ಕಂಬಾರರ ನಾಟಕಗಳಿಗೆ ಸಮರ್ಥ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಧ್ವನಿಪೂರ್ಣವಾದ ಕ್ರಿಯೆಯ ಬೆನ್ನೆಲುಬೂ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ… ಅವರ ನಾಕಟಗಳನ್ನು ಓದುವಾಗ ಕೂಡ ಅವುಗಳ ಆಂತರಿಕ ಕ್ರಿಯೆ ತಾನಾಗಿಯೇ ಕಣ್ಣಿಗೆ ಕಟ್ಟುತ್ತದೆ.

ಗಿರೀಶ ಕಾರ್ನಾಡ

 ಶ್ರೀ ಕಂಬಾರರ “ಜೋಕುಮಾರಸ್ವಾಮಿ” ಬಯಲಾಟ; ಸಮಕಾಲೀನ ವಸ್ತುವಾದ ಉಳುವವನೇ ನೆಲದ ಒಡೆಯ ಎಂಬ ವಸ್ತುವನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಅದನ್ನು ಲೈಂಗಿಕ ಫಲವಂತಿಕೆಯೊಂದಿಗೆ ಹೊಂದಿಸಿ ಈ ನಾಟಕ ಕಟ್ಟಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಇಂಥ ವಸ್ತು ವಾದ ಮತ್ತು ಕ್ರಿಯೆ ಎರಡನ್ನೂ ಪಡೆಯಬಲ್ಲುದು; ಮಾತು ಮತ್ತು ಆಚರಣೆ ಎರಡನ್ನೂ ಒಳಗೊಳ್ಳಬಲ್ಲುದು. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದಲೇ ಈ ಕೃತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತು ಮತ್ತು ಹಾಡು, ಪೂಜೆ ಮತ್ತು ನೃತ್ಯ ಹೊಂದಿಕೊಂಡಿವೆ. ಒಂದರ ಪರಿಣಾಮ, ಇನ್ನೊಂದಕ್ಕೆ ನೆರವಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಬಯಲಾಟದ ಮೇಳ, ಮಾತು, ಕುಣಿತಗಳನ್ನುಳ್ಳ ಈ ಕೃತಿ ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕನನ್ನು ನಮ್ಮ ಜಾನಪದ ಪರಂಪರೆಯ ಶೋಧನೆಗೆ ತೊಡಗಿಸುವಂತೆಯೇ, ಪ್ರೇಕ್ಷಕ ತನ್ನ ಬದುಕಿನ ಮುಖ್ಯ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಕೇಳಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತದೆ.

ಪಿ.ಲಂಕೇಶ್

ಜೋಕುಮಾರಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಜಾನಪದ ರಂಗಭೂಮಿಯ ಪರಿಕರಗಳನ್ನು ಅಳವಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಯಾದ ಒಂದು ರೋಮಾಂಚಕಾರಿ ಆಧುನಿಕ ನಾಟಕ. ಅದು ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿಗೆ ರವೀಂದ್ರ ಕಲಾಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದ ಬಯಲು ರಂಗಭೂಮಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರತ್ಯಕ್ಷವಾದಾಗ ಅದರ ಮಾಂತ್ರಿಕ ಶಕ್ತಿಗೆ ನಾನು ದಂಗು ಬಡಿದುಹೋದೆ. ಅದರ ಮನಮೋಹಕ ಸಂಗೀತ. ಕಣ್ಣು ತಣಿಸುವ ಧೀರತೇಜಸ್ಸಿನಿಂದ ಕೂಡಿದ ದೃಶ್ಯಭಾಗಗಳು ಈಗಲೂ ನನ್ನ ನೆನಪಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಹಚ್ಚಹಸುರಾಗಿವೆ. ಕಣ್ಣು ಕಿವಿಗಳ ಮೇಲೆ ಏನೆಲ್ಲ ದಾಳಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಈ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಹ ಇವನ್ನು ನೆನದಾಗ ನಾನು ಪರವಶನಾಗುತೇನೆ.

