'Theatre's political; so contemporary'

Book with selected articles on Girish Karnads plays spanning over 50 yrs released

In his interaction with people from different walks of life, who were also, a little earlier, witness to the release of a book containing selected articles written on Karnad’s plays over the last fifty years, since he turned a playwright, Karnad said the journey with theatre had been joyous and strenuous one at the same time.

“I translate my own plays and sometimes others’ plays too, for the reason that working on language to express things set in exclusive nativity gives me a high. It is not mere translation; it is in real sense, a resurrection of sorts,” he said, adding he enjoyed working on Marathi Playwright Mahesh Elkunchwar’s plays, among others, the most.

What led him to write ‘Tale Danda’ - a play that depicts the fall of King Bijjala, just as his minister Basavanna set out to make casteless society a reality? “I often felt we didn’t stand to face the questions raised by poets who participated in Vachana movement. Besides, Tale Danda was born when Mandal Commission report was out and the country was burning,” he revealed.

On the influence of poets from the west, who at times glint through his works, Karnad said: “Certainly! I carry them within me. I have gathered all I can from everything I have read, and try to share it again, in my language. My play Hayavadana is said to have that influence, and I admit to it since I always look for something that can kindle my imagination,” he added.

Book release 

Earlier, the book ‘Girish Karnadara Natakagalu: Kannadada Pratikriye’ was released by Rangayana Director Prof Lingadevaru Halemane. The book is edited by Dr K Marulasiddappa, along with Dr Krishnamurthy Hanur, published by Samvahana Prakashana and Rangayana.

In his address, Marulasiddappa emphasised on the need to bring out such publications of different authores, in order to help this form of literature grow. Separate volumes on articles published on plays by Sriranga, Kailasam, Samsa and other major playwrights would be great service to Kannada literature, he said.

A rare document of sorts was inspired by ‘Girish Karnad Plays: Performances and Perspectives’ a book brought out by Mukharjee and Tutun.

 That book egged Marulasiddappa and Krishnamurthy Hanur to bring out a collective of articles on Karnad’s plays in Kannada and translated versions of those written in English, when he was the visiting professor in Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies.

Tughlaq for 30 years

It was a rather rare occasion for actor C R Simha, who has been playing the lead in Karnad’s magnum opus — Tughlaq.

Recollecting his first meeting with Karnad in Chennai nearly four decades ago, Simha said the bond later grew stronger. Describing his tryst with the role of one of the rulers of Delhi, Tughlaq — as Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq is referred to as, chief guest on the occasion, Simha said he had spent thirty years ‘playing the mad man’.

He termed Karnad’s works as ‘mythical realism’.

In his interaction, Karnad said Simha had played Tughlaq with such aplomb that none after him, could do it any better.

“I am upset with Simha, for the same reason,” he said jocularly.

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