Mangaluru, Jan 03, 2019: Centenarian Yakshagana artiste Hiriyadka Gopala Rao, who is a Karnataka Rajyotsava awardee, was felicitated in Udupi at a function jointly organised by Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Samshodhana Kendra, Yakshagana Kendra, Indrali, Regional Resources Centre for Folk Performing Arts, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Hiriadka Samskriti Siri Trust, at Nutana Ravindra Mantapa, MGM College, Udupi.
Dr Raghava Nambiar, Prof M L Samaga and Guru Bannanje Sanjeeva Suvarna spoke about the life and achievements of Gopala Rao. Dr H Shantharam honoured the seniormost Yakshagana artiste who has entered his hundredth year. In response to the felicitation, Gopala Rao emphasised the true value of Yakshagana and said, “Yakshagana is not a mimicry or circus. It is not a means just to entertain the audience. It consists of art, language and culture and hence one cannot change Yakshagana as one likes.”
Being a man of discipline, Rao enjoys good health. The audience were in awe when he played the Maddale, which is his specialised field of Yakshagana. Rao revealed that the secret of his skill lies in playing the Maddale even at this age. He said the Maddale was given to him by his father and till date, he plays it everyday at least for half an hour. He asserted that he is a learner and is ready to incorporate newer elements in Maddale playing.
The students of Yakshagana Kendra honoured him with a Yakshagana dance. Prof Muralidhar Upadhya released and commented on the book ‘Ranga Vidyeya Holabu’, a book about Gopal Rao’s views on Yakshagana, written by Dr K M Raghava Nambiar, Prof Varadesh Hiregange while coordinator of RG Pai Samshodhana Kendra explained the significance of Gopala Rao’s contribution to Yakshagana.