Hyderabad’s Nishumbita group to stage Golakonda, which merges puppetry, Kuchipudi and theatre

This weekend, 18 actors of Hyderabad’s Nishumbita theatre group will play a total of 182 characters in 90 minutes to narrate the origin of the Golconda kingdom and other stories associated with it.

The presentation, titled Golakonda, will incorporate puppetry, Telangana’s traditional art forms such as burra katha, dappu dance and Perini with Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam.

Nishumbita’s founder-director Rammohan Holagundi says the theatrical production combines dance ballet and docudrama.

“One tends to think, ‘What else is there to discover about Golconda fort?’” Holagundi says. “The production journey, however, led us into lesser known stories.”

Golconda was earlier called golla konda, named after shepherds (gollolu in Telugu) exploring the hillock (konda), after they discovered a deity. “Golakonda looks at the origin story of the kingdom, before tracing the rise of the Asif Jahi dynasty, Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah’s romance with Bhagmati, Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah’s quest for power, the construction of Charminar, how Hyderabad was affected by plague (in 1911) and more.”

During the pandemic, members of Nishumbita began research for the production. Elderly men and women aged 85 and above, living in the vicinity of the fort, shared the stories they had heard while growing up.

Archival books were referred to and historians and academicians consulted to verify facts. “We did not want to go wrong with history. There were cases of date mismatch and we went through further rounds of verification. We did not limit ourselves to the internet,” says Holagundi.

The research also brought to the fore lesser known facts. For instance, River Musi was earlier called Narva.

Golakonda shaped up to be a production that warranted several sets, props and lights. “Twenty-five of us, including the technical crew, have been rehearsing for more than two months,” says Holagundi.

Soon after the first wave of COVID-19, Nishumbita staged street plays in villages near Yadadri, followed by the staging of Jungle Book, A Doll’s House and Amma Redamma in Hyderabad. After the second wave, the group staged the biopic of biochemist Yellapragada Subbarao written by reputed filmmaker Singeetam Srinivasa Rao.

With Golakonda, Nishumbita is hopeful that Hyderabad theatre lovers will turn up to patronize stage plays again.

 

(Golakonda will be staged on October 2 and 3; 7 pm, at Nishumbita School of Drama, Begumpet. Tickets priced at ₹100 can be purchased via Google Pay number 7995556341)

 

This article was originally published by The Hindu on Sept 30, 2021, and has been reposted with permission. To read the original article, click here.

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