Seeking colour, in black and white

Theatre activities a relief from monotony in prison

‘Rangayatre’ was a tour, which inmates of the Central Prisons, Mysore, took around the State performing plays. The inmates-turned actors, cherishing the memories of their last year’s tour are keen to perform again and take the centre stage.

Inmates of the prison feel that involving in theatre activities gives them not only hope, but relief from the monotony of life within four walls.

Nanjunda from Chamarajanagar, who has been an inmate for over 14 years, said, “I did not even know how to talk to people. The experiences at the theatre camp has taught me to converse with people. Theatre has given me rebirth.”

Nanjunadappa, along with Anbu, Swamigowda, Bagali Mahesh, Kumaraswamy, Prashant, Ganesh Naika, Nataraju, Shivamallu, Ucchangappa, Siddaraju, Nanjunda, Yogesha, Chikkoosu, Kumara Aradhya and Revathi, is serving life term. They are hoping to play new roles this year and are expecting Rangayana artiste Hulagappa Kattimani to train them for a new play, soon.

New aspirations

The inmates have acted in the Kannada version of a play by Shakespeare. Also, their acting skills were put to test in a play depicting the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Theatre has provided them with new aspirations and a belief in their talents.

Anbu, who was an accomplice of forest brigand Veerappan, said that he had been in the prison for 16 years. “I learnt Kannada here. I also learnt about life after acting in plays. Theatre, has helped me become a better person.”

A few other inmates are happy that theatre camps provide them exposure to books. “It is due to the theatre camp, I discovered my interest in books,” said Swamigowda.
C N Jayasimha, Chief Superintendent of Prisons, is happy about the transformation in some inmates following their stint with theatre. “If the inmates wish, we can organise a theatre camp this year too. But we need to seek approval from the higher authorities,” he added.

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