(Last Updated on : 05/04/2012)
Influence of regional languages on Kannada theatre has had a profound effect on this form of art. When the other regional theatres in India were in full flow, Kannada theatre derived a great deal from Sanskrit language
, Telugu language
, Marathi language
and Bengali language
Influence of Sanskrit on Kannada Theatre
has highly inspired Kannada theatre. It has also been motivated by the Marathi and Parse troupes that travelled to Karnataka. Early Kannada theatre
has taken a lot of material from Sanskrit scripts. Playwrights wrote plays based on stories written in Sanskrit language. The Stage was gaining both stability and popularity because of translations of Sanskrit plays by Rajwade, Krishnasastri Chipalunkar, Lele and others. The Court stage of Karnataka had the influence of Sanskrit theatre
even in the times of Chicka Devaraj Wodeyar. One could be sure of the merit of the play with regard to its dramatic element, literary merit and scope for production. The popular taste would be well served as the theme of the play was invariably mythological. It had a beautiful blending of poetry and prose, providing ample scope for music and acting. Sanskrit drama, thus, looked ideal from all points of view, particularly at the hour of need.
Influence of Marathi on Kannada Theatre
Initially Kannada theatre was highly influenced by Sanskrit language. Lots of plays were translated to Kannada from Sanskrit. Apart from Sanskrit, professional stage drew its inspiration from Marathi language
and Marathi literature
. Playwrights like Gadakari, Khadilkar, Kolhatkar and Deval with their prolific and merited contributions had placed the Marathi stage on a solid and lofty bed-rock. Karnataka which had a closer relation with Maharashtra
freely drew on the Marathi drama
and translated almost every well known play into Kannada.
Apart from the literature, Kannada theatre also learned from the styles of make-up, set designs and costumes from Marathi theatre.
Influence of Telugu on Kannada Theatre
The Telugu theatre
, after its entry into professional theatre, steadily built up its dramatic literature on account of writings of popular playwrights like Gurujada Apparao, Kundkur Veeresha Lingam Pantulu, D. Krishnama-charlu, D. Gopalacharlu, Vaddadi Subbarayalu and Vedam Venkataraya Sastri. Veeresha Lingam Pantulu was translated into Kannada by Nanjangud Srikanta Sastri. He translated about twenty plays from Telugu. Prominent among them are Bala Bharya Vriddha Bhartr Prahasana, Mahabadhira Prahasana, Moodha Bharya Chatura Bhartr Prahasana and Vismaya Yivaha. Telugu language
inspired Kannada theatre in a major way.
Influence of Bengali on Kannada Theatre
Over the great part of nineteenth century, Bengali literature
grew by leaps and bounds. Many new theatre personalities came to the fore like Girish Ghosh
, Dinbandhu Mitra, Dwijendralal Roy
. And playwrights like Michael Madhusudhana Dutt
and Rabindranath Tagore
also contributed greatly to Bengali theatre
. Rabindranath Tahore as a dramatist
has had a profound impact in the minds of Bengalis and people of other cultures. Kannada playwrights were inspired greatly from the creation of these theatre personalities from West Bengal
. And some of the Bengali plays
were also translated into Kannada language.
Influence of English on Kannada Theatre
English language in India
has played a great role towards inspiring regional theatres in the country. In 1882, the Maharaja Chamarajendra Wodeyar expressed a desire, that the popular plays from other languages also, particularly from English, be translated into Kannada. Highly educated men like A. Anandarao, C. Subba Rao, Basavappa Shastri and Jayarayacharya set themselves to translate into Kannada, the well known plays of William Shakespeare. M. L. Srikantagowda was one of the first and foremost men to translate Shakespeare. The best known of his translations are of Macbeth (Pratapa Rudradeva) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Pramilarjuniya). The prominent among other renderings of English plays into Kannada is Birugali, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Tempest by K. V. Puttappa. Others deserving mention here are Vicharane an adaptation by Devudu of Trial of Jesus of John Masefield, Savina Samasye, a rendering of Twice is too much, done by Vembar Venkatacharya, Sootrada Bombe an effective rendering by S. G. Shastry of Ibsen's A Doll's House and Asadhabhooti a beautiful adaptation by A. N. Moorthy Rao of Molier's Tartuffe.