His voice almost reaches the sky, and travels through all the twirls and twists
required to create a mood or establish the focus of a play, all at once. Sure
enough, the felicitation of Vemuri Shyama Sunder Rao as the last of the programs
of Kalarajyam's three-day festival of music, dance and theater was widely applauded.
Titled "Madhura Pauranika Padhya Gayakudu" for practicing the 120-year-old tradition
of 'Padhya Natakas' (plays with elaborate musical phrases and verses, dialogues
and character portrayals), this artist is one of a rare kind.
And on the occasion, it was only fit that he chose to render the dramatic musical Sri Krishna Rayabaramu, which anchors a political plot of the Mahabharatha. The artist, in the lead role of Krishna, acts as a catalyst in the melodrama where Duryodhana rebuffs the Pandava brothers despite the very Krishna being the mediator. A host of supporting characters recreated this intense plot on stage for an engrossed audience.
"Though these are the oldest forms of theater based on mythology, they have an ever enticing charm. And it is a mistake to think that these are dying art forms, especially when artists like Shyam Sunder are surviving only to keep the art aglow," says Boina Venkateswara Rao, Director of the Cultural Department, who felicitated the artist.