Noted Kannada theatre personality R Nagarathnamma died on Saturday night after brief illness. She was 86. The veteran artiste, hailing from Mysore, was the proprietor of the Stree Nataka Mandali from 1958. The mandali, under her stewardship, was the only such group to last the longest in the state.
Nagarathnamma was particularly popular for her portrayal of mythological male characters like Kamsa, Bheema and Duryodhana on stage. Under her, the Kannada theatre gained new heights with women coming to the fore adorning costumes to play the roles of men. This was unconventional in a society in which men were playing women’s roles.
Nagarathnamma was honoured with the Padmasri and Tagore Ratna Awards in recognition of her service to Kannada theatre. She is survived by a son, two daughters.