Mangaluru, Sept 23, 2018: Well-known theatre artiste, Gamaka poet and writer Bendaravadi Subrahmanya Sharma passed away in Mangaluru on Saturday (22 Sept.). He was 84.
Born on 11th April 1934, Bendaravadi Subrahmanya Sharma was an accomplished litterateur, having devoted his lifetime to literary, artistic and intellectual pursuits.
A seasoned theatre artiste, singer and scholar, Bendaravadi Subrahmanya Sharma had continuously given more than 16,000 programmes over the last 60 years in various schools, colleges and educational institutions and earned the love of innumerable children, who fondly called him ‘Subbajja’.
His father Srikanta Sharma was a renowned astrologer-scholar (Jyothishya vidwan) in the royal court of Mysore palace. His mother was Srimathi Parvathamma. After the demise of his parents he took to theatre and joined a drama accompany to perform as an actor and singer. Over the next 13 years, he served as a playwright, actor, singer, director and even the owner of a drama company.
Having trained under the tutelage of drama companies of renowned theatre personalities like Gubbi Veeranna and Subbayya Naidu as well as gaining from fruitful interactions with Dr Rajkumar and P. Kalinga Rao, he became well versed in various possibilities of theatre and music (sugam sangeeth).
After settling down in Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district, Bendaravadi Subrahmanya Sharma continuously strived to provide voice to Kannada literature by visiting numerous schools of various districts of Karnataka, singing songs penned by the doyens of Kannada literature, such as Kailasam, Rajaratnam, Kuvempu and Bendre for over 50 years.
Without the benefit of anyone’s backing and without the advantage of loudspeakers, he had an amazing ability to enthrall and be clearly heard by thousands of audiences; the strength of his voice was indeed unique and extraordinary.
Being an ‘A’ Grade radio artiste too, he developed a great fan following for his programmes. Though he donated over 13,000 books from his personal collection to schools, colleges and educational institutions, he shunned any form of publicity.
Despite his proud stance to stay away from all formal recognitions and awards, many honours came his way and Bendaravadi Subrahmanya Sharma was felicitated with prestigious recognitions like Deraje Award and Alike Balakrishna Shetty Memorial literature Award. He also had the honour of being nominated as the President of Second Children’s Literature Conference of Puttur taluk.
He was the father of journalist Poornachandra.