an article in DH

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

MISCELLANY

Saying with strings
Udupi: The string plays of Karnataka are very interesting for their technique, presentation and content. Three brothers of the Kamath family of Uppinakudru in Udupi district – Lakshman, Narasimha and Manjappa – started this play about 350 years ago. Now, the sixth generation of this family, Mr Bhaskar Kogga Kamath, is continuing the legacy by leading Sri Ganesh Yakshagana Gombeyata Mandali.

Bhaskar, a graduate in Arts, is a dynamic young man, completely involved in this family folk art. He has secured the three-year ‘Young Workers Talent Scholarship’ of the Central Government at the age of 18. He was also selected for junior research fellowship to study puppet play in Yakshagana by the Dept of Human Resource Development of the Government of India.

Bhaskar, who is interested in the documentation of his favourite art, has written and published many books like the Story of Kogga Kamath’s Marionettes and Gombe Prapancha. Bhaskar also wants to establish a museum to preserve the art of puppetry.

Bhaskar is also a painter, photographer, creative writer and cartoonist. He also organises training programmes for young artists in his Gombe Mane.

Innovation is another passion with Bhaskar. He keeps introducing new techniques in puppetry to make his shows interesting. He also incorporates Konkani and Hindi languages in his shows to make them attractive for non-Kannadiga audience.

The artists of Kamath family have been honoured by the President of India and have secured a number of National and State awards. Bhaskar’s team has presented its shows in many parts of India and abroad, including France, Belgium, Australia, Geneva, Holland, Germany, Greece, Pakistan, England and Japan.

Bhaskar’s pet dream is to establish a Gombeyata Academy to gather information about various sections of puppetry. He also wishes to spread awareness about this form of art among the general public. As a part of this project, he has been touring various districts of the State under the banner, Uppinakudru Gombe Pravasa – 2008, from February 28, 2008.

The Kalachetana Academy of Gadag recently honoured Bhaskar for his rich contribution to his chosen field of art.

Sangamesh Menasinakai

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