Aaptamitra: Friends' tribute to a friend...

Aaptamitra: Friends' tribute to a friend...


Children staging the play ‘Aaptamitra’ at the auditorium of Archaeology Department, on the premises of Dasara Exhibition Grounds in Mysore. dh photo

Mention ‘Aaptamitra’, and one is reminded of the off-screen bond between actor Vishnuvardhan and producer Dwarakeesh. Here is another Aaptamitra -- which reminds one of R S Vasudevmurthy, his friends Gopal and K N Vasudevmurthy.

It began when Archaeology Department began its second annual camp on Mysore traditional painting for children on April 18. Department director Dr R Gopal was toying with an unique concept of staging ‘Panchantra’ a collection of fables. Though the bouquet of stories has been an inspiration for many a sculptors, who have sealed the same in the form of carvings in most historical temples, Gopal wondered if the same could be brought out in the form of theatre. For, it could help create awareness on ‘traditional paintings’ and more.  

That was how- Aaptamitra (A sequence from Mitralabha in Panchatantra) became a reality. The credit goes to R S Vasudevmurthy (Vasu) of Amara Kala Sangha. Initially, Vasudevmurthy of Sadguru Printers on Ramanuja Road, mooted the concept, that was also agreeable to Gopal. The officer who also knew Vasu as a theatre artiste, gave him complete freedom to execute the idea. K N Vasudevmurthy, a 20 year friend of Vasu was adept with children’s theatre was entrusted with the job of moulding students for a completely new world.

K N Vasudevmurthy (KNV) told City Herald, Amara Kala Sangha Vasu had long dreamt of adapting ‘Panchantra’ to stage. When the opportunity came, he cashed in on the same. He roped in all those connected with children’s theatre to infuse strength to his dream. 

Of the total of 80 children attending the camp in the age group of eight to 16 years, 56 were handpicked for the play. Rehearsals were conducted with children showed keen interest. All were eagerly awaiting May 13, the d-day when the play was to be staged.

But, then came a rude shock that shook them. Vasu passed away, leaving a huge void in the minds of Gopal and KNV. Undeterred, KNV decided to go ahead, and the children lent their support by staging the best performance. “The play was dedicated to Vasu”, said K N Vasudevamurthy. The gist of the play still holds relevance- Love all, never hate. Gopal said that the play was staged for the first time, under the aegis of the department.

Overwhelmed by the huge response, it has been decided to make it a regular feature