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The Prabhat Kalavidaru Ensemble

The Prabhat Kalavidaru Ensemble includes a selection of ballets and plays on subjects varying from mythology to fantasy. The ballets by Prabhat Kalavidaru are an amalgamation of India's rich dancing heritage. The plays portray the unmistakable magic of Indian drama. Music for all Prabhat Kalavidaru creations has been specially composed by renowned stalwarts. The dances have also been personally choreographed be reputed Dance Gurus. Special emphasis has been laid on the research of the subjects to provide an authentic and enriching experience for the audience.


Inspired by the fascinating myths and legends of India, Prabhat Kalavidaru explores the sophistication of Indian mythology. Vedic and Puranic stories from the great Indian epic 'Mahabharata' have been transformed into spellbinding extravaganzas on stage.


From the engaging battle of King Porus against the great Alexander to the captivating wizardry of literary geniuses like Pampa and Raghavenka, Prabhat Kalavidaru weaves its magic to recreate the amazing history of India


In the forever land of fairy tales and fables, the mind rides on everlasting moments of fantasy. Prabhat Kalavidaru recreated these moments and transports you beyond the realm of imagination. This delightful selection can be thoroughly enjoyed by adults and children alike.


Circa 1930. In the homely precincts of Tumkur, a small town in Karnataka, India, four revolutionaries in search of freedom for their motherland embark on an exploration of expression. Their unflinching desire to be free from the shackles of colonialism and social evils gives birth to a unique theater workshop. The struggle for the freedom becomes the guiding mantra. The abundant talents of Vidwan Gopinathdas, Vidwan Jayasimhadas and Pandit Dwarkanath ignite the stage, day after day. The seeds of Prabhat Kalavidaru are sown.


The creation of Prabhat Kalavidaru has a distinct resemblance to a symphony in mid stream. Prabhat Kalavidaru was not created in a single day. In fact, it evolved over many decades. In some ways, the evolution of Prabhat Kalavidaru heralded a cultural renaissance in Karnataka. Distinct contributions from artists, writers, musicians, technicians and theatre lovers moulded the character of this vintage theatre group. From captivating plays to vibrant dance-dramas, Prabhat Kalavidaru imbibed the various theatre, dance and folk traditions and presented them in its own inimitable style. Today, after several momentous decades, Prabhat Kalavidaru continues to evolve. The process of creativity has not ebbed. The search for new pinnacles continues. THE PLAYERS Prabhat Kalavidaru is a creative assemblage of highly talented and well trained dancers, actors, singers, choreographers and technicians. The Prabhat Team, based in Bangalore has created over 20 ballets on a wide spectrum of subjects. The team also has the unique distinction of giving over one lakh performances to packed audiences all over the world.


Prabhat Kalavidaru was created in 1930 by a group of four brothers Gopinath Dasa, Karigiri Dasa, Jaisimha Dasa, and Dwarakanath who hailed from a traditional Brahmin family and were Harikatha exponents.[4][5] The group was named Gururaja Orchestra and Nataka Mandali and was based in Tumkur.[6] Later, financial trouble and the quest for a larger audience brought the family to Bangalore. Gopinath Dasa, regarded as the de facto leader of the group, incorporated new technologies in the performances and this helped draw large audiences. Rather than just being narrative, the plays incorporated themes from dances and folk traditions which was different than what was offered by the traditional drama troupes and this is considered an important reason for their success.[4] The group was renamed Prabhat Kalavidaru in the year 1942. One of the first troupes to present Indian classical dance forms in the form of ballet, historians opine that the emergence of Prabhat Kalavidaru also heralded a cultural renaissance in the state of Karnataka. Some of the well-known artists of Kannada cinema like C. R. Simha, Srinath, Manjula and Lokesh started their careers with Prabhat Kalavidaru. Initially, many of the artists and technicians involved in the performances belonged to the founding family and at one point there were as many as 60 members of the family, spanning four generations who were actively involved.[4] Now many people from outside the family are also involved in the affairs of the troupe. [edit]Ballets Prabhat Kalavidaru has produced about 20 ballets; some of which are Mohini Bhasmasura, Karnataka Vaibhava, Kindari Jogi, Rama Pratiksha, and Punyakoti. Lot of experimentation is involved in enacting these dramas like amalgamating Western dance forms with Indian classical dance forms to create some sort of a fusion dance style and also using special lighting techniques to enhance the appeal of the drama.[5] Prabhat Kalavidaru were one of first theatre groups in India to introduce pre-recorded dialogues and lip-synchronisation. To compose songs and music for their plays, the troupe had built a small recording studio in their house itself. They also manufacture the masks, headgear, shields, swords, silk and velvet costumes needed for the plays. Creation of a play is a complex task and it takes about two years and a budget of about Rs. 1 to 1.5 million ($25 to 35 thousand) for the group to produce a play. The troupe's most popular production to date is Cinderella which has been performed more than a thousand times. Initially staged as a musical, the drama has undergone changes with time and in the 1000th performance; new music, stage settings and lightings were used.[2] Though the artists involved have changed over the years, two performers, M S Shanthala and Subbanna, have the record of performing right from the first edition of Cinderella to the 1000th one.[7][2] However, Malathi Simha (Daughter of founding member - Dwarkanath Das) has performed more than 600 shows of Cinderella as Cinderella. [edit]Other activities Prabhat Kalavidaru also rents out the costumes, audio equipment and stage sets to other theatre groups and this is another source of income for them.[6] They also run a dance school which is headed by Hema Panchamukhi, a famous actress in Kannada Cinema and the granddaughter of the founder Gopinath Dasa. [edit]Current Scenario The family has split up currently and many members have settled in the United States. However, the group still stages plays and despite more outsiders getting involved in the production of the plays, the overall management is looked after by one of the family members. They recently created their website which has all the details of their performances.