KEREMANE SHIVARAMA HEGDE
The impetus behind the progress of the mandali is none but Late Keremane Shivarama Hegde himself. He was born in a remote place called "Keremane" of Gunavante, in the Honnavar Taluk of Uttara Kannada District. Owing to the difficult times he fully embraced the art, grew with it and helped to flourish. Late Annuhittalu Sadananda Hegde and the Yakshaganic aura in the locality induced the intricacies of the art form into him.
Foundation of the Troupe
In 1934,though there was severe financial crisis in his family, he founded “Sri Idagunji Mahaganapati Yakshagana Mandali Keremane” out of the money that he had saved from doing other works.The Troupe was named after the family diety Lord Ganapati of Idagunji in whom he had a strong devotion.His passion towards the art and the establishment of a troupe of like minded people contributed a lot to the development of Yakshagana.
His contributions include search and encouragement of best talents, performing of traditional episodes, a very effective and multidimensional depiction of a character of the Prasanga(the ‘act’) and extension of Yakshagana to wider geographical area. He was famous for the wits in his dialogues and also for slow and vivid revealing of the character in a Prasanga('Act' or story) which is scarce in now a day performances.He is remembered even today for the characters like-
It is significant to note that he had also used Yakshagana as a medium in the propagation of India’s freedom movement. The Yakshagana Mandali, founded by him, has proved its dynamic existence, by giving performances in various parts of the state, country and abroad. His life and contributions became a subject of research in Yakshagana. Beside stage direction and delineation of characters, Keremane Shivarama Hegde had showed his skills in organisational abilities too. When he realised that the Yakshagana art will not survive solely on the support of the temple precincts, he established the idea of a professional troupe to promote the Yakshagana.
He was awarded by Central Sangeeth Nataka Academi, New Delhi (1970) and Karnataka State Award (1965) for his outstanding achievements in Yakshagana. He had to sacrifice lots of things and saw ups and downs in life at the cost of his passion, his organisation and his cultural journey.His life is an inspiration behind journey of our Institution.
His autobiography “Nenapina Rangasthala” was published as a book by the Akshara Prakashana, Heggodu in the year 1996.
The Rangamandira built in his name as a memorial is a befitting tribute to a genius who can not be forgotten forever in the field of Yakshagana.