Yakshagana goes academic

Yakshagana goes academic

Yakshagana goes academic

A 15 feet tall model which is under construction in front of Yakshagana Study Centre in Mangalore University. DH photo/Author

Yakshaganaa popular folk theatre form of Karnataka with a history of several centuries, is an unique blend of traditional music, eye-catching costumes, authentic styles of dance, gestures and acting with its extemporaneous dialogue appealing to a large community. It is a vibrant living form of theatre art.

To disseminate, document and research on yakshagana, Mangalore University had started Yakshagana Study Centre through P Dayananda Pai and P Sathish Pai Trust which had endowed a sum of Rs one crore towards the centre.

The Centre will help in disseminating the information along with promotion, training, performance, publications and encouragement of various activities connected with the yakshagana. As one enters the Centre, two Yakshagana models with a height of 15 feet welcome the visitor and give a feeling of authenticity. The models are being prepared by M G K Acharya of Kumble.

Speaking to City Herald, Centre Director and also the Registrar of Mangalore University Dr Chinnappa Gowda said that yakshagana models will give a feeling of yakshagana as one enters the Centre.

The establishment of yakshagana museum consisting models, ornaments, musical instruments are under progress. The museum will depict the rich and glamourous world of yakshagana. The models of main 9 characters like hasya vesha, hanumantha, Pundavesha, Rajavesha, Rakshasa, Hennu banna, Bheema (Mudi), Kiratha, Sthree Vesha give a feeling that each characters are in front of us. The models were prepared by Mahabala Kalmadka of Sullia Taluk. It is prepared in a traditional Thenkuthittu style of yakshagana. The models are made of fiber. The costumes also add colour to the models. A sum of Rs 2.75 lakh has been spent on these models kept inside the museum.

The Centre has been engaged in organising series of special lectures, seminars and performances. One of the objectives of the Centre is to encourage local yakshagana artistes by providing a platform to perform. In fact, Mangalore University non teaching women staff had performed Murasuravadhe at the Yakshagana Kala Kendra on January 20.

Dr Gowda said that the work on models, light and sound system, showcase for the museum is being undertaken under the special grant of Rs 14 lakh given by Dayananda Pai.

Even the Badaguthittu style of yakshagana models will be placed in the museum in the future.

The painting of the models on the outside of the Centre will be carried out after the monsoon, he added.


A model inside the museum. In the library, there are several mukhavadas or masks related to yakshagana along with the publications on yakshagna literature, theatre and performances. More than 800 books, cassettes and also rare manuscripts received as donations by various scholars including Prof Amruth Someshwar, Gangadhar Shastri Najagar, Dr D Sadashiva Bhat and Karnataka Janapada Academy adorn the library. Prof B A Viveka Rai has donated centuries old yakshagana performance texts to the library. Even the audio video cassettes and CDs are also collected by the Centre. Some of the rare books are photocopied and made available for reference. There are nearly 40 full size colour photographs depicting various roles and scenes of yakshagana performances in the archives of the Centre, he added. 

The centre had conducted a multi-media documentation on Sri Pathala Venkataramana Bhat: Life and his achievements at his residence at Uppinangady recently.

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