earns the boon of invincibility from Brahma, so no one except his mother can kill him. Now the story shifts to Dwapara Yugam with Vishnu taking the Avatar of Srikrishna.
His wife, Satyabhama is also said to be another form of Bhoodevi, Narakasura's mother.
When Narakasura becomes a menace to the whole world, Krishna sets out to kill him. Satyabhama joins to fulfil her wish to be with him in war.
When Krishna pretends that he has fallen to one of Narakasura's arrows, Satyabhama takes over the war and fells Narakasura with Vaishnavastram, a powerful arrow. Only then does Narakasura realise that the one who attacked him was none other than his mother, thus fulfilling his destiny.
On learning from Krishna that Narakasura is her son, Satyabhama laments, only to be consoled by Krishna saying that a wrong-doer has to die.
Krishna blesses Narakasura by vouching that the day of his death will be celebrated as Deepavali.
These final parts focused more at the histrionic excellence of Surabhi Prabhavati in the role of Satyabhama. She left an indelible mark with her moving performance.
Laudable performances also by T. Nagireddy as Srikrishna, P.V. Subba Rao in the title role of Narakasura and Vijaykumar as Narada who delivered impressive portrayals and rendition of verses, loaded with alliteration. Surabhi Vengamamba as Rukmini, Anjireddi as Sukracharya and G. Sudarsan in the lighter role of Vasantaka also proved well equipped. Surabhi Charita, T. Goverdhan and Manohara Raju were in other roles. Harmonium player, T. Suryanarayana was the kingpin in musical support. Surabhi technicians Kishore and Poorna were behind the special effects.
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