Veteran theatre artiste Enagi Balappa passes away
A file photo of Enagi Balappa. DH
Born to Karibasappa and Balamma in the year 1914 at Enagi village in Savadatti taluk, Balappa was attracted towards theatre since childhood. He entered the theatre as child artist and later as lead actor founded his own company Kalavaibhav Natak Sangha. He ruled theatre for over nine decades.
Balappa had become household name with his portrayal of role of Basaweshwar. He took Kannada theatre to a different level. Dialogue delivery, singing and his versatile roles had their own influence among the people. He also introduced many new actors to the theatre.
Balappa was also associated with Karnataka unification movement, independence struggle and Gokak movement. He was also influenced by plays of Charlie Chaplin and faced all hurdles with a smile. Play ‘Kumkum’ advocating widow marriage was successfully portrayed by him. His was the first company to complete a play in one scene.
As many villages in Enagi and surrounding did not have high schools, Balappa had established a high school too at Asundi village under Malaprabha Shikshan Samiti and it had also been given government aid. He was its president until last breath.
In recognition to his contribution for the cause of theatre, Balappa was presented with various awards. He was presented Karnataka State Award in 1973, Karnataka Natak Academy Award in 1976, Karnataka Sahitya Parishad Award in 1978, Sangeet Natak Academy Award by Union Government in 1995, Gubbi Veeranna Award by State Government in 1995, Kannada University Nadoj Award in 2005, Karnatak University Honourary Doctrate in 2006.
He was also presented third honorary doctrate at his residence at Enagi village in Savadatti taluk by Gangubai Hangal Music and Performing Arts University, Mysuru.