BENGALURU: It has been more than three decades I have seen Chandrahas growing as a Yakshagana artiste and as a fine human being. Thanks to his roles in villain roles he was successful in filling the void that was created after the demise of Chittani Ramachandra Hegde a year ago. His roles of ‘Magadha’ in Jarasanda Vadhe, ‘Kichaka’ in Kichaka Vadhe and ‘Kaurava’ from Gadhayuddha play have won the hearts of people and other Yakshagana artistes. He resembled Chittani when he played the negative roles.
Shockingly he died while performing the famous play - Bheeshma Vijaya - on Sunday night. I was performing right in front of him when the incident happened. On the fateful night along with me, son of Chandrahas, Pradeep Yaji was also present at Yakshagana. In 1980s I witnessed the death of Yakshagana artiste Shiriyara Manju Naik who died while performing on the stage in Manipal. Coincidentally, the same
play - Bheeshma Vijaya - was being staged.
Pradeep recalled how Chandrahas used to wish for death while performing. Chandrahas often told his son that he always wished to die while performing Yakshagana. In his words in ‘Rangabhoomi’ despite other family members taking an objection to his wish. Bhishma was the last word he uttered before fell and died. Bhishma was known as ‘Iccha Marani’ (self willed death) in Mahabharatha and it happened with Chandrahas as well.
He was an enthusiastic artiste and had respect for seniors. He loved his junior artistes and had helped a number of artistes morally and even financially. He also ensured others contribute for the welfare of Yakshagana artistes. As Gram Panchayat president, Chandrahas was keen on helping people in the village. In his own capacity, he used to help people and suggest them about welfare schemes.
We have lost a great human being and a talented Yakshagana artiste. His family was always supportive to his endeavours and had respect for all Yakshagana artistes.
(The author is a noted Yakshagana artiste from Kumta and was playing the role of Bhishma at Yakshagana where Chandrahas collapsed and died)
As told to Amit S Upadhye