For theatre buffs in Bangalore, life does not end after watching a play at Ravindra Kalakshethra. In order to engage completely with the dramatic experience, they search for other alternatives to know more about theatre. The one that immediately comes to their mind is ‘Ee Maasa Naataka,’ a monthly Kannada magazine. Theatre activist L Krishnappa has been editing this pioneering Kannada magazine for the past 15 years.
A close associate of BV Karanth, K Marulasiddappa, MP Prakash, CG Krishnaswamy, Vijaya and TN Seetharam and many other theatre activists, Krishnappa, who took a keen interest in backroom activities when these stage greats used to perform, felt the need to bring out a magazine to cater to the needs of theatre activists. His dream came true when the first issue was published in August 1998.
“I had huge support from directors, playwrights and actors. Many of them, such as Ramachandra Deva, Na. Damodara Shetty, HS Raghavendra Rao, CG Krishnaswamy, GN Ranganatharao, Gudihalli Nagaraj, HaSaKri, HS Umesh, J Srinivasamurthy, S Malathi and others contributed to the magazine. The intention was to promote Kannada theatre and its activities.”
The magazine has many sections, including the ‘Sampaadakeeya’ (editorial). It covers almost all aspects of theatrical activities that take place in Karnataka. The editorial usually reflects the topic of the month like nominations to academies, cultural policies of the government, agriculture and culture, the need to record experiments in theatre and tributes to leading theatre activists. The ‘Prathikriye’ column has reactions from readers on articles published.
There are also interviews with personalities like Vijayamma, Mandya Ramesh and Lingadevaru Halemane on their views on Kannada theatre. The March 2013 issue has interesting articles like ‘Kuvempu natakagaluand samakaaleenathe’ (contemporariness in Kuvempu’s works) by Kaa Vem Srinivasamurthy and a translation of Girish Karnad’s article on the nation’s cultural tradition by S Malathi. The magazine usually devotes a few pages to book and play reviews. Often, the reviewers are prominent personalities from Kannada theatre.
The editor, Krishnappa, is also an actor and director in his own right, having directed plays like ‘Gaampara Gumpu,’ Kathale Belaku,’ and ‘Thiruka Raja’. He has also edited special issues of the magazine on people like Sriranga, BV Karanth, GB Joshi, Prof BC and R Nagesh. “I want the younger generation to know about these personalities and their contributions,” he says.
Krishnappa started the magazine with 16 pages; today, the number has doubled to more than 30. “Since I want more people to read the magazine, I take a subscription of Rs 250 for two years. Mine is not a business but a personal contribution to theater”, he says.
The magazine’s 15th anniversary will be celebrated at the end of this month. “I am bringing out a special issue covering all aspects of Kannada theatre written by eminent personalities in 120 pages. I want to expand the magazine by asking more people to write for it,” he says.
I came to know more about Kannada theatre after I started helping my father as an assistant editor at the magazine. I used to read each article carefully. In fact, it helped me develop a keen interest in theatre and I went on to act in plays like Ispit Rajya. I have been a part of 25 Kannada plays. Theatre became a platform for me to become an actress and a lot of credit goes to this magazine.