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Traditional touch in theatre

Kids learnt to make soft toys at a workshop organised at Junior Oxford on November 19. The participants, aged between eight and 15 years, were taught step by step by Sasha artisans. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Yaksha Manjusha, a troupe from Mangalore, presented Panchavati, an episode from the Aranyakanda (the forest cantos of Ramayana where Rama encounters Surpanakha and other demons) at our school on November 6. The performance, organised by Spicmacay, was thoroughly enjoyed by both teachers and students.

Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form combining dance, music, dialogues, costumes, make-up and stage technique, with a distinct style. It is mainly prevalent in the coastal districts and adjacent areas of Karnataka. It is closely connected with theatre forms prevailing in other parts of Karnataka and its neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Yakshagana is the product of the Vaishnava Bhakti movement.

As of now, there are about 30 full-fledged professional troupes and 200 amateur troupes in Yakshagana. The professional troupes go on tour between November and May, staging about 180-200 shows, on consecutive days, spanning the full night.

With the off-season shows put together, Karnataka witnesses about 12,000 Yakshagana performances every year!

Though the number of Yakshagana troupes has not declined, the art form is fast evolving itself to cater to an urban audience.

Ratula Halder,
Class IX, Mahadevi Birla Girls’ Higher Secondary School

 

Wit and words

Ten students from educational institutes across the country were at their eloquent best as they put forth their views on “Reservation promotes preservation, not proficiency” at the seventh Inter-Institutional LN Birla National Debate (picture by Bishwarup Dutta).

Chinmaya Kulkarni of Fergusson College (junior wing), Pune, was the winner in the school category while Rangin P. Tripathy of University Law College, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, came up trumps in the college section of the debate, organised by Birla High School.

The winners, who spoke against the motion, went back home with a laptop each, besides other prizes. The runners-up in the school and college sections, Saurav Roy of Birla High School (for the motion) and Soumya Mathur of International College for Girls, Jaipur (against the motion), received iPods besides other prizes. Apart from the detailed arguments, the quick-witted replies to the judges’ queries were much appreciated.

The debate which started with five centres — Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore — has gradually reached out to Hyderabad, Jaipur and Pune. This year Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Jamshedpur also joined in.

 

Festive high note

Aalap 2006, the annual fest of Bethune College was organised in association with Anandabazar Patrika on November 10 and 11. About 38 colleges participated, including St Xavier’s, Presidency, Bhawanipur College, Hazra Law College, Jadavpur University and Heritage Institute (picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya). The fest began with eastern and western vocal recitals, debate, creative writing, antakshari, fashion show and a band meet. The crowd enjoyed a performance by guest band Prithibi. The next day saw a quiz contest, T-shirt painting, skit and a much-awaited dance competition. The host college bagged the second prize in choreography, the first place went to Heritage Institute of Technology. In the evening, students rocked to the tunes of Bhoomi.

Tirtha Banerjee & Romi Ghosh,
Bethune College

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