Friday, February 28, 2014

Lion's Roar and its Den, C R Simha No More.

YNK (Late Y N Krishnamurthy, Editor of Prajavani and later of Kannada Prabha, a renowned pun writer  and brilliant columnist in Kannada), my friend for over forty years, was a connoiser of men of culture, of people in Performing Arts and Literature in particular, and he used to introduce and spend time with them with every friend of his and I was one such beneficiary of it. It was one of those meeting somewhere in 1977, in the evening in his house that I met a legend called C R Simha. Simha was already a well known dramatist then, later on went on to become  equally well known cine actor and director of films and plays. We spent several evenings in Simha's place too and was a guest of his New year Parties in his house for number of years as well. When I wanted to purchase a house near his that was constructed by an uncommon but sturdy material which was also used by Simha to his house, I consulted him on whether or not to buy; it was he who assured me to go ahead with it and I did buy the house in 1995 and lived in it for next fifteen years.

Talking of house, Simha's house is unique both archetecturally and aesthetically. A circular structure built by red hallowed cement bricks, held as it were by a central stone pillar which is a statue of Charles Chaplin, with gods abode open to the sky allowing shine and rain. The Simha's/Lion's abode is aptly named ಗುಹೆ/Cave. When my nephew boy from Sagar-Shimoga went to see his house, without telling me,  as it was featured in one of the Kannada Magazine which he had read, he got a royal treatment, Simha himself took him round each part of the house and explained and it was not because he was my nephew but because that is what Simha is, loving and appreciating life and people always.

When I first saw his Tughalak Play, it was an unbelievable experience, he was regal and theatrical, anguish and poignant,  befitting the role; it was a great celebration of the stage itself. I had read Girish Karnad's Play Tughalak, but after seeing Simha's Play  I really understood Tughalk and realised the truth of the saying that play is not meant to be read but is for the stage to be watched. In fact, I realized Tughalak as an epitome of European Existential Dilemma  only after watching the play, I was not so sure when I had read it. It was simply Simha's magical performance on stage. Since then I have watched most of his Plays, if not most of his films, and each time I had wondered what a truly great actor he is.

Acting was his passion, his very nature. Once, a well known Kannada Daily Editor with whom I had been to Simha's house for a Party, asked him to enact an episode on an employee asking the boss G V Iyer  for the due payment and what a scintillating act it was: slow, measured and elaborate depiction of that man and character that at once a veritable delight to watch.So also on Srikantaji. Incidentally, Srikantaji, though was a person in existence somewhat similar but was vastly a mythical figure created by YNK, although not as legendary and magnificent as the other YNK created, ಘ/Gha, Gha, an easily recognisable people anywhere and everywhere!

Simha was a very humble and loving person with extraordinary talent not only in acting but in keenly observing people and life, endearing himself to all that is human. It hurts that he is no more.


purshi said...

Request you to read Caligula by Albert Camus which is the inspitration for Thugalak. Also, YNK's GHA was the abbreviation for either Gundu Haakuva Aasami and Gundu Haakadas Aasami depending upon whom he was addressing.

Thimmappa M.S. said...

I am aware of Caligula base but I always thought that in rendering it is more near to Sartre's ( ensoi-pursoi swings ) than Camus or Kaffka's 'Absurd'. Also, I am aware of the meanings of GHA given but YNK wanted us to go beyond those meaning as he often used it in the context of 'idiot', 'humba', 'bogus theorist' and so on. Yet, i have made some edit to suit the sombre occasion.