Mangaluru, May 09, 2019: Yakshagana melas (touring troupes) in the coastal belt will wind up their ‘tirugata’ (tour) of the 2018-19 season this month, starting from May 11, with 15-year-old Edneer mela deciding to close down after this season’s performances. The belt has more than 40 melas.
Unlike the 2017-18 season, Yakshagana performances during the current season went peacefully without interference from Election Commission officials while enforcing the poll code for the Lok Sabha elections.
Some admirers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a show in the city as their “harake” (vow) to God, to get Mr. Modi elected as the Prime Minister for the second term, and it became a controversy inviting criticism on social media.
The art form lost a practitioner, Chandrahasa Hudugodu, of the Badagu Thittu school of Yakshagana, after he collapsed and died while performing near Baindoor in Udupi district on March 10, 2019.
Two years ago, Yakshagana also lost Gerukatte Gangayya Shetty, artist of the Tenku Thittu school of Yakshagana, in March. He also collapsed and died while performing on the stage near Kateel in Dakshina Kannada.
Jayarama Edneer, manager of Edneer mela, said that the mela will be wound up owing to “operational reasons.” With a 35-member team, the mela had about 25 artistes. The closing down of the mela will not hit the artistes as they have been invited by some other noted melas to join them.
The mela would charge Rs. 30,000 per show for hosting it in the Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district. If it was a short show elsewhere, the amount to be paid was Rs. 45,000 and in case of an all-night performance the hosts would had to pay Rs. 50,000.
He said that the mela is finding it difficult to continue due to financial and other issues relating to artistes. Hence it has become difficult to present Yakshagana in its true form as an art.
The Hanumagiri mela will stage its last show of this season on May 11 at Eshwaramangala.