Y’day me and Sandy went to watch the play ‘Odakalu Bimba’ staged at RangaShankara. It was a presentation by the playwright/director combo of Girish Karnad and KM Chaitanya and had Arundhati Nag essaying the sole role of the protagonist. Watching the play turned out to be a wonderful experience (though the grueling 2 hour bus ride back home nearly transformed my happy mood into one bordering on profanity; nearly… but not quite) and Arundhati displayed acting skills of the highest caliber.
I had earlier watched her in action in another play ‘Iti ninna Amrita’, the Kannada version of the famous Urdu play ‘Tumhari Amrita’, with the noted actor Srinivas Prabhu. Yesterday’s performance was definitely several notches above that. May be the fact that she had the entire stage to herself was an inspiration in itself.
Rangashankara has definitely been one of the most significant additions to the theatrical scene in Bangalore. The moment I saw the place, I fell in love with it. The ethnicity, the rustic setting, the minimalist but tasteful design and architecture – be it the exteriors, the coffee shop or the auditorium itself, the thoughtful decision to have a franchise outlet for the Shankar’s book shop… the simplicity in everything about the place appeals to me.
Here are a few of their best features on offer:
* A ticket to any show on any day will cost you just Rs.49
* The theatre buffs and interested patrons can keep themselves informed of the happenings, by subscribing to the newsletter, all it takes is a single email with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line
* They have a system of ringing 3 bells before the show, at intervals of 15 mins, starting from 7 PM, to ensure that the audience are inside the auditorium well before time (reminds you of the school days and the last minute rush to get in before the last bell!!)
* All shows begin at 7.30 PM sharp, whatever clout you may enjoy else where, it won’t help you get in here, once this hour has passed!
* The opportunity that one gets to see, meet and converse with the eminent literary and theatre personalities, at close proximity
* And finally, their amazing web-site, go check it out!!
Rangashankara was a dream that Arundhati and her versatile actor/director husband Shankar Nag had cherished for years. After losing him to a fatal accident, she braved several odds with the obvious personal loss of a husband and friend, to ensure that his dream wouldn’t die with him. With the help of a few close friends who shared the same vision, it slowly but surely came up and the fact that it is so very well established and is flourishing today is testimonial to her undying spirit and never-say-die attitude.
Arundhati by her efforts has played a significant role in reviving an almost dying culture of appreciating good theatre, especially amongst today’s youth in Bangalore. It has provided a much needed platform for the artistes to hone and display their skills on stage. Rangashankara has been instrumental in enriching the cultural quotient in our multi-ethnic, cross-cultural, cosmopolitan city.
Kudos to Arundhathi and Rangashankara!!