Play along

Sometimes it takes dramatic steps to project dramatic stories.
Play along

BENGALURU : Last week, Vidyarthi Bhavan created a buzz after their ‘coming soon to Malleswaram’ announcement. Turns out, it was a gimmick to pull crowds towards Chowdiah Hall where they will stage a play which documents the story of Basavanagudi

Sometimes it takes dramatic steps to project dramatic stories. And Basavanagudi’s Vidyarthi Bhavan (VB) is not just good at serving some lip smacking benne masala dosae, but also some melodrama. Last Friday, VB announced on social media that they would be ‘coming soon to Malleswaram’ and food-lovers naturally assumed that a branch was underway in the area. It created a verbattle on social media among those who believed that CTR, Veena Stores and VB would be at loggerheads in Malleswaram.

However, all roads still lead to Malleswaram with the VB team announcing that they will be staging Vidyarthi Bhavana at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

Done in collaboration with Bengaluru Theatre Foundation, the play will chronicle the stories of Basavanagudi and the incidents that shaped VB. The 90-minute performance, directed by Arjun Kabbina and scripted by Rajendra Karanth, is an attempt to represent the cultural corridors of Basavanagudi through the prism of VB. The artistes include Sihi Kahi Chandru, Sundar Veena, Pavan Kulkarni.

Arun Adiga, managing partner, VB says, “VB is an emotion. So far, we have seen food lovers comment about the dosae that we have been serving. Now, it is time for the dosae to speak up and tell its stories and give an account of the incidents it witnessed in these seven decades. This is our second such attempt in theatre after Gama Gama Bhavana which was about renowned personalities of Bengaluru in the social scene and their discussions in the contemporary world,” says Adiga, who categorically adds that VB has no intention to open any new branch in Bengaluru as of now.

Kabbina, a theatre artiste, who grew up in Gandhi Bazaar, quit his teaching job ahead of the pandemic, only to later be jolted by the lockdown. This was the trigger for Kabinna to support the theatre fraternity and also pay tribute to the cultural heritage of Basavanagudi through a play. “Gandhi Bazaar is like my mother and VB is like a temple to me. The lockdown shattered the lives of the theatre artistes. That is when I decided to seize the opportunity to chronicle the memories of Basavanagudi and the incidents that shaped VB,” says Kabinna. From stories of poets like KS Nisar Ahmed to music composer C Ashwath, the play will embody a lot of personalities from different walks of life who added to the cultural value of Bengaluru.

Over the last six months, certain artistes also visited the major cultural landmarks of Basavanagudi to understand the place in depth. The play will also feature the time when Infosys founder Narayana Murthy visited VB and spoke about the importance of preserving such spots; as well as poet Gopalkrishna Adiga’s visit to VB.

(Vidyarthi Bhavana will be staged at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Malleswaram on May 6,7,and 8. For tickets, visit

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The New Indian Express