(Last Updated on : 27-03-2012)
Acharya Atreya was a prominent actor, director and playwright in the history of Indian theatre
. He was born in the year of 1921. His ten full-length and fifteen one-act scripts helped succeeding generations of dramatists in Andhra to define, formulate, and execute the theatre of protest. This Telugu theatre personality wrote plays as a student in Nellore and Chittor but left studies to join the Quit India movement
and went to prison. Acharya Atreya was adjudged best director at the Andhra Nataka Kala Parishath's first competition, for a production of Kondamudi Gopalaraya Sarma's Eduritha i.e. "Swimming against the Current" in 1945.
Career in Theatre for Acharya Atreya
Acharya Atreya's first extant play i.e. his earliest works, Santi and Dr Kotnis, are lost, this supposedly inspired by Bernard Shaw's "The Adventures of a Black Girl in Her Search for God", which has as its theme Gautama becoming the Buddha after a long search for a new world order. The next play, Ashok Samrat i.e. "Emperor Asoka" in 1944, shows the warmongering Asoka forced to realize the worth of peace, a recurring theme in Atreya.
Parivartana i.e. "Change" in 1945 is on capitalistic exploitation of both physical and mental labour. Two political satires followed as Vastavam i.e. 'Reality' in 1946 and Inadu i.e. 'This Day' in 1947. These two projected the nature of the new brand of politicians and the Hindu-Muslim conflict respectively. His trend-setting next play, N.G.O. in 1948, introduced protest drama in Telugu language
with an angry young man as the hero. Among later important works Viswasanti i.e. 'World Peace' in 1951, on the capitalist exploiters who invite war, Kappalu i.e. 'Frogs' in 1953, on people flocking where riches abound and Bhayam i.e. "Fear" in 1954, on the fear complex in people, achieved great success on stage. Atreya's one-act scripts, like Yevaru donga i.e. 'Who's the Thief?" in 1951, are also protest plays of great theatrical intensity. In later years, Acharya Atreya attained eminence as a composer of lyrics and scenarios for Telugu cinema, starting with the melodramatic Samsaram i.e. 'Household' in 1950 and Nirdoshi i.e. 'Innocent' in 1951, then adapting N. G. O. into Gumasta i.e. 'Clerk' in 1953, and scripting the devotional hits, Sri Venkateshwara mahatyam i.e. Balaji in 1960 and Chakradhari in 1977.
This legendary Telugu theatre personality died in the year of 1989.