ಎನ್‌.ಎಸ್. ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮೀನಾರಾಯಣ ಭಟ್ಟ

ಉತ್ತರ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಬಯಲಾಟದಂತಿರುವ ’ಜೋಕುಮಾರ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ’ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿಗರಿಗೆ ದೊರೆತಂಥ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ರಸಕವಳ. ’ಸಮೃದ್ಧಿ ದೇವರಾ’ದ ’ಜೋಕುಮಾರ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ’ಯ ಈ ಆನಂದೋದ್ರೇಕದ ನಾಟಕ ಗೌಡ, ಬಂಜೆಯಾದ ಗೌಡತಿ, ಹೊಲದ ಬಸಣ್ಣ, ಊರಿನ ಸೂಳೆ, ಚೆಲುವೆ ಹೆಣ್ಣು ನಿಂಗಿ ಇವರುಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ಹೆಣೆದ ಪ್ರಸಂಗ. ಉಳುವವನೆ ಹೊಲದೊಡೆಯ ಆದರೆ ಪ್ರೀತಿ ಇದ್ದವನೇ ಗಂಡ ಏಕಾಗಬಾರದು ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರತಿ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ ಕೇಳಿರುವ ಈ ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೂತ್ರಧಾರನಾಗಿ ಕಂಬಾರ, ಮೇಳದವನಾಗಿ ಬಿ.ವಿ.ಕಾರಂತ್‌ಸೇರಿದ್ದು ಹಾಡು, ಚುರುಕು ಸಂಭಾಷೆಗಳ ಸುಗ್ಗಿ ಸುಗ್ಗಿಯಾಗಿತ್ತು. ’ಡಂ ಡಂ’ ದೇವರ ನೆರವಿನಿಂದ ಹೊಲ ಹೆಣ್ಣುಗಳನ್ನು ತನ್ನದು ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಗೌಡನ ಪಾತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಗಿರೀಶ್ ಕಾರ್ನಾಡರ ಉತ್ತಮ ಅಭಿನಯ ನಾಟಕದ ಸ್ವಾರಸ್ಯ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿತು

ಪ್ರಜಾವಾಣಿ (೨೦ ಫೆಬ್ರವರಿ ೧೯೭೨)

Here is a play in modern times cast in an ancient mould. The form chosen by the dramatist is the Bayalaata – a kind of folkplay which has been in vogue in Karnataka for centuries. This is a form with an oral tradition, and, as Dr. Kambar himself has said in a paper, begins in worship and ends in worship. Jokumara is a deity who is associated with fertility in folklore. He is represented as lusting after women and losing hi life as a result. The stories connected with him have been variously interpreted; they are probably mythic representations of the seed sprouting.

Two things seem to me remarkable about Dr. Kambar’s work – the first, that he has successfully cast into an old mould the modern rejection of feudalism, and the second that the play communicates the joy of love and life, while presenting vividly exploitation and sterile tyranny. Indeed, the play ends tragically with the death of the young and brave Basanna, and yet the play communicates the loveliness and joy of life.

Like the classical Bayalaata, ‘Jokumaraswamy’ presents the timeless conflict between good and evil. The Gowda represents Evil, Basanna and the Gowdithi (the Gowda’s wife) represent Goodness. But the dramatist has carried the symbolism a step further, and this has the effect of deepening the significance of the fable. Evil is associated with sterility and goodness with fertility. The Gowda is the ruthless tyrant, who lends money only to ruin the simple folk, and even gets people murdered for the sake of their land. And his boast of conquests in endless and shameless; yet he is impotent, and all his boast is meant only to cover this defect. His wife yearns for a child, but it is only Basanna who can fulfill her desire. So the frame of the story of the God of Fertility is related to the story of the mortals. The first part of the play narrates the story of Jokumaraswamy, and thus foreshadows the tragic end. But folk art is generally full of vigour and is characterized by faith in the victory of the forces of life, and the defeat of the forces of destruction. Ii is characterized by a robust acceptance of life. In ‘Jokumaraswamy’, Basanna is killed, but the Gowdithi – who also stands for the acceptance of the joys of life – carries his child in her womb. Also, Feudalism gets associated with sterility, and the independent farmer with plenty. Secondly, the play succeeds in asserting in terms of drama (and not merely by symbolism) the essential worth and beauty of life. The story of Jokumaraswamy narrated at the beginning by the Sutradhara and the Himmela is neither a happy nor an edifying tale. But the content itself gets balanced against the tone – the tone of bantering and of enjoyed suggestions of obscenity. The liveliness and the banter take away the sting of the story itself. The story of the rustic mortals does not gloss over the evil and suffering in life. The Gowda is never absent from our minds even when he is not physically present, for the dialogue returns to him time and again, and, because of the first dramatic entry he makes, he is for every associated with the gun in our minds. So the presence of evil and destruction is felt throughout the play. And Gurya is tormented and humiliated, and the Gowdithi ill – treated in the course of the action. Basanna dies and the Gowdithi has to flee for her life, and that of the child in her womb. But song and dance and lively dialogue create and atmosphere of joy and activity. The thrust of poetry, music and dance makes itself felt. The prostitute of  the village is skillfully drawn into the action, and in a sense identified with the Gowdithi in her desire for children and the worship of Jokumaraswamy. A feature of the play which merits comment is its power of fixing a character in the mind by means of simple visually rendered situations-as, for example, the entrance of the Gowda with a gun borne before him, or of Gurya squatting and bending to serve as seat for the traant.

