Bhagavatha Patla Sathish Shetty kept out of Kateel Mela

A video clipping of celebrated Yakshagana Bhagavatha Patla Sathish Shetty leaving the Yakshagana stage after being allegedly humiliated by Kateel Mela’s (troupe) convener has not gone down well with Yakshagana enthusiasts.

The six troupes of Kateel Sri Durgaparameshwari Prasaditha Yakshagana Mandali, popularly known as the Kateel Mela, symbolically launched  its ‘Seveyata Tirugata’ (touring services) on Friday. Patla Sathish Shetty, the third Bhagavatha of the first mela, climbed on the stage to render his performance at 12.45 am. However, he was denied permission to perform.

The video clipping showing him exiting the venue went viral on Saturday. Yakshagana fans declared it as an insult to the Yakshagana community. An eye witness said, “Patla was getting ready to perform when Kateel Mela manager signaled him to leave. Mela convener Deviprasad Shetty is said to have told him that he was dropped from the Mela. Patla came to the Chowki (green room), kept the Yakshagana equipment and left the venue without a murmur of protest.”

Initially, Shetty was the Bhagavatha of the fifth Kateel Mela. He was deputed to the first Mela a year ago. The alleged humiliation meted out to him has made many people to believe that he was caught between the clashes which erupted between the management and troupe members a few years ago. Some troupe members have been expelled for allegedly opposing the  management’s decision to reshuffle artistes in the six troupes. Patla Sathish Shetty is said to have thrown his weight behind the expelled artistes, which has left the management disappointed.

There was opposition to individuals running Yakshagana Mela in the name of te temple run by Muzrai Department. Commissioner for Religious and Charitable Endowment Rohini Sindhuri had issued an order to maintain Kateel Yakshagana Mela through the department. Even the high court had directed the Dakshina Kannada district administration to implement the commissioner’s order.

Additional Deputy Commissioner M J Roopa said. “The high court order copy has not reached the district administration. Once the order reaches us, we will implement the order. The district administration has already held preliminary discussions with warring groups in this regard.”

‘Insult equal to death’

Reacting to the incident, Patla Sathish Shetty said, “I have been with the Kateel Mela for the past 20 years. In spite of getting offers from other Melas, I had not deserted the Kateel Mela. Now, I have been insulted in the Mela. The insult on the stage (Ranga) is equal to death.”

He clarified that they could have informed him on his non-inclusion into the Mela before entering the Rangasthala. They have not revealed the mistakes I have committed,” he said.

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