Surabhi steals the show

Surabhi steals the show
Highlights

Many theatre groups succumbed to the onslaught of cinema, but Surabhi begs to differ. Surabhi artistes right from the three-month-old to 80-year-old are holding the audiences spell-bound with their expertise in not only acting, but also in more than one stage craft.

Bhadrachalam: Many theatre groups succumbed to the onslaught of cinema, but Surabhi begs to differ. Surabhi artistes right from the three-month-old to 80-year-old are holding the audiences spell-bound with their expertise in not only acting, but also in more than one stage craft.

With their performances, they breathed life into the theatre. Everyone from the group excels in all activities of the theatre group, which they learnt from their elders.

On account of Advisor to the State government KV Ramanachary’s initiative, the theatre group is performing at Bhadrachalam temple. On the occasion of Vaikunta Ekadasi celebrations, the group staged ‘Sitaramakalyanam’, in which nearly 45 members of the group performed.

The ancestors of Surabhi group migrated to Andhra Pradesh from Maharashtra prior to 1850. Group founder Panarasa Govinda Rao launched Surabhi in 1885. Soon their family grew. The journey of Surabhi group began with its maiden play ‘Keechakavadha’ in 1885 at Surabhi village in Rayachoti taluka of Kadapa district.

Surabhi artistes excel in staging devotional and historical plays. The seventh generation of artistes of the group is continuing the same family tradition. The specialty of the Surabhi artistes is that whether one is portraying the hero role or otherwise, he or she has to work backstage once they are through with their performance on the stage.

Till 1980, there were 40 Surabhi theatre groups. Because of the onslaught of cinema, the theatre groups came down to just four. In fact, 250 artistes are dependent on theatre for their livelihood. Talking to The Hans India, Sri Vinayaka Natyamandali secretary Rekamdar Venugopal Rao said the group’s desire to stage Sitaramakalyanam in the presence of the Bhadrachalam deity at last was fulfilled. They thanked Ramanachary for lending his support to the theatre group.

By PV Satyanarayana

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