(Last Updated on : 09-04-2012)
Chaya Artists of Bengaluru
mark an era in the Amateur dramatic movement. The troupe blossomed out of the dramatic traditions fostered by the "Old Boys Association" of the National School of Bengaluru and the Malleswaram Dramatic Association. The two wings joined together in 1937 under the name Karnataka Hindi Amateurs and made an extensive effort to popularise Hindi language
and also to provide good dramatic entertainment to a little circle of friends and families. In 1943, the troupe assumed the title "Chaya Artists" under the leadership of the talented and enthusiastic B. S. Venkatram and his brothers.
Soon, Chaya Artists became the leading amateur troupe of Mysore
, with a band of excellent artists including K. Gururaja kao, A. Rama Rao Murthy among others. It earned an enviable reputation for itself staging the plays of T.P. Kailasam
. In later years it put on boards the social plays of Parvatavani, one of the leading writers for the amateur stage. Its performances of Bahaddur Ganda and Undadi Gunda became a byword for the best in the amateur stage. It may be mentioned that this is the only amateur unit which staged 120 consecutive shows in Bengaluru of Parvatavani's Bahaddur Ganda to capacity houses.
The troupe was hailed as "the best of talented amateurs in the field of theatrical art", and became an effective training ground for young and enthusiastic aspirants and travelled extensively in the Mysore, making available the proceeds of its performances to various deserving causes. Though rather inactive in recent years, the Chaya Artists can be proud of their lasting contribution to the Kannada theatre
Mention may also be made of the Varadachar Memorial Association which began in 1924 at the initiative of some disciples and admirers of A. V. Varadachar
. It undertook an extensive tour in the state of Karnataka in order to collect funds for the establishment of a theatre in Bengaluru in memory of the great dramatic genius. The troupe was headed by Kanakalaxamamma and R. Nagendra Rao. The plays were professional in nature but the spirit was typical of the amateurs. The Association visited Mumbai
and other distant Indian cities
and collected money. It is now reported that the aim of founding the Varadachar Memorial Theatre is being pursued. The United Artists of Bengaluru under the leadership of C. K. Nagarajrao and Chi Sadashivaiah have proved to be a very impressive amateur troupe particularly with their impromptu plays. Ravi Artists have made significant progress. The Sugar Town Amateurs of Mandya has a number of talented artists as revealed by their performances of Undadi Gunda, Viparyasa, Asadhabhuti, Bhakta Damaji Pant, and Daulat. This troupe has inspired amateur dramatic associations of workers in factories, the prominent among them being the Amateurs of the Krishnarajendra Mills, Mysore.