Most of the younger generation knows him as Nagarjuna. Actually, most of the younger generation does not know him. Kinnera's attempts, then.
On the occasion of its 29th anniversary, Kinnera Art Theatres is organising 29 days of Telugu stage dramas from different parts of the state, at Sri Thyagaraya Gana Sabha, from 9th November to 7th December. As part of the celebrations, Bhakta Ramadasu is being staged today.
Bhakta Ramadas was born in 1620 AD at Nelakondapalli, and was initially known by the name of Kancherla Gopanna. He later came to be known as Bhadrachala Ramadas, because of his efforts in constructing the temple of Rama at Bhadrachalam, a small village on the northern banks of the holy river Godavari.
The story starts when Ramadas was the Tehsildhar of Bhadragiri, under king Tanisha of Golconda. Falling short of funds for the completion of the temple for Lord Rama, he utilises the tax collections from the treasury, vowing to return it back.
This infuriates Tanisha, who orders for the arrest of Ramadas for channelling the state collections. He is tortured in prison and asked to accept the fact that he had stolen money from the treasury, which he refutes.
From the prison, he cries out for Rama and reminds him of his services, in highly popular songs. These words finally move Rama, who along with Lakshmana descends on earth in the form of mortals, pays back all the amount and gets Ramadas' release papers.
The golden coins paid by Sri Rama are known as Rama Tanka coins. They can be seen even today. These coins had the Pattabhishekam scene on one side and the picture of another Rama Bhaktha, Anjaneya, on the other.
Tanisha immediately releases Ramadas and offers his apologies, and gives him land around Bhadrachalam to continue his dedicated service to Bhadrachala Ramamurthy. Here Ramadas spent the rest of his life and composed many keerthanas, that later on inspired the Saint Thyagaraja.
The drama is being directed by Ponnala Ramasubba Reddy and presented by Sri Ramakrishna Natya Mandali, Nellore.
Kinnera Art Theatres was started in 1977 and has since organised various programs, including musical nites, classical dances/vocals, felicitations and releases of books. It has served as a platform for many upcoming artistes, and at the same time provided the necessary recognition and appreciation for the established ones. Dr R Prabhakar Rao, IPS, is the chairman of the association, while M Raghuram is its dedicated secretary.
Please contact M Raghuram of Kinnera Art Theatres at 98660-57777 for further details.