Wednesday, 6 September 2017

"Sri Ramanuja Vaibhavam"- Rod and Shadow Puppet Show

Sri Ramanuja reaching the abode of SRi Vaikuntam-In shasow puppet form

Thirukollur Penn Pillai and Sri Ramanujacharya

Sri Gosthipurna, Sri Ramanujacharya and Kidambi Achchan

Ashtaskri Maha Mantropadesham by Sri Gostipurna to Bhagavat Ramanujacharya

A Princess of Pandiya kingdom Obssessed with evil force and Sri Ramanuja

Rod Puppets as Sudhardhar along with accompanists.

Rod Puppets







Sri Ramanuja as a disciple of Sri Yadava Prakasha














Kanchipurna and Sri Yamunacharya

Sri Kanchipurna and Sri Ramanuja

Sri Ramanuja and his wife Rakshambal.


Sphoorthi Theatre for Educational Puppetry, Art and Craft - STEPARC has completed 12 successful years and marching ahead in 13th year with many more endeavor to accomplish.

Sphoorthi Theatre is working in restoration of revival of traditional art of Puppetry-Bommalata  in Andhra Pardesh and  of Telangana states in Particular. Both these states are blessed with unique folk art forms-Bommalata being one among them. Telangana state is popularly known for known for Bommalata-Koyya or Chekka Bommalata (String and Rod puppetry)  and  Andhra Pradesh for Tolu Bommalata (Leather Puppets).

Sphoorthi  Theatre -STEPARC have been involved in promoting Puppetry as a medium to educate children and young adults on various relevant spheres like,
- Basic language skills
- Elementary mathematics
- Social and civic sciences

Our endeavours till date have led to partnerships with different premier institutions like  Govt of India - CCRT - Center for Cultural Resources and Training, Telengana Government – Dept of Language and Culture and Dept of  Tribal Welfare, British Council, Nokia India , Youth for Seva and so on.

As part of 1000 years celebration worldwide known as Sahasrabdhi celebration of Sri Ramanujacharya (1017-1137 C.E), Sphoorthi Theatre planned to work out a Puppet play in Telugu called “Sri Ramanuja Vaibhavam” in a combination of Koyya Bommlata (Rod Puppets) and Tolu Bommlata(Shadow Puppets).

In order to maintain the aesthetics of the traditional Bommalata-a “Haraikatha” a folk style of narration of Ramayana or Bhagavatham Storytelling was adopted with a twist again, puppets playing sequences in shadow puppets. This experiment of puppet play for 90 minutes was well received with some constructive criticism too.

Our Journey moves on to the medieval era and we have chosen to present the life of Sri. Ramanuja Charya the Vishishtadwaita proponent on the occasion of his Sahasrabdhi which is 1000 years of his birth.  We have interplay of the rod and shadow puppetry forms which is itself an experimental thought. We have attempted to maintain the aesthetics of both the forms  within the same play. The other interesting aspect is that though the main play is in Telugu, it is interspersed with Tamil pasurams (divine sayings of Alwars) and Sanskrit shlokas.   The play focuses on Sri. Ramanuja’s tireless focus and enablement of societal equity    , upliftment of down trodden, respect and empowerment of women.

Even one thousand years ago, when societal mores were much more rigid, Sri Ramanuja himself worked towards upliftment of the untouchable sects like Dalits and others and had laid down the temple worship practices wherein Dalits and other oppressed sections were allowed entry into the Melkote temple on three festivals. This made Sri Ramanujacharya to be known as “a Revolutinary Saint”. Sri Ramanuja universalized access to God for all through “simple love and Bakthi”.—This is the magnanimity of Sri Ramanujacharya.

Sri Ramanuja was both “contemporary and relevant”, Sri Velukkudi Krishnan swamigal in one of his interview to Deccan chronicle said the former “stood the test of time” as a visionary who brought out the timeless aspects of the ‘Vedas’ and ‘Vedanta’ that strikes a chord in people’s hearts even today, as a means of ‘spiritual uplift’ of every individual soul.( http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/060516/1-000-years-on-ramanuja-both-contemporary-and-relevant.html).


Again, not many are aware of the contribution done Sri Ramanujacharya in the Spiritual, Social, Empowerment and Mankind.

Sri Ramanuja Vaibhavam-Koyya-Tolu  Bommalata (Rod and Shadow Puppet Play)
Time: 90 minutes
Language: Main play in Telugu, (Alwar pasurams in Tamil and Sanskrit Shlokas in Sankrit)

An attempt in the form of an interplay of the rod and shadow puppetry forms which is itself an experimental thought. We have attempted to maintain the aesthetics of both the forms within the same play. Here, the Harikatha style of Sutrdhara narration of storytelling in adapted which is again one of the beautiful art form of storytelling. Another interesting aspect is  Koyya bommalu (Rod puppets) introduces or plays tolu bommalata (shadow puppets).

 The play focuses on Sri. Ramanuja’s tireless focus and ennoblement of societal equity , upliftment of down trodden, respect and empowerment of women.  

As part of Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdhi celebration, we would like to make access of Sri Ramanuja’s story to maximum number of people and get blessed.

On August 28, 2017, in collaboration with Department of Language and Culture, Govt. of Telangana, we presented Sri Ramanuja Vaibhavam puppet show at Ravindra Bharathi, Ladkikapul, Hyderabad.

