Early Life of Handiganur Siddharamappa
Even as a boy, Handiganur was attracted to the stage. He took to it with a great steadfastness and stuck to it even in the darkest and disillusioning circumstances. He started his stage career at the age of ten, playing female roles and made a name because of the rare naturalness of acting and a resonant musical voice. He worked with different professional troupes for about twenty years before starting his own troupe by name Vishvakala Ranjana Nataka Samsthe in the year 1938-39. Though with scanty stage equipment, his troupe thrived for about eight years and earned a very good name but it failed to earn good money. The entire attraction for the public was Siddharamappa himself. His thunderous voice, calculated emphasis on words and a becoming gait made his portrayal of Banasura and Ravana - a household word in North Karnataka. The role of Krishna in Akshayambara provided considerable scope for his talent. He gave an individual touch to the complex character of the scheming Krishna.
Life in Theatre for Handiganur Siddharamappa
Though destined to a short life, his career was obviously as glittering as that of Mohammad Peer, for, he filled the stage literally with his towering personality, royal demeanour and resounding voice. He specialised in interpreting lofty mythological characters like Krishna (in the play, Aksayambara), Banasura (in Usha Swayamvara), Harischandra and Bhisma. These roles came to be associated with his name, and even prompted the critic to hit a note of exaggeration saying that he stood alone without equals in portraying such lofty characters. It must be reckoned with, however, that he did show the same genius of Varadachar in entering into the very soul of the role he was playing, and besides, he was also capable of portraying roles of very different types with equal success.
Later, Handiganur is said to have been at his climax in the role of Bhisma1 in the play Uttara Bhoopa and that of Kama in the play Draupadi. In the former, he portrayed the internal conflict of Bhisma and virtually recreated him, in all his ripe glory. His Kama is also widely remembered for the magnificent impression it created. Handignur also rendered his individualistic touch to the role of Karna.
Later Life of Handiganur Siddharamappa
Chandrahasa predicted a great future for him on the screen; but those who knew him intimately declared that he would never give up the stage for the screen. Handiganur, like the later well known actor Madhvaraja Umarji held out great hopes for the Karnataka stage theatre, but died all too suddenly in 1947 rendering a great loss to it. Those who saw his performance as the villainous Dustabuddhi in the screen play His untimely demise took away glamour from the stage and a hope of the screen; with him went out another light which brightened the stage of North Karnataka.
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