Turning over a new leaf

Jailininda Jailige

The prisoners of the various jails of Karnataka have been showcasing their acting talent in Jailininda Jailige, a four-day drama festival which means ‘from one jail to another’.

Organised by the theatre group Sankalpa at Ravindra Kalakshetra, the event was inaugurated by Govind Karjol, the minister of Kannada and Culture.

The purpose of the festival is to bring about a positive change in the minds of the inmates and mould them to lead a confident and fulfilling life once they come out of the jail.

On the first day of Jailininda Jailige, an adaptation of the classic play ‘King Lear’ by William Shakespeare was staged.

The inmates of the Mysore Central Jail unravelled their acting skills and the play drew a decent crowd.

The participants went through rigorous training for more than two months and even researched about their roles.

Other than ‘King Lear’, ‘Ward No. 6’ by Bangalore Central Jail, Gokaranada Goudashani by Dharwad Central Jail and Shivaratri by Belgaum Central Jail were staged during the fest.
Ganesh Naik, who played the role of King Lear, has been in jail for over 13 years. He has been actively taking part in plays for over five years.

“The whole thing of rehearsing and deciding on which play to present is relaxing. We spent days discussing the elements that should be added to make the play more presentable,” he said.

He added that he wanted to prove to the world that he has become a good human being.

“My inmates and I want to give a message that we have changed and that whatever happened in the past was a result of spur-of-the-moment decisions,” said Ganesh, who is charged with a murder.

The inmates of the Mysore Central Jail admitted that the entire process helped them build better relations with each other and learn a lot.

 Sathish Gowda, who has been accused in a murder case and has been serving in jail for six years, said, “I have been participating in such cultural festivals for more than three years. When I acted in a play about Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi, I learnt the values of life. This has changed my thinking and life entirely.”

The drama festival, which began on March 7, will go on till March 10.

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