Muslim woman artiste captivates ”Yakshagana” stage

PTI, Feb 26, 2020, 12:52 PM IST

Mangaluru: The ‘Yakshagana’ stage in Karnataka is witnessing a curious spectacle with a Muslim woman artiste creating waves with her performances.

Arshiya, the artiste from Vittal in Dakshina Kannada district, is the first woman from the Muslim community to venture into the popular traditional theatre art form.

At one time, women were barred from Yakshagana stages.

A Muslim woman exponent on stage has attracted the attention of ‘Yakshagana’ lovers in the state.

Arshiya is now getting advanced training in her skills at the Kadali Kala Kendra under Ramesh Bhat here.

Arshiya, who is fond of ‘Bannada Vesha’ (villain roles), is now known in her stage name ‘Tanu Vitla.’

She has already performed various episodes on stage and gained popularity.

Arshiya, currently working in an automobile showroom at Padil, said she was attracted to the art form from a very young age.

The initial enchantment with the art form came as she saw the role of Mahishasura in ‘Sri Devi Mahatme Yakshagana Prasanga’ (episode) performed near her home town.

She was attracted to all the elements of the art form, which combines music, percussion, dance, dialogues, stage techniques, make-up and costume.

Arshiya said she was also inspired by a teacher in her school at Vittal who trained her for a performance on stage during the school’s annual day celebration.

She started performing on local stages at Vittal at the very young age of 10.

Arshiya now performs prominent roles on stage including Mahishasura in Sri Devi Mahatme Prasanga, the role which enamoured her in her childhood.

She also has donned the roles of Nishambhasura, Rakthabeejasura, Srinivas Kalyana, Sudarshanopakyana, Kadamba Kaushike and Shambavi Vijaya.

Her performances at Udupi and Karwar besides Mangaluru have earned her a lot of admirers, who love her ‘Asura’ roles, thanks to her loud voice.

Arshiya now wants to learn the ‘Chende’ (percussion instrument), which is an important element in Yakshagana performances.

Arshiya revealed that there was a bit of resistance from her community about her passion for the art form, but she had the staunch backing of her family.

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