Dr. Vasudev Singh M.A., MLPhiL, Ph.D., is scholar of out
standing merit throughout his career. He was awarded
Gold Medal for his Doctorate research work and also
awarded Senior research fellowship from Ministry of
Culture, Government of India. His present occupation is
Choreography. He present many research paper in
National and International seminars. Many of his articles
on Arts were published in different Journals and
Magazines. Scholastic View of Compiling Arts lead to
Dravidian University was established in 1997 to mirror the real
and rich picture of Dravidian culture not only in its linguistic, litracy,culture
and philosophical faces but in science and technological angles also.
The sprit of integration is the guiding force behind the creation of
the University. The linguistic and cultural integration, not only at the
regional but also at the national level is the cherished objective of the
The Government of Andhra Pradesh started Dravidian University,
with the co-operation of the sister states, to reach and research and
reflect on the inherent oneness of the cultures of Dravidian family of the
four States whose languages number up to 27. Its endeavour 1s to
promote unity and amity in the family of several languages. The main
objectives of Dravidian University are to augment the common weal
and social well being of the communities of marginal languages and to
built bridges among the Southern states. While working on each language
separately in varied areas, it aims at synthesis and a discovery of the
common heritage through Comparative Studies.
The street plays of Kangundi Kuppam, locally popular as Aata
have a special place and identity in the Telugu Folk Arts. The 18 parvas
of Mahabharata are being performed in this region at the rate of one
each a day. It is not just entertaining but has gradually gained the status
of a tradition. These plays are enacted with devotion besides
entertainment. The striking aspect is the division of the plays into 18
acts just as 18 parvas of the epic.
These plays are not just limited to performance and pleasure.
They imbibe many customs and traditions of the region in performance.
Due to this reason only, they are traditionally performed and have
become popular. Also, these plays are performed differently from other
plays. This kind of beliefs make the people identify themselves with the
characters of the play. For these people, it is not just an art, a tradition
but a part of their life without which they forget their own identity.
This book is the best example that covers all the aspects ofactions
given by Bharata and other pandits. The author is to be praised for the
research study he made on the Street Plays of Kangundi Kuppam linking
with apt discussions given by the critics and pandits. Bharata, though
framed a technical wheel for arts, he never ignored the value of worldly
affairs which did have a place in his technical study. Kangundi Kuppam
Street Plays are not an exemption to his technicalities.
Today, many attractive visual media have come into existence.
In this current, there is every danger to traditional and hereditary aspects
like these plays. In this crucial time, doing research on these aspects in
a great effort. To a study like this, interest, enthusiasm and ambition are
essentials. Vasudev Singh has all these qualities and so the study has
gained success. This study brings a recognition to the local arts and the
credit of bringing this recognition is with the author, Dr. Vasudev Singh
to whom I extend my heart felt wishes.
To facilitate the Kannada readers to know of these plays,
Dr.Akrasali Rushabendrachar translated this great work into Kannada.
Further, to show the greatness of Telugu specially the tradition of the
Kangundi plays to the world, Dr. Paradarami Kusuma Harinath has
made its English Translation. I thank them on behalf of Dravidian
Folk play is considered as the most prominent art form among
all folk art forms. Among all folk arts folk play is given a special and
noble place. Drama is a collective art form is the word of elders. Ina
folk play it is possible to see life of the folk besides music and dance. It
has no rules and regulations. It has unlimited freedom with a message
and entertainment. These are basically called Street Bhagavatas, Street
Plays and Yakshaganas. Depending on the story, caste of the artists,
place and performance style these plays are popular with different names.
The present research aspect, the folk play of Chittoor district is called
by scholars as Street Play of Kangundi Kuppam but locally it is popular
as Aata (play) and Bharatam Aata (Bharatam play). When compared
this Kangundi Kuppam play with other plays it has certain credentials.
No other drama tradition has the practice of performing Mahabharata
as 18 plays. Usually art forms, due to the change of times go beyond
the traditional scope and become entertainment oriented but in the case
of Kangundi Kuppam play it has a reverse way. They are at the beginning
entertainment oriented and later has become a part of the tradition.At
the beginning these plays are limited to the artists of Kangundi but later
on ithas spread to the entire district and due to the influence of Bharatam
. Kangundi art has gained the impression that it isa Bharata play. Today
these artists , though reside in the vicinity of Kuppam like Kothaindlu
and Animiganipalle , act as teachers and grand teachers to the members
of the drama troupes in the entire district. Also in every troupe there is
the representation of Kangundi artists. Just like the way Kuchipudi
dance gained reputation all over the world which was related to
Kuchipudi Agrahara village once, Kangundi tradition became a name
for Bharata plays all over the Chittoor district. The talent of these
artists is appreciable for their performance of it with limited artists and
sources. Observing this entertaining play in the context of scientific way
becomes the technical study which is the scope of this research. The
research has consulted the sastras of stylists like Bharata and explains,
the performances coordinating the technical and worldly aspects. Due
to this research the technicalities in folk plays and world stance in sastras
are understood besides getting an opportunity to know various aspects
of daily life. With this motive, field trip as the main source places like
Veduru Kuppam, Pachikapallam, Jakkadona, Karvetinagaram etc in
Chittoor district are visited at the time of Bharata festivals. As a part of
the field trip interviews are conducted with the artists and the local
people and special scenes are witnessed at the time of the performances
of the play. Video recording of the performance aspects of three drama
troupes is also made. Among these troupes the main troupe consists of
artists like Kuppam Ramachandraiah, his brother in-law Narayana
Swamy, his son Neerajakshulu, his disciple Mohan Naidu etc played
performance is mainly considered. Besides this, other troupes
performances are observed and for the research convenience the whole
matter is divided into 5 chapters and incorporated photographs
wherever possible and relevant.
The first chapter deals with the origin of the Street Plays of
Kangundi Kuppam method of performance, the divisions of folklore
knowledge, folk arts, touching folkskits that give birth to Skits (rupakas).
The theories of Skit origin are also presented. The existence of Kangundi
Kuppam play, the history of Kangundi zamindars and the origin and
growth of street plays are observed. The important performances with
the entry of characters are discussed besides explaining the traditional
scenes of Kangundi Kuppam Street Plays such as Bandi kumbham
(cartload food), Thapassu (meditation), Gograhana the slaying Ilavantha
and Duryodhana are considered.
The second chapter deals with Bodily Expressions with an
introduction on the related aspects such as Hand expressions, Positions
and movements. Various aspects of the street plays of Kangundi
Kuppam such as flag, Karatharimukha, Musti, Sikhara, Suchimukha,
Padmakosa, Sarpasira, Alapallava, Chaturahastha etc are discussed in
view of stylists like Bharata and of worldly vision.
The third chapter discusses linguistic expressions with
modulations, figures of speech and other variations of speech. The fourth
chapter Reactionary Expressions deal the psychological states of the
poet and the spectator discussing the aspects such as the themes, artists
and scope of the audience in Kangundi Kuppam plays. Rasas like the
erotic, the comic, the pathetic, the furious, and the heroic are discussed
in relation with Kangundi Kuppam plays.
The fifth chapter discuses the appearance and action variations
in the plays of Kangundi Kuppam Ornament decoration, Head
decoration etc are discussed.
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