(Last Updated on : 08/05/2012)
A.V. Varadachar was a powerful actor and a playwright of the modern Kannada theatre
. He made seminal contributions to popularizing the Company Nataka
idiom. His work as a pioneering actor is especially significant, as he invented a novel style later adopted and developed by others.
Early Life of A. V. Varadachar
A. V. Varadachar was born into a family of Brahman civil servants in 1869. He did not have a background in theatre, except for some training in music. However, A. V. Varadachar possessed an attractive physique and good voice, which led him to act in plays during the 1880s in Bengaluru
. At that place the first professional Kannada Company had recently come up under palace patronage. Soon other companies sprang up in Mysore, inspired by and competing with the royal company. In one of these, A. V. Varadachar began his professional career in 1889.
Life in Theatre for A. V. Varadachar
A. V. Varadachar established his own troupe, Ratnavali Theatrical Company
, in 1904. For the next twenty years it mounted important productions like Ratnavali, Nirupama, and Manmatha vijaya. Initially all of them won supportive audiences. After that the troupe travelled within and outside the Indian state
. However, unlike Gubbi Veeranna
, A. V. Varadachar was more an actor than an entrepreneur; therefore his company could not consolidate its support to sustain itself and, by 1920, started losing money. Attempts to reinvigorate it failed and it finally closed down in 1923. A. V. Varadachar died; shattered by his unfulfilled dreams, but the fact that actors had started emulating him even before his death justifies the title conferred on him, "Natakasiromani", i.e. 'Crest-jewel of Drama'.
A. V. Varadachar's innovations had a lasting effect on Kannada theatre
. He integrated clowning into the main body of the performance and singing into the craft of acting, as he was a gifted vocalist himself. His finest contribution was to bring conflict into the prevailing stereotyped mode of acting. A. V. Varadachar introduced psychology into characterization, exploring the tensions within each character that he performed. His renderings of Hiranyakasipu, Harishchandra
, and Dushyanta in which, at critical moments he wavered between emotions, creating psychologically nuanced personalities brings out his talent. Consequently, A. V. Varadachar marks the turning point where modernism enters Kannada acting.
A. V. Varadachar died in 1926