Dr. B M Shrikantaiah’s ASHWATTHAMAN Director: Jagadeesh R.


Playwright: Dr. B M Shrikantaiah

Director: Jagadeesh R.

Group: Sri Shivakumara Rangaprayoga, Chitradurga

Language: Kannada

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

The Play

This play is said to be the first poetic play in Kannada. In this play Ashwatthama, an immortal hero from Mahabharata, is transformed by the author to enable him to meet his tragic end. The play breaks from the traditional image of Ashwatthama as one blessed with the gift of immortality. Aswatthama in the Mahabharata is a bachelor while in the play he is married and has a son called Rudrashakti. Ashwatthama attempts to avenge the death of his father (who had been deceitfully killed by the Pandavas) by attacking them at night. However, he ends up killing their young children and is so embarrassed that he takes his own life.

Director’s Note

Ashwatthaman throws light on how fate plays a vital role in the life of a powerful warrior and an honest human being named Ashwatthama, his character, personality, and his relationship with his father and guru Dronacharya. This adaptation of Sophocles’ Ajax into Kannada by B M Shri is a wonderful attempt of blending the story of Ashwatthama with the famous Greek tragedy. Being a theatre practitioner I have attempted to bring this play on stage to express my views on war.  A civilization evolves with the belief in harmony with everything around it. But in war, killing other people must somehow become acceptable–morally, legally and psychologically. One way to conceive this is to imagine that the enemy is a non-human entity. Ashwatthaman, in B M Shri’s haunting adaptation of Sophocles’ Ajax, comments on the hero’s crazed attempt to massacre his own comrades-in-arms, and is a metaphorical interpretation of the cruelty of war, an ongoing phenomenon from the mythological world to the contemporary world. This play is an attempt to make one realise how war is the wicked output of the human race and a paradox to the concept of civilization.

The Director

Jagadeesh. R graduated in Design and Direction from National School of Drama, New Delhi in 2013. He is also a sculptor and a musician. He won the state award for theatre music in 2006. He visited the 2nd Asian Theatre Festival at Beijing, China & NAPA (National Academy of Performing Arts) International Theatre Festival at Karachi, Pakistan. Currently he is working as the Director at Sri Shivakumara Rangaprayoga Shale, Sanehalli, Karnataka.

The Playwright

Belluru Mylaraiah Srikantaiah, known popularly as B. M. Shri, was an Indian author, writer and translator of Kannada literature. He was awarded the Rajasevasakta Award by the Maharaja of Mysore. He was the president of the Kannada Sahithya Sammelana in 1938 at Gulburga. B M Sri Circle, a circle in Bangalore, has been named after him.

The Group

Sri Shivakumara Rangaprayoga Shale is a residential theatre school established in 2008. The course is backed by 25 years of experience of Kalashangha and 15 years of the Shivasanchara Theatre repertory. This school is designed in the Gurukula system, with a broad syllabus adapted from the best theatre institutions of the country.

Cast & Credits

Ashwatthama: Chetan Dharwad

Krishna : Pinjar Aashif

Rudra: Prasanna Chalawadi

Bhargavi: Anupallavi G

Rudrashakti: Basavaraj

Draupadi: Sangeetha D M

Duryodhana: Varun Gowda K L

Eklavya: Vinayak Suresh Kalal

Bheema: Hanumantha

Messenger: Harish Kumar T

Chorus: Boregowda, Thippeswamy R Sarvesha, Niranjan Rao Pawar, Rajkumar, Dilip Kumar, Priyanka Somanatha, Shashank H M, Yashas Nagaraj Srivatsa

Light Design: Vinod Laxman Bhandari

Make-up: Kiran T C

Singer: Jagadeesh R

Percussion: Prakash Badiger, Raju L, Madhu E

Playwright: Dr. B M Shrikantaiah

Director: Jagadeesh R.

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He was an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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