(Last Updated on : 23/07/2009)
Santakavi is the popular name of Balacharya Gopalacharya Sakkari. He was a Kannada dramatist and a famous poet. More than their literary or artistic merit, his plays, poems, and other writings had historical importance in moulding modern Kannada culture. He was born in Satenahalli, Dharwad district in 1856. Santakavi worked for about forty years as a schoolteacher in several places. He was the 'drama-master' in Sri Viranarayana Prasadita Kritapura Nataka Mandali.
This was the first professional theatre group of northern Karnataka that was established to oppose the onslaught of Parsi companies. He attempted to modernize Kannada theatre
along their lines, especially with respect to costumes and stage settings. He founded the Karnataka Nataka Company in 1873 and for over two decades staged drama written by him all over the state. In his thirty-five plays, some of the popular can be mentioned as Ushabarana or 'Usha's Abduction', Kichaka, Banasura, and Vatsalabamna i.e. 'Vatsaizs Abduction'. He evolved a model mingling folk traditions with classical Sanskrit theatre. His experiments helped backward northern Karnataka develop self-confidence in its native culture. Santakavi died in 1920.
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