Noted Yakshagana artiste Gangayya Shetty collapses on stage, dies

The artiste had a dramatic end like many others in realm

Noted Yakshagana artiste Gangayya Shetty collapses on stage, dies

 A Yakshagana performance of ‘Kateel Kshetra Mahatme’ turned out to be the swansong for noted artiste Gerukatte Gangayya She­t­ty on Wednesday night.Shetty (60), who collapsed while enacting a sequence, later breathed his last due to a heart attack on his way to the hospital.

Shetty, who was performing the role of Arunasura at Ekkar near Bajpe, collapsed on stage, while enacting a scene of hitting a rock to kill a bee. He was rushed to a hospital in Kinnigoli, where the doctors advised to shift him to KMC Hospital in Mangaluru. He died en route to the hospital.

He leaves behind his wife and three children. The last rites were conducted at his native place Sambolya in Gerukatte, Belthangady taluk on Thursday. With his death, Shetty joins the list of artistes who had met similar dramatic end, such as Shiriyara Manju Naik, Damodar Mandeccha, Chippar Krishnaiah Ballal, Keremane Shambu Hegde, Ashok Kolekadi and Aruva Narayan Shetty. They all collapsed on stage, only to breathe their last later.

Early days

Born in the year 1957, Gerukatte Gangayya Shetty is the son of Ammu Shetty and Kamala couple. The family was living in Sambolya house at Gerukatte in the district. He took interest in Yakshagana at an early age, that later landed him at Dharmasthala Yakshagana Training Centre. He learnt under the tutelage of his teacher Padre Chandru. He later joined Kateel Mela as an artiste in the year 1973, where he was serving as its manager till his death.

He was known for his roles as ‘Rudra Bheema’, ‘Arunasura’, ‘Ravana’, ‘Myravana’, ’Veerabhadra’, ’Shaneschwara’ and ’Kaundlika’ among other villainous roles. Apart from his facial expressions, body language and voice modulation, Shetty was so devoted to the act on stage that left audiences waiting for repeat shows.

Kateel Mela

Shetty, who was associated with Kateel Mela for 45 long years, was better known for his role as demon king ‘Mahishasura’. He had undergone angiogram 15 years ago. Following doctors’ advice, he had stopped donning the role of Mahishasura, a rather difficult choice for him. He had restricted himself to the roles of ‘Arunasura’ and ‘Rakthabeeja’, but occasionally hit the stage as ‘Mahishasura’.


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