Ascharya Choodamani Ascharya Choodamani
May 24, 2023

Shaktibhadrakavi's "Ashcharya Chudamani" is a unique play with a sensitive touch, though it is based on the Sanskrit drama Ramayana.

This Shaktibhadra poet is from Kerala and dates back to around 8th or 9th century.

The language of this work is poetic and sonorous. It was beautifully and equally competently captured in Kannada by a friend, Venkataramana Aithal.

Beginning with Panchavati’s Surpanakha story of Ramayana and ending with Sita's entrance into the fire, the poet skilfully tells the story through the elaboration of some rasaghatta situations.

Maricha becomes golden Deer by the force of Ravana, to deceive Rama, Lakshaman, and uses Rama's disguise!

Ravana disguised as Rama to kidnap Sita!

Surpanike disguises herself as Sita to deceive Rama and goes to Rama.

Also, Ravana's charioteer, against to his nature, disguises himself as Lakshmana and assists Ravana in kidnapping Sita!

Lord Rama sends a message to Ravana, that Ravana who has lost his identity, has cheated not Rama, not Sita, but his widowed queens in Antapura.

In this drama of disguise, the Sita and Rama gets confused as to who is the real Rama and Sita. What a dangerous tendency to use innocence as a weapon for deceitful politics!

Rama killed Ravana in the war and crowning to Vibhishana, "Awareness should be established in Kanaka Lanka of Paulustya, all the possessions of King’s, who do not meet the needs of the people, are all fake things used by actors" is like a mirror to our times.

Lakshmana and Sugriva by decorating Sita and brought her in the chariot with joy and moving the people who were obstructing the way, Rama commanded, "There is no need to move the people from the way, let the daughter of Mithila get down from the chariot and walk among the people by herself."

All the male forms behaved strangely to Sita, who was eager to join Rama. When Sita, who was in the midst of demons, was ready to test her chastity, experienced humiliation and mental torture that could not be done even in the midst of demons, challenged the pride of men saying, "Would a woman's body can be purified other than fire?", and went into the fire herself.

This drama with characters and events that come face to face with emotions such as moral consciousness, insistence on power, convulsions of love, impulse of lust, harshness of ethics, etc., gives a unique experience.

In this deception, the shrewd Sri Rama, who behaves with human nature, also lost to Golden Deer?

Who knows that "Golden Deer" is an absurd trick and does not get behind it? The unhappiness is where the world is moving towards, this world is a reflection of the magical world around us.

The creative work of making a play on the stage is like a collective worship, where no one is more and no one is less.

Performing a play in a National Drama School of Drama Bengaluru Centre with multi-lingual students, especially in Kannada, is a big challenge. The approach of the students who participated in the learning process with great diligence and sincerity is to be admired.

A heartfelt gratitude to all my dear friends and colleagues who have worked with me, National School of Drama, Bangalore and Director Mrs. Veena Sharma for bringing us all together.