Chintamani is a play written by Kalakuri Narayana Rao about the social evil of
prostitution in 1920, and guess what? It's being used today to spread the message
about AIDS! Chintamani was a kind of a path-breaking play. In that age, most padyanatakas
were on mythology - Chintamani was the first on a social theme. It was about the
way that prostitution was wrecking marriages, and about how women were entering
it just because it was their kulavriththi, their family trade, even if they did
not need to or want to.
Chintamani was an example of the latter - an ardent devotee of the Lord Krishna, she is forced into prostitution by her mother Srihari. She once sees Bilvamangala, the handsome and noble son of a rich zamindar, at a temple, and falls for him. Bhavanishankar, a friend of Bilvamangala and a customer of Chintamani, lures Bilvamangala into meeting her praising her scholarliness.
Bilvamangala is indeed impressed by her knowledge, and when she answers all of his questions examining her pandityam, tells her that she can have whatever she wants of him. Sure enough, she asks him to train her in the kamasastra. He agrees, and falls firmly for her charms, neglecting his wife Radha and his ageing father.
How both Chintamani and Bilvamangala change through the interference of the Lord Himself forms the rest of the play. Bhavanishankar and Subbi Setty, another of Chintamani's customers, must repent for frequenting prostitutes by propogating the evils of the world's oldest profession, to get back their lost property.
The Sri Ganesh Kala Niketan has staged this play over 1,000 times now, in the state as well as in New Delhi, Karnataka and Tamilnadu. Rosi Reddy plays Subbi Setty, Ranga Reddy plays Bilvamangaludu and Subhashini plays Chintamani. This drama is being staged to mark the late Arivepalli Subba Rao's birthday. Subba Rao was the first person to stage Subbi Setty's role in Chintamani on stage.
Please contact Rosi Reddy, Ganesh Kalaniketan, at 409-0911 for further details.