Yakshagana doyen Keremane Mahabala Hegde passes away

Yakshagana doyen Keremane Mahabala Hegde passes away

Keremane Mahabala Hegde

Keremane, suffering from minor illness for some time, died at the Alike residence of his son professor Ram Hegde when he was having his lunch.

Keremane started performing Yakshagana at the age of 14 and reigned over Badagutittu Yakshagana for more than six decades. He toured with different melas such as Saligrama, Amruteshwari, Kamalashile and Idagunji. He was famous for his roles such as Bheeshma, Dasharatha, Karna, Ruthuparna, Shalya and Sudhanva. His ‘Ashwathama’ was considered iconic.

He pioneered the concept of time-limit for Yakshagana and emphasised on the importance of music in Yakshagana.

Keremane was born at Gunavante in Honnavara taluk of Uttara Kannada district on June 30, 1927. Though he could not continue his formal education after IV standard, he mastered the language and art through his perseverance.

Mahabala Hegde is the recipient of Kendra Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1991), Madras Shruthi Institute award, Gana Kala Parishat award and Karnataka Yakshagana Janapada Academy’s  life time achievement award (2005). He had also been felicitated with Deraje Seetharamaiah Award recently.

He was part of a team that performed Yakshaganas in European countries in 1982. The doyen is survived by wife Mahadevi, children Ram Hegde and Dakshayini.