Poet Kuvempuís "Beral Ge Koral" presented in Bangalore 
by Vijayashree Ashok, Bangalore 
e-mail: vijayashreeashok@yahoo.com 
February 7, 2004   

The Kasthuri brothers, Prasanna and Pulikeshi recently presented "Beral Ge Koral" Ė (A throat for a finger) a dance presentation of Ekalavyaís story based on the poetic work by national poet laureate Kuvempu. Kuvempu was the first poet from Karnataka to win the Jnanapeeta award. 

This year being the centenary celebration of the award-winning poet, Soorya Dance Company, St. Louis, USA and Shanthala Arts Academy, Bangalore have collaborated to bring this production to Bangalore. With a combination of drama, dance and martial arts, the duo presented the story of Ekalavya at 3 festivals in Bangalore and was recorded for the Bangalore Doordarshan.  

"Ekalavya is a symbol for guru bhakthi. His determination to learn archery in spite of many obstacles has always impressed me," says Prasanna who teamed along his nattuvangist-dancer brother to present this two-man show.  

According to the poetís interpretation, Ekalavya comes to the city Hastinapura to learn archery from the renowned guru Drona. Due to the jealousy of the Pandava princes Drona is unable to train him and therefore advises him to learn under his son Aswathaama. Ekalavya has to return some time later to his forest upon hearing about the death of his father. He never returns to Hastinapura but practices archery in front of his guruís statue. He dreams that his guru appeared in his dream and granted him all the shastras (weapons) and teaches him the Shabdavedi vidya (the art of shooting by listening). 

Ekalavya assiduously masters this art and is finally encountered by Arjuna. The pandava prince to whom Guru Drona had promised that no one else would be taught the Shabdavedi vidya is upset upon witnessing Ekalavya. Finally Drona in order to please his student Arjuna asks Ekalavya to give his right thumb as his Guru Dakshina. Prasanna played the role of Ekalavya and Pulikeshi played all the other characters. Using dialogues in between, both the dancers with a theatrical background executed the original dialogues of "Beral Ge Koral".  

"This being the centenary celebrations of the poetís birth, I want to have 100 performances by the year end" says Prasanna Kasthuri, choreographer and director of this dance production.  

According to Pulikeshi "The sentimental ending brought most of the audience to tears. After each show people walked back stage to express it. They probably remembered how Prasanna at age 18 had worked for more than a year independently to present his non stop marathon 24 hour dance performance with musicians"  

Ekalavya will be presented during the fall tour of Soorya Dance company in North America. Soorya Dance Company can be visited at www.sooryadance.com and www.shanthala.org.