BENGALURU: Two scholars from Bengaluru visit Gangadhara Shasana or 10th century Jain poet Pampa’s gravestone in the hope of discovering how he died. They are harassed by fundamentalist rowdies who prevent them from visiting the stone in the name of protecting Sanathana Dharma...
This is the starting point of the play Pampa Bharatha, which is happening on Jan. 9 at Ranga Shankara. City-based theatre group Samudaya Bengaluru is doing its 105th show of the play, which tries to explore Vikramaarjuna Vijaya, which is the Kannada version of the Mahabharatha, written by the 10th century Jain poet Pampa. “We usually draw morals from two epics, Mahabharatha and Ramayana.
But there is a positive and negative side to every story. So the play also draws parallels to the injustice that is happening in current times,” explains Keerthy Thondagere, vice president of the 45-year-old theatre group, who is also playing the lead character of Pampa. The play has 15 other characters, some of whom like Karna, come back as spirits to question Pampa of his fate.
Through this retelling of the epic, the play explores and introspects what we have all come to know as history today. The play, which has been directed by Pramod Shiggaon, was performed in 2004 for the first time, as one of the inaugural shows for Ranga Shankara. The troupe is now performing the show again on the stage of Ranga Shankara, which is reopening after the pandemic started.
“After our first show, we had done a couple of shows but discontinued it. We then restarted the show from 2012 onwards. Now when Ranga Shankara is reopening, we are just happy to be performing the play again,” says Thondagere.
Pampa Bharatha will be performed on Jan 9 at Ranga Shankara, at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.