Hon’ble Chairman of Telanagna State Public Service Commission, Hyderabad,  Prof. Ghanta. Chakrapani was the Chief Guest. He was accompanied by yet another Special Chief Guest Vice-Chancellor of Potti Sree Ramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad,  Prof. S.V. Satyanarayana  garu.
Guests of Honour: Director of Department of Language and Culture, Govt. of Telangana, Sri Mamidi Harikrishna Garu and Director of Ananth Technologies Sri V. Shashikumar Garu.
Special Guests for the event : Rev. Sri Shithikantananda Swamiji or Sri RamaKrishna Order of Sri RamaKrishna Math, Hyderabad and Theatre, All India Radio Artists and a profound Sri Vaishnava Siddhnatha Scholar Sri. T.Ranagarajan, Hubli

Lighting the Lamp by Smt Kumudha Rangarajan and Smt. Subhadra Srinivasan.

All the members, supporter, donors of Sphoorthi Theatre were honoured with mementos as a token of remembrance.


Soyam BheemaRao greeting Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu.  Sri. S.K.Ranagarajan and myself are also seen

Vice ChacellorPottiSree Ramulu Telugu University , Hyderabad Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu and Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu



Smt. Kumudha Rangarajan and Smt. Subhadra Srinivasan Lighting the lamp and other Guests on the dais are present.
Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu lighting the lamp


Dr. Lohita Neelamraju anchoring the event for the day.

Dr. Srinivasanchary interacting with the chief Guests.

Sri. T.Rangarajan special Guests lighting the lamp.

Sri Saraswati Upasakulu Daivagnya Sharma garu interacting with the Chief Guest.

Dr. Harini T.V Rendering the invocation song on Sri Ramanuja

Sri Raghu Srinivasan Founder President of Sphoorthi Theatre-STEPARC honouring the Chief Guest Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu with a shawl as a traditional practice.

Sri Raghu Srinivasan Founder President of Sphoorthi Theatre-STEPARC honouring the Chief Guest Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu with a bouquet and  a memento. Little Sreenidhi alias Donga is seen.

S.K.Ranagarajan honoured the Special Guest Sri. T.Ranagarajan. Little Sreenidhi alias Donga is holding the bouquet.

S.K.Ranagarajan honoured the Special Guest Sri Daivagnya Sharma. Little Sreenidhi alias Donga is holding the bouquet.

Sri. Vijayaraghavan honoured V. Shashikumar. Little Sreenidhi alias Donga is holding seen.

Sri. Vijayaraghavan honoured V.C. Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu. Little Sreenidhi alias Donga is holding bouquet.

Sri Raghu Srinivasan Founder President of Sphoorthi Theatre-STEPARC welcomed Rev. Sri. Shithikanatananda Swmiji of Rama Krishna Order.

Chief Guest Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Ms. Radhika. K. Sphoorthi Team member

Chief Guest Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Ms. Sharvanthi Devara-Sphoorthi Team member.

Chief Guest Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu Presented memeonto to Smt. Sudha Neelamraju(Versatile artists and Sphoorthi Executive member

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu and V.C. Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu jointly presented memento to Dr. Harini T.V.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu &  V.C. Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu jointly presented memento to Sri. Vara Pradeep garu-Sphoorthi Voice over team member

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu &  V.C. Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu jointly presented memento to Mr. Akunoori Dayakar- Dept. of Theatre student and Sphoorthi Team member.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presenting memento to Mr. Kodapa Gajanand -Sphoorthi Faculty Team

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presenting memento to Mr. Boyini Prakash-Sphoorthi Faculty Team

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presenting memento to Mr.HK.Puneesh-Sphoorthi Faculty Team

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presenting memento to Mr. Soyam bheem Rao-Sphoorthi Faculty Team

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu &  V.C. Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu jointly presented memento to Mr. Sunny-Dept. of Theatre student and Sphoorthi Team member.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu &  V.C. Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu jointly presented memento to Mr. Neelam Naresh-Dept. of Theatre student and Sphoorthi Team member.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu &  V.C. Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu jointly presented memento to Mr. Swaroop Devathala- A musician and Student of Music college.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu &  V.C. Prof. S.V.Satyanarayana garu jointly presented memento to Mr. Md. Khaleem-Dept. of Theatre student and Sphoorthi Team member.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Ms. Archana Gowrikar-Sphoorthi Team member.
Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Mrs. Padmaja Krishnamachary. SPhoorthi Executive member.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Mr. Anirudh- the Inspire to start Sphoorthi Theatre

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Mr. Manoj-Dept. of Theatre student and Sphoorthi Team member.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Dr. Lohita Neelamraju-Sphoorthi Team member

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Dr.Rukmini Mridula (Neurologist NIMS, Hyderabad)

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Mr. Anil Kumar (Alias kaka) -Sphoorthi team member.

Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu presented memento to Mr. D.Madhavan  & Mrs. Jayashree Madhavan
Chief Guests Hon'ble Chairman TSPSC Prof. Ghanta Chakarapani garu during his speech on the occasion.
Guest of Honour Shri Mamidi Hariskrishna garu addressing the gathering.
Sri. V.Shahsikumar garu addressing the gathering

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