Responsive Menu
Add more content here...

Queen of Yakshagana

During the rainy season of 1946, Vitthala Shastri arranged a training camp at the Delantabettu temple near Kanyana for the yakshagan artists at his own expense.

Prasangas such as Sri Krishnaleela, Dakshayagya, Vishwamitra Menaka, Brahma Kapala, Abhimanyu Kalaga, Babhruvahana Kalaga were held. The dialogue of the characters was written by Kargallu Subbanna Bhatta as instructed by Shastri.

Mudukunja Vasudeva Prabhu (Female role), Peruvodi (Padyana) Narayana Bhatta (Comedy), Karuvoolu Deranna Shetty (Drama style), Muliyala Bheema Bhatta and Kollyuru (Pundu Vesha) participated in the entire training in the rainy season

Kuriya Vitthala Shastri

On the next trip (1946- 47), to Kollyuru’s share came other Pundu Veshas, ‘Abhimanyu’s jehu’, ‘Babruvahana Kalaga’s ‘Vrushaketu’ ‘KushaLava’ Kalaga’s ‘Lava’ etc.

Vitthala Shastri’s way of movement was the school’s discipline. May it be in the Aataa, or the Chowki or even in the camp. 

Shastri would get extremely angry when artists did not attend the Chowki at eight o’clock. If the concentration drops while in applying the colour to the face, then he would ask them to reapply.

May the Role-play be the first or the last; the colour should not be erased once applied. In case there was no work, you should stand at the back of the theatre and watch the play. This was one of the learning techniques. “Such a learning approach is more of a primer than watching a game in a month’s time,” says Kollyuru.


Shastri didn’t like any of his disciples smoking bidi, cigarettes etc. If he saw anyone smoking a cigarette or bidi, they would be punished. Because of that education, till today Kollyuru stayed away from smoking. Perhaps this is the reason for his supreme health

Shastri did say one thing as he punished his disciples, “Don’t be my disciple off-stage. Be my disciple only onstage.”  

Due to this Guru’s discipline and fear of retribution, a large number of his devotees left him. Kollyuru acknowledged the thoroughness of the discipline and turned into a decent disciple.