Date:24/06/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/fr/2011/06/24/stories/2011062450140300.htm
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Classic play revisted

GUDIPOODI SRIHARI

‘Bhuvana Vijayam' transformed a classical play into traditional verse theatre.

PHOTO: SURYA SRIDHAR

Literature of yore Scene from ‘Bhuvana Vijayam'.

Diwakarla Venkatavadhani, a renowned poet and orator, who served Osmania University in the past, created a stage-worthy literary feature called ‘Bhuvana Vijayam', a replay of a poetic tribute-cum-symposium in Krishnadevaraya's court, by ‘Ashta Diggajas.' Bhuvana Vijayam (meaning Conquest of the Earth) commemorates the Emperor's triumphant return from victorious battles .

Here, each of the Ashta Diggaja poets renderverses — first eulogising the emperor and then rendering verses from their own renowned works to the delight of the king, a patron of arts and literature. Venkatavadhani's ensemble of poets comprised mostly Telugu scholars. Often, except for the person donning the role of the emperor, others seemed like normal pundits. Even the king and minister's roles were played by just about anybody with a scholarly disposition.

The play had repeat performances during Venkatavadhani's lifetime and later. Now to our surprise, a new set of artiste-poets presented the classic play, almost transforming it into a traditional verse theatre The play was presented last week at Ravindra Bharati, under the aegis of T. Subbarami Reddy Lalithakala Parishat.

It was good that some of these artistes have musical sense and ability to render verses in raga mode. The artistes who hailfrom different places in the state come together when invited to present their show.

There were tidbits too for relief, with actors hurling jokes at each other. Timmarusu interjects every now and then with his own observations, mostly giving a biographical sketch of Krishnadevaraya and his greatness, when he was expected just to conduct the symposium. Some actors rendered verses more like regular artistes of verse theatre and not like the poets they were supposed to be playing.

Ramarajabhushanudu also known as Bhattu Murthy, a serious poet, was seen interjecting with repartee, to nonplus some of his colleagues, sacrificing the dignity of the royal court. Tenali Ramakrishna's role was low key compared to that of Bhattu Murthy.

B.C. Krishna as Srikrishnadevaraya, Kasireddy Venkatareddy as Timmarusu, Gandluri Dattatreya Sarma as Allasani Peddana, P. Ranga Reddy as Nandi Timmana, Mahidhar as Pingali Surana, Anjaneyulu as Ayyalaraju, P. Srinivas as Mallana, J.S.R.K. Sarma as Dhoorjati, Shyama Sundara Sastry as Bhattu Murthy and Suryanarayana Murthy as Tenali Ramakrishna suited the roles well.

The play opened with an interesting dance number by Lalitha Sindhuri, as Raja Nartaki. The texture of this production just followed what Venkatavadhani had etched during his time, but did not adhere to the rules of the literary game in this 15th century royal court.

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