Report by Gopika Mayya
Pics by Sujay Bendore
for Daijiworld News Network - UAE
Dubai, Dec 26: Valiant legendary heroes of Tulu Nadu, Koti Chennaya indeed came alive in a dazzling performance of Yakshagana in Al Nasr Leisureland's Nashwan Hall in Dubai earlier this week.
For the first time a Tulu yakshagana was being staged in the UAE.
Billawas Dubai and Northern emirates organized this show with a novel motive of introducing to the present generation who are brought up in the Emirates to the roots of the community.
The programme began with a simple invocation in the form of traditional lighting of the lamp by Udayakumar, Krishna Poojary, Jagannath Bellare, Umesh Kuckian, Sathish Poojary and Praveen Kumar Attavar.
The main attraction Koti Chennayya captured the imagination of the audience as usual with glittering costumes. The saga of the Koti Chennayya was known to many people but most of them were ignorant about their contribution to the society and the reason behind their being worshipped as raja daivas.
The valiant twins are also known as karnika purushas. Even till date they are worshipped in garadis and not at homes which indicated the high esteem they are held in since they fought for the truth.
The story of the Koti Chennayya is that they were the twins born to Deyi Baidati who saved the life of king Permal Ballal of Padumale though she was nearing labour. The king brought up the twins, as deyi dies during child-birth. Sayana Baida the meternal uncle takes the custody of the kids and gives them all the education and training that finetunes them into young men.
But everyone considers them a threat and tries to eliminate them.Finally they take shelter at layyanoor kingdom. In a battle between Panda kingdom and Iayyanoor, Permal Ballal of Padumale trickily kills Koti. Chennayya ends his life, as he could not stand the grief of separation. But before his end Koti takes promise from all the kings they are Devanna Ballala of Iayyanoor, Temara Ballala of Panja and Permal Ballal of Padumale that they shall live in peace.
The four-and-half-hour yakshagaana literally took the spectators to the lush green paddy fields, which was the main occupation those days. Each and every artiste brought the respective character to life ably. Be it the comedian or raja vesha Koti, Saayana baida, Deyi baidati, Premal Ballala, Payya Baida, Manju Pargade and the astrologer were at their best. Many of them came in small roles yet the glimpses of their talent were evident. The interesting part was the Koti Chennayya as children. They were looking cute and Chennayya who is the angry young man of the twins had big rolling eyes since childhood.
The playful Chennayya was well depicted by Kishore Gatti as everyone missed his dancing in the next Chennayya where his heroic deeds turn and shape the twins’ future. When he came back as Chandu Gidi every one was waiting for his characteristic 'dingnas' - the swirl in the air. But he proved that he could shine in a serious role too. Sudhakar Tumbe was impressive as Buddhivanta, Vishwanath Shetty as Dayi Baidati and Narasu was worth watching where as Sandip Barke with his clean aangika abhinaya as comedian showed promising potential for the comedy in future.
Divakar Shirva, as the matured Chennayya put his heart and soul into the character. Ravi Uchchil was outstanding as usual. Bhavabhinaya comes easily to this man. On the whole Koti Chennayya was yet another feather on the cap of Yaksha Mitraru.
Perhaps Koti Chennayya is a difficult prasanga, which demands strong narration, thus relying upon the improvised arthagaarike that demands lot of dedication and deep study into the matter.
For the third time Bottikere Purushottam Poonja was invited for the bhagavatike which shows his popularity, and he did full justice to his job. He was excellent particularly in the astrologer’s scene. He was melodious and soothing and ably supported by Prashant Kumar on Maddale. He, visiting Dubai for the first time, seems to be a promising chende and maddalegaara with a lot of potential. With a smiling face whenever he was on chende or maddale they seemed to be happy and singing to his beats.
In the interval the bhagavata Bottikere Purushottam Poonja and Chendevaadaka Prashant Kumar were honoured with mementoes and a token of appreciation. President Umesh Kuckian and secretary Sathish Poojary did the honours. At the end every artiste was introduced and honoured in recognition of their efforts. Chidananda Poojary the band-leader was treated with a stay in a hotel for 2 days. Secretary Sathish Poojary expressed thanks to all the artistes and guests. Ramanand Belapu and Vittal Shetty presented the event.
The list of the artistes:
Bhagavatike : B Purushottam Poonja
Maddale : Bhavani Shankar Sharma, Ramesh Bhat
Chende : Prashanth Kumar
Chakra Tala : Venkatesh Shasrty
Permal Ballal : Harish M S
Bommayya and Rama Jois : Chdananda Poojary
Kadinavru and Buddhvanta’s sons : Sandip Barke, Prabhakar Poojary, Sudhakar
Dayi Baidati and Narasu Shetty : Vishwanath Shetty
Young Koti Chennayya : Master Aniket and Baby Sharanya
Koti Chennayya : Sadashiva Acharya Keenya and Kishore Kumar Gatti
Koti Chennayya : Ravi Uchchil and Divakar Shirva
Chandu Gidi : Kishore Kumar Gatti
Temara Ballala : Sadashiva Acharya Keenya
Buddhivanta : Sudhakar Tumbe
Naga Brahma : Dinesh Bijai
Bayya Biadaya: Nagesh Kotian
Kinnidaaru : Vasanta Sheregar
Devanna Ballal : Vittal Shetty