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'Chintamani' - A Drama By Sri Ganesh Kalaniketan

'Chintamani' - A Drama By Sri Ganesh Kalaniketan is an event that took place on 26-Jun-2001 in Hyderabad.
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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 marraiges, 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, like you may have guessed, 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, he 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 a 1000 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. Like we said, the program ends with the message that prostitution is one of the major ways that spreads AIDS.

On the event of the 74th anniversary celebrations of Chintamani's writer, Kalakuri Narayana Rao, this play is being staged again. Please contact Rosi Reddy, Ganesh Kalaniketan, at 409-0911 for further details.

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