Karanth's unconventional experiments remembered

Though Dr Karanth’s unconventional experiments received strong criticism in the initial days, the Yakshagana artistes and the critics later accepted his thoughts for the good, said senior Yakshagana Bhagavatha Hosthota Manjunatha Bhagavatha.

He was speaking after inaugurating a seminar on ‘Karantha and Yakshagana’ jointly organised by the Mangalore University Dr K Shivarama Karanth Chair and University College Mangalore at Ravindra Kala Bhavan in University College on Saturday.

Bhagavatha, who was the close associate of Dr Karanth said that the ballet form of Yakshagana introduced by Dr Karanth brought a sea of change in the Bayalata performances including the music, dance, script and costume.

“Dr Shivarama Karanth developed an aversion towards the conversations used in Yakshagana, so much so that he built a new concept of ‘silent’ Yakshagana. At one point, Dr Karanth called the conversation then used in Yakshagana as ‘Harate’ (irritation) and so he resorted to speech less Yakshagana which was very close to the Russian ballet.

Praising Dr Karanth’s contribution to Yakshagana field, Hosthota said that during Karanth’s days background music used in Yakshagana was devoid of ‘Shruthi’ (composition) which made Karanth to introduce saxophone, flute and violin in Yakshagana performances.

The trend was severely criticised, but then one must understand that all the three instruments Karanth introduced in Yakshagana provided melody to the art form.

Delivering the introductory remarks, Mangalore University Dr K Shivaram Karanth Chair Director Dr Sabiha said that the Chair which was set up 20 years ago has published ten books on Karanth and his works so far.

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