Rangayana, a journey from being blue-eyed boy to blue baby

After Jambe, the repertory got three directors in five years

When theatre expert B V Rajaram was prematurely shunted out as a director of Rangayana on March 22, it naturally incited the already frayed nerves in the artistes of the repertory.

However, if one were to go by the history of Rangayana, the development doesn’t come as a surprise given the continued clash between the directors and officialdom ever since its inception in the year 1989.

Interestingly, in the last 24 years, barring founder director of Rangayana, B V Karanth and his successors C Basavalingaiah and Chidambara Rao Jambe, no other director could hold the reins for long.

From Karanth to Prasanna, the full term of directors was fixed at three years, which was later extended to four years from the time Jambe took over the mantle. Though Karanth was also a victim of adamant bureaucracy, he called the shots for six years and 10 months (January 14, 1989 to October 30, 1995) which is the longest term.

Karanth was succeeded by C Basavalingaiah on February 13, 1996 and remained in power for five years and two months till he quit on April 08, 2001. He too served two terms. Prasanna who assumed charge later on April 09, 2001, called it quits a year ahead of completing his tenure. It is said that he too was vexed at official interference.  

Though things seemed to settle when Jambe completed almost four years (February 04, 2004 to January 20, 2008), what happened later had turned theatre lovers sceptical over the survival of the repertory.

K T Chikkanna the then joint director of Kannada and culture department, held the additional charge of director for one year and four months from February 11, 2008.
Though it was nothing new for the officers to hold the charge as acting directors, as Y K Muddukrishna and K T Chikkanna had held it for a brief period after Karanth and Prasanna respectively, Chikkanna had been the government nominee in the seat for the longest period after Jambe.

B Jayashree was appointed full time director, but lasted for the shortest period of four months from June 23, 2009 to October 24, 2009. Jayashri and the artistes were at loggerheads, which died with Jayashri’s exit. Halemane passed away in the mid of his tenure after completing 11 months from May 20, 2010. B V Rajaram took charge on September 11, 2011 and was sacked much before he could complete his term. After Jambe’s exit five years ago, Rangayana was decorated by three directors and fourth is in the offing.

A blue-eyed boy of Karanth has indeed turned out to be blue baby.

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