Yakshagana artist M.R. Vasudeva Samaga passed away on Saturday. He was 72 and is survived by his wife and a son.
Mr. Vasudeva Samaga lived in Koteshwara, near Kundapur in Udupi district. As he was ailing for some days, he had been admitted to a hospital in Manipal, where he died at about 3 a.m.
He hailed from a family of Yakshagana artists. His father, the late Malpe Ramadasa Samaga, was also a well-known artist and orator. His paternal uncle, the late Malpe Shankaranarayana Samaga, was a noted Yakshagana performer and talamaddale ‘arthadhari’.
An accomplished artiste, Mr. Vasudeva Samaga was well versed both in the Badagu Thittu and the Tenku Thittu schools of Yakshagana. As a professional artist, he had toured in a number of Yakshagana ‘melas’, including in the over 100-year-old Dharmasthala Yakshagana mela.
Yakshagana artist S.N. Bhat Bayar recalled that Mr. Vasudeva Samaga had an exceptional oratory skill and he used to completely involve himself in the roles, especially during talamaddale performances.
He was comfortable in exhibiting all ‘rasas’ of Yakshagana including the ‘hasya rasa’.
He had formed his own talamaddale troupe called ‘samyamam’.
Mr. Vasudeva Samaga used to perform many ‘stree veshas’ [women roles] that required additional skills to perform.
Yakshagana teacher Mambady Subrahmanya Bhat said that the involvement of Mr. Vasudeva Samaga in all his roles was his exceptional quality.
According to Murali Kadekar, secretary, Yakshagana Kala Ranga, Udupi, he had introduced talamaddale, a variant of Yakshagana theatre, in different parts of the State through his ‘samyamam’ troupe. He had edited 80 Yakshagana prasangas, which are suitable for talamaddale.
In addition, he was writing ‘artha’ (a kind of narration) to about 30 talamaddale scripts to publish it in the form of a book.
Mr. Vasudeva Samaga started in Yakshagana when he was 19. He had toured in Amruteshwari, Perdoor, Kadri, Saligrama, Sirsi, and Surathkal Yakshagana melas.
He was the recipient of the Karnataka Yaksahgana Academy Award. The Kala Ranga condoled his death.
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