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Subraya Bhat (1946 - 2018)
- Akshara Bharadwaj

March 23, 2018

It is with great grief that we try to cope with the irreplaceable loss of Subraya Bhat, a prolific theatre personality- actor, writer and director, 'Method-Drama Specialist', and a student of Prof. Ranganath Bharadwaj, on 14th March 2018. He held the position of Secretary and Technical coordinator at Karnataka Haridasa Scientific Research Centre and Theatre Faculty at The Structural School of Fine Arts. He specialized in the 'Structural Method' under his Guru's guidance and continued schooling young students through his theatre activities and pedagogy. He published his works under the banner of 'Natyabhoomi Prakashana', penning several works in the past two decades.

A student of Bassel Mission School, he was a child artist of All India Radio, Dharwar, and has performed in record number of AIR plays. He is also the first child artist of Gilivindu programme aired by Dharwar AIR for children. He was awarded diploma for art from the Centropa Films, Poland. He graduated from Ruia College, Mumbai, and went on to do his MA in English literature.

He always played primary lead characters in all of Prof. Bharadwaj's productions under the banner of Vijayanand arts based out of Mumbai, performing over 15 plays in Kannada and English, with multiple shows across the country, for over four decades. Their relationship spanning the last fifty years have created some phenomenal, trail-blazing contributions to Indian theatre, garnering rave reviews for the unique, path-breaking concepts and directorial ventures of Prof. Bharadwaj and the acting prowess of Mr. Bhat.

A gold medallist Diploma holder in Drama from Rangabhoomi, Mumbai, he is the first one-man performing artist of the Kannada stage. He has performed three hour one-man shows in Kannada and Hindi, and has performed several plays in theatre companies such as IPTA and INT, performing in over a 100 plays with many distinguished artists. Having conducted over 1000 workshops across the country and abroad- the most recent being his workshop sessions in the United States in 2017 - he was especially credited for conducting impactful workshops for physically challenged children, along with his work with different educational institutions - schools, colleges and universities, corporations, NGOs and government organisations. He has earned several awards and titles such as 'Kala Dhureena', 'Abhinaya Chatura', 'Ranga Kala Pratibha Praveena'. He has conducted hundreds of free Kannada speaking workshops and was adored by children for the vibrant summer and Dassara workshops he organised at SSFA for the last 27 years.

His relationship with the world of Indian classical dances is unique. Under the aegis of The Structural School of Fine Arts, Subraya Bhat has been instrumental in organising The Indian Classical Arts Festival, Children's Classical Dance Festival and 'Taranga Ranga' monthly concert series. Under the direction of Prof. Bharadwaj, he has been the key organiser of hundreds of recitals, events and festivals including 'Vijnana Vyjayanti'- a three day national level literary and cultural festival, for over 40 years. He has graced several Rangapravesha-s and concerts as the guest of honour, has rendered his talent as the master of ceremony and presented papers in many platforms, sharing a warm friendship with eminent gurus, dancers and musicians.

Recently his Kannada play 'Ide ennuvudakkide' was translated to Marathi as 'Ahe manun Ahe' and was released in Mumbai by popular Marathi actor, Prashant Damle. He was the organiser of the Akhila Bharata Gandharva Mahamandali examinations at SSFA, Vijayanagar, Bangalore. His completed PhD thesis about the Elements and References of Theatre in Haridasa literature, will be submitted to the National Institute of Vedic Sciences soon.

Son of Ganesh Bhat and Kaveri Bhat and third among eight siblings, he is the younger brother of eminent Kannada literati, President of Dakshina Kannada Sahitya Parishat- A.P. Malathi. He has left behind his wife and resilient partner in all his ventures, Vishalakshi Bhat, his son Sanjeev, daughter-in-law Akshatha and grandson Pranav. He retired from Syndicate Bank after serving the organisation for over thirty five years.

His achievements in his career as a dramatist is prolific. However, people are attracted to his magnetic dynamism, charisma and genuine care and kindness for artists and people around him. He has lived as a trusted, loved and respected human being by everyone who has had associations in his 72 year long life, which is worth celebrating for the enthusiasm, zeal, energy, passion, his love for arts and dedication towards his work that he exuded consistently, wearing many hats every day.

The Karnataka Haridasa Scientific Research Centre, along with its wings The Structural School of Fine Arts and The Institute for Educational Research and Development, is profoundly indebted to Subraya Bhat for his unparalleled contribution and service towards the founding, building and development of the organisation. May his life be an example and may the void he left behind be a reminder to live full lives, help others and love passionately. May his soul rest in peace.

Akshara Bharadwaj is a filmmaker, Bharatanatyam dancer & teacher based in Bangalore.

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