A test of faith

Gudipoodi Srihari

 Nagireddi as Vipranarayana and Surabhi Prabhavati as Devadevi.

‘Vipranarayana’ was staged on popular demand and didn’t disappoint the audience this time either.

Yuvakala Vauhini arranged the staging of Vipranarayana that bagged the best production awards at Nandi, Garuda and NTR competitive play festivals and to celebrate the play’s growing demand. This Vaishnvaite theme is intended to highlight the bond between Lord Ranganatha and his devotee Vipranarayana. Written and directed by eminent playwright Palleti Kula Sekhar, this play was staged at Ravindra Bharati last week. It was a consummate presentation with all the artistes and technicians rendering it as a good team work that made them win coveted honours for the play and some of the artistes.

Vipranarayana, an ardent devotee of Ranganatha, remains a bachelor to pray to his God with single minded devotion. According to ancient works of alwars, Devadevia harlot who is so proud of her skills and beauty that she thinks nobody can resist her, decides to ensnare Vipranarayana and reveal to the world that he too is an ordinary mortal who can surrender to lust. She enters his ashram one day in the guise of a sanyasin. She pleads to offer flowers to Lord Rangantha that she picks from the temple garden. Despite protests from Vipranarayana’s ardent disciple Rangadasu, Vipranarayana goes to her rescue on a rainy day and offers shelter. A lightning and thunder pushes her into his embrace.

Vipranarayana is no more a bachelor and starts craving for her company to the extent he says he cannot live without her. Even Devadevi develops similar desire towards him. The story then takes a turn with more trouble brewing.

How the Lord intervenes and Vipranarayana becomes a reformed bhakta forms the rest of the story.

T. Nagi Reddy playing Vipranarayana was good with the text part and was able to project the contrasting images of Vipranarayana as bhakta and the wayward rasika. Surabhi Prabhavati in the role of Devadevi remained special attraction all through the production displaying histrionic sense. Venkateswar Rao donned the role of Lord Rangananatha that was more active towards the end. Vijayakumar as Pundareeka Sastry revealed musical excellence both in dialogues and verse rendition.

Sekhar as the temple archaka gave a satisfying performance. Surabhi Vengamamba as Madhuravani was also at her best. Anjireddi as Chola king, Manohara Raju as his minister, Ramachandra Rao, Ganesh and Govardhan in minor roles gave apt performances.

T. Suryanarayana Sastry’s musical support, Venkataswamy’s makeup, Surabhi Kishore’s stage craft added depth to the production. The play ran on familiar terrain. C. Narayana Reddy felicitated the team.

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