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Tribute to a rare actor

Handiganoor Siddaramappa was well-known in his village as a drama artiste. He first joined Shri Krishna Drama Company, the first ever drama company in North Karnataka, to hone his dramatic skills. 

At the drama company, he did some odd jobs. Once, to Siddaramappa’s good fortune, an artiste absented himself from the show, forcing Siddaramappa to don his role. He performed so brilliantly that the audience gave him a big applause. From that day onwards, there was no looking back for him. He soon became famous not only in North Karnataka, but also in the areas bordering Maharashtra, and the upper coastal area. Because of his voice, dialogue delivery style and good physique, many dramatists reserved him for serious roles.

During the 1930s, Vanivilas Drama Company owned by Yarashi Bharamappa was very famous. It was known for its good backdrops, luxurious costumes and well-equipped sound systems. Kittur Rudramma, Kittur Chennamma and Varapradaana were the famous dramas of Vanivilas company in which Siddaramappa acted. Basavaraj Mansoor and Ameerbai Karnataki sisters were his co-actors in this company. Raktaraatri, Kurukshetra and Badatanada Bhoota, dramas written by Kandagal Hanumantaraaya, brought success to Siddaramappa.

Among the many parts Siddaramappa enacted, important ones are that of Bheeshma, Ravana, Banasura, Karna, Harishchandra, Purandaradasa, Sharathchandra and Raja Bhartruhari. All these roles proved his versatility as an actor. In 1937, Siddaramappa established his own drama company named Vishwaranjani Kala Natya Sangha, which did well for almost 11 years. People called him Kalayogi, Natasarvabhauma, Abhinayavisharada and Natakesari. He has also acted in the Kannada movie Chandrahasa, which released in 1947, where he played the negative role of Dushtabuddhi. He truly was a revolutionary in the field of drama.

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