Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kindari's Lilting Tunes Reverberate Thru Rangayana

Kindari Jogi at Rangayana

On the banks of Tunga River, there was once a village called Bommanahalli. The villagers were troubled not by ghosts or demons but by hundreds and thousands of vermin. The rats were everywhere — in the vessels, cheese and oil, bags of children and hats of men.
Not finding any relief, the people one day went to the Head of the village and asked him for a solution. The lazy Head, not knowing what to do, announced a huge reward to anyone who rid the village off its problem. Then came the tall and charming Kindari Jogi, who said he could take away the rats. He made a deal with the village Head and took to the streets playing his Kindari (single stringed instrument). The rats came out of their hiding and followed him to the Tunga bank where they fell into the river to meet a watery grave.
Kindari Jogi returned to ask for his money but the village Head backed from his word. Enraged by this, the Jogi warned him but the village Head refused and asked him to be gone. The Jogi played his tune again and this time the children of the village were drawn. The villagers stood watching as the Jogi led their kids away from home. He reached a mountain and the people thought it was a dead end but to their surprise the mountain split and let the Jogi and kids within; except for a lame boy who was left behind. The kid cried of disappointment as he missed the world Jogi had promised — a world where his legs would be healed and he could also dance to the Kindari's tune. But alas, he missed his friends and wept, thinking of the world they were in, taken to by Kindari Jogi, never to return again.
This is the story of Bommanahalli Kindari Jogi written by Kuvempu, which was adapted from the English version 'Pied Piper of Hamelin' by Robert Browning. This was also the first production of city’s theatre repertory Rangayana and was staged by its artistes who were then still its students. The play was staged under the direction of Rangayana’s Founder-Director B.V. Karanth. With the success of the play, Karanth wanted to make sure Kindari Jogi left his mark in the city and in the hearts of its citizens forever. Hence, he got the statue of Kindari Jogi installed in Rangayana premises which we now see.
The ever captivating Jogi
"The statue was originally designed for a tableau from Mysore for Dasara and the theme was 'Kindari Jogi' as Karanth’s drama got much acclaim then. Seeing it, Karanth decided to take it to Rangayana. But at that time it was made of iron rods and clothes. The same couldn’t be used as a permanent statue. Therefore, we re-worked it and made it out of mesh and cement. It took almost 2 months to complete the statue," says Daneshwar Muth, a native of Badami. He was a student of Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) when he made the statue of Kindari Jogi.
"The statue was not fixed inside the campus as Karanth did not want anything to be 'permanent.' However, when he was out of town, we artistes requested Daneshwar to complete the statue and install it permanently. We wanted it to be a surprise for Karanth as we wished to make this statue a symbol of the success of his play," says Dwaraknath, a Rangayana artiste.
However, over the years the statue became faded and broken. After 18 years since its installation, it finally got a facelift in 2008. Daneshwar was called back to refurbish the statue. The broken hands were replaced and it was given a fresh coat of painting. It took almost 21 days for Daneshwar to give back Kindari Jogi his original charm.
Although in the story, Jogi took the children away and never returned, he has made a place for himself in Mysore. And even to this day, we can see the 26-foot-tall Kindari Jogi welcoming one and all at the entrance of Rangayana.

(Published in Star of Mysore dated May 12, 2011)


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