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
Kalarajyam, a cultural organization that has staged a number of social, historical,
and mythological plays for the past 29 years has a very good name in the theater
field. This organization is staging this play, to entertain the theater lovers
of the Hyderabad city.
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.
Like we said, the program ends with the message that prostitution is one of the major ways that spreads AIDS.
Akkineni Nageshwar Rao will felicitate B Jayalaxmi (the Chintamani role artist)
at the end of the play. B Jayalaxmi will be felicitated for her contribution to
the theater art for the past 30 years.
Please contact M Bhaskar Rao at 705-4292 for further details.