Expelled artistes of Kateel Yakshagana troupe demand re-entry

Ten artistes expelled from the fifth Yakshana troupe of Sri Durgaparameshwari Prasadita Dashavatara Yakshagana Mandali, Kateel, have urged the troupe owner to take them back to the troupe.

The artistes have warned of launching stern protests, if they are not taken back and made part of the the troupe again.

Addressing reporters here on Wednesday, Biruver Kudla media head Nitish Marnad said that eight senior artistes of the troupe --- Ujire Narayana Hasyagara, Diwana Shivashankar Bhat, Mahabala Rai, Mohan Kumar Ammunje, Rajesh Rai Adka, Prashant Shetty, and Madhava Bangera --- were expelled from the troupe during last November.

"The artistes had warned of walking out of the troupe, so as to register their protest against the transfer of the Bhagawatha of the troupe. But the troupe owner Deviprasad Shetty was not ready to hold any discussions with the artistes and expelled them suddenly. Though the artistes apologised to the owner at a later stage, they were not taken back to the troupe," Nitish said.

Govinda Naika, the green room assistant from the second Yakshagana troupe and Ravish Shetty Kumble, an artiste from the third Yakshagana troupe were abruptly expelled for silly reasons, he claimed.

The artistes in the Yakshagana troupe of Kateel had been working or performing in the troupes as they considered the performing art as a divine offering to Goddess Sri Durgaparameshwari of Kateel, on whom the troupe has been named after. Though some artistes have joined other professional Yakshagana troupes for livelihood, they are still willing to be a part of Kateel troupe, for the very reason, he said.

"Expelling the artistes only for the reason of registering their protest, is not justified," Nitish said. He urged the troupe owner to take the artistes back to the troupe before November, the onset season of the next round of Yakshagana performances in this year.

Nitish clarified that the artistes had conveyed their problem to Biruver Kudla organisation as they did not have a common platform to address the issue to the media.

He alleged that there is no transparency in the monetary transactions of the Yakshagana troupe.

Biruver Kudla women's wing president Vidya Rakesh and Yakshagana artiste Radhakrishna Navada were also present.

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