Kumble Sundar Rao, senior artiste of the Tenkutittu school of Yakshagana, said that, unlike in the past, Yakshagana is now receiving greater patronage.
“The standard of living of the Yakshagana artistes has, therefore, improved,” he pointed out.
He was speaking after accepting the Yakshamangala Award 2018-19, instituted by P Dayananda Pai and Satish Pai Yakshagana Adhyayana Kendra at the Mangalore University.
He said that, in the past, artistes had to work in farmlands to earn their livelihood. People should support artistes, he urged.
Gode Narayana Hegde, another awardee, said that the creativity of artistes will be curbed if they participate in two to three Yakshagana shows in a day. “The artistes will have no time to think of their performance aspects. Glorifying only a few aspects in Yakshagana is also not a good trend,” said Hegde.
Further, the artiste said, “I had my Rangapravesha in Yakshagana at the age of 14 years. Now, I am 80 years old. I have served in the field of Yakshagana for 65 years. In our initial days, an artiste did not have a good income. In spite of poverty, the interest in Yakshagana has not declined.”
Prof M L Samaga, former chairperson of the Karnataka Yakshagana Bayalata Academy, said that, when Kumble Sundar Rao was the first chairperson of the Academy, he had initiated a proposal to introduce junior, senior and vidwat examinations in Yakshagana. His proposal is yet to be materialised, Samaga reminded.
He added that Rao’s Yakshagana characters of Bheeshma, Bharata, Rama and Karna are well-known. Hegde too had created a niche for himself in Yakshagana.
Yakshagana expert Chandrashekar Damle stressed on the need for the university to develop a wing for research in visual arts.
The Yakshamangala Award carried a cash prize of Rs 25,000, a memento and a citation.
Award for work
Expert Prof G S Bhat Sagar’s work ‘Yakshagana Angopanga Samatholana Vichara’ was given the Yakshamangala Krithi Award, with a cash prize of Rs 10,000, a memento and a citation.
Mangalore University in-charge VC Prof Kishori Nayak presided. Kendra coordinator Dr Dhananjay Kumble spoke.