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Janapadam - A Modern Drama

Janapadam - A Modern Drama is an event that took place between 20-Oct-2000 and 21-Oct-2000 in Hyderabad.
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"To add my own blend of intense spirituality (Adhyatma in the Upanishadic sense, of the unrighteous king), social actions (again of the unrighteous kind) and just the practice of theater as a social action are themselves a demanding aesthetic process and spiritual probing. Yes, I am full of contradictions, ambiguities, and ambivalence. So is this play, the world and life. We try orchestrating all that into deep, truthful harmony on board- 'Mattibandi'", voices S Raghunandana, the director of Mritchakatika.

'Good Guys Die, Too' is the message that is sought to be conveyed through this modified rendering of Mritchakatikam, which will show the problem of love, revolution and renunciation in the play through a directorial soliloquy.

The text is endlessly rich, fascinating and deceptively romanticized. Charudatha, the hero, is generally played as ineffectual, a romantic weakling. In most productions he is seen as an unwitting bewildered martyr. But this thin Dheera Shanta Nayaka is actually a friend of a rebel leader and a cowherd Aryaka. Charudatha remains silent in court mainly to protect Aryaka, and not merely out of love for Vasantasena. In this rendering, Charudatha is played as a strong, warm, generous, courageous and sensitive hero.

"The bottomline in this production is that Charudatha dies - he's beheaded. Good guys also sometimes, actually many times, die! So that the great cosmic play may go on, they sacrifice themselves. Here, too, Vasantasena renounces the world. But the cosmic play goes on. So also the Mritchakatikam will live on…," says the director of the changes in the script through his reinterpretations.

Janapadam is a company of semi-urban actors and a family of not very literate actors belonging to the Chindu Bhagotham, the Dalit Theater tradition of Andhra Pradesh. None of them has any exposure to modern theater; many of them have no exposure to any kind of theater at all. And to 'do' the Mritchakatikam as their first production, as part of their training in the basics of modern theater, is a challenge.

Raghunandana, a Kannadiga, is a leading stage director and theater guru of national repute. He is also a poet and playwright in Kannada.


The Janapadam Nataka Repertory claims to be the only modern theater repertory in Andhra Pradesh. It performs plays and has been working with different communities and castes through theater for the last 15 years. Janapadam not only stages plays in modern theatrical techniques but also presents reinterpretations of themes and changes stereotypical endings. And this modified rendering of Mritchakatikam is well in tune with it's philosophy of presenting modern interpretations of plays using tribal performers.

Janapadam has now staged over 50 plays throughout the state, which include major productions like 'Vooregimpu', 'Donga Sattayya', 'Movonate Mavoraj', 'Adijamba Puranam', 'Kallu', 'Yedi Mane Dalyade' and 'Jagannadha Ratha Chakralu'. Currently, Janapadam is working under IFA's Art Collaboration Programs, collaborating with the 'Chindu Bhagotham' group, and with the association of Kuchipudi dancer Aruna Bhikshu.

Denchalana Srinivas, the chief functionary and director of the Janapadam Repertory, received his theater training under the renowned theatrical personality Habib Tanvir. His directorial work includes adaptations and plays written by himself. He has also worked with the Gond, Lambada, and Chenchu tribes. He has directed as many as 50 plays, and has written four full-length plays, apart from publishing a poetry collection titled 'Guri Tappina Padhyam'.
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