Mysuru is called the Cultural Capital of Karnataka, the City of Palaces, Heritage City of Karnataka. It is also one of the University Towns of India given the array of prestigious colleges in pretty much in all the fields of education (arts, commerce, science, engineering, music, medicine, and the list goes on) starting from the era of Wodeyars who gave utmost importance to education.
There are many engineering colleges and working professional in engineering field as well.
When an engineer, Mr. H. S. Suresh Babu, passionate about theatre / acting started his career in BEML, he found like-minded folks and they got together to form a theatre group, Abhiyentararu (ಅಭಿಯಂತರು / Abhiyantaru is the Kannada word for Engineer. ಅಭಿನಯ / Abhinaya means acting in Kannada; hence the group’s name). The group grew and the founders expanded it further to offer training to engineering students and engineers interested in theatre. This group, which completed 25 successful years, celebrated silver jubilee in KalaMandira, Mysuru last week.
This festival offered an entertaining and intellectual variety of programs ranging from plays, folk arts, devotional music, to theatre / cinema topic discussions. It was indeed a feast to all connoisseurs of theatre / performing arts.
During the prep sessions of this festival, I got to interact with quite a few of this team’s members. I found the group to be very vibrant. Starting from the founder, so devoted to theatre (he himself is a fine actor), a couple (whose kids are married and settled abroad) who are so enthusiastic about acting (I watched both perform in a Kannada play, ‘Marana Mrudanga’ recently during ‘Bahuroopi’ festival), an engineering graduate who directs and coordinates team’s activities, engineering students, and working engineers / lecturers who are pursuing their hobbies along with study / work.
There is a rapper, a polyglot, a music band owner, budding directors / actors with a couple of cover songs and short films to their credit. A few folks trained by this theatre group have entered both the Small Screen and the Big Screen.
There are a couple of established / renowned theatre personalities providing their support and guidance to this group.
Passion for Theatre is the common thread that binds them together.