The fight for the land and the flight for the woman are united significantly, and word, spectacle, music and dance blend to embody the joy of life, the sterility of Evil and the glad renewal of the Good.

L.S. Sheshagiri Rao 

Delightful Kannada Drama

Chandrasekhar Kambar’s Kannada play “Jokumaraswamy” presented today as part of the Sangeet Natak Academi’s theatre festival at Kamani Auditorium is a fascinating and delightful folk drama. The engrossing theatre traditions of rural folk of the North Kannada region of Mysore come alive in this modern play cast in the mould of the region’s Bayalata form.

The show can be called a ballet or a pantomime or a dance-drama or a musical play or a purposeful contemporary play because it has many ingredients of all these forms. People sing in tune and swing in rhythm to portray and kind of emotion. The popular slogan ’tiller is the owner of the land’ is given an ironic delineation through a clever interpretation of ‘Sexual fruitfulness’. Feudal atrocities and the inescapable results of protest are presented through a blending of words and music, dance and worship……… Right from the ritualistic invocation till the draw of curtains it is a superb display of histrionics marked by wit, reparte, argument and action.

The Time of Inida
December 30, 1972

Chandrasekhar Kambar’s Kannada folk play ‘Jokumaraswamy’ was one of the most exciting presented during the Akademi Theatre Festival at the Kamani Auditorium last week. Within the North Karnataka region’s folk form. Bayalata, the director has incorporated a variety of stylistic techniques ranging from the Tamasha of Maharastra to Brechtian alionation, where is music, dance, mime and prose dialogue is used in a manner which makes the play essentially modern without in any way detracting from its rustic verve. Through the symbol of sexual fertility the theme reveals a very real social problem of property and ownership : does the tiller own the land or the landlord.

Kavita Nagpal
The Hindustan Times
January 2, 1973

ಕಂಬಾರರು ಕನ್ನಡದ ರಂಗಭೂಮಿಗೆ ಮಳೆ ತಂದ ಋಷ್ಯಶೃಂಗರು. ಹಾಡುಗಳೆಂದರೆ ಕಂಪನಿ ಹಾಡುಗಳೆಂದು ಮಾತ್ರ ಅರ್ಥವಿದ್ದಾಗ ಮೊಟ್ಟಮೊದಲಿಗೆ ’ತೊಡಗಿಸುವ’ ’ಗತ್ಯಾತ್ಮಕ’ ಹಾಡುಗಳ ನಾಟಕ ಬರೆದ ಕಂಬಾರರ ಕವಿ ಸಾಮರ್ಥ್ಯದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನನಗಂತೂ ತುಂಬಾ ಗೌರವ, ಭಯ, ಅಸೂಯೆ. ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಟಕಕಾರ ಮತ್ತೆ ಕವಿಯೆನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾನೆ ಕಂಬಾರರ ಮೂಲಕ. ಅವರ ಜೋಕುಮಾರಸ್ವಾಮಿಯನ್ನು ನಾನು ಹುಡುಕಿದೆನೋ ಅಥವಾ ಜೋಕುಮಾರಸ್ವಾಮಿ ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಿದನೋ-ನನಗಂತೂ ಅದರ ಪ್ರಯೋಗ ಕ್ರಿಯೆ ಯೂರೇಕಾ ಅನ್ನುವಂಥಾ ಸರಳ ಅನುಭವ.

ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೇ ಅಲ್ಲ, ಇಡೀ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಂಬಾರರಷ್ಟು ತೀವ್ರವಾಗಿ ನೆಲದ ವಾಸನೆ ತುಂಬಿಕೊಂಡು ಜತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನವ್ಯತೆ ಆಧುನಿಕತೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮೈಗೂಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವ ಸೃಜನಶೀಲ ನಾಟಕಕಾರ ಸಿಗುವುದು ದುರ್ಲಭ.

ನನ್ನ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯದಲ್ಲಿ ದೇಶದ ಇಂದಿನ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ನಾಟಕಕಾರರ ನಡುವೆ ಕಂಬಾರರು ಅದ್ವಿತೀಯರು. ಅವರ ಜಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಇನ್ನೊಬ್ಬರನ್ನು ಯೋಚಿಸುವುದು ನನಗಂತೂ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ.

ಬಿ.ವಿ.ಕಾರಂತ

I feel that your play is one of the freshest plays in recent times and the equation of the political philosophy with the sexual is a perceptive brilliant stroke. Many have hovered around the idea but none could express it in such marvelous theatrical terms.

Sathyadev Dubey