A cop who dons many caps
By Prajwala Hegde - BANGALORE
05th November 2012 08:55 AM
As an eight-year-old, Ramachandra once sneaked into the factory behind his house to watch a play rehearsal by a bunch of factory workers.
Little did he realise that the moment would have a lasting impact on his life.
Today, Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Kabbadi Ramachandra (The name ‘Kabbadi’ comes from his love for the sport) is a familiar face when you walk around Commercial Street.
You will find him busy controlling traffic and penalising violators during the day and in the evening, he slips into a character as he gets on to the stage.
His deep voice convinces you that he can do justice while enacting the legendary heroes and mythological characters.
Kabbadi Ramachandra was awarded the Karnataka Nataka Academy award last month, which is given for contribution to the field of Kannada theatre
“During my childhood in Bhadravathi, the first play I watched was ‘Satya Harishchandra’ in which my father played the part of Narada. Later, even I went on to play the role of Harishchandra’s son Lohitaswa.”
How did he learn acting? “Back then, there was no TV or radio. I learnt watching my father, who was a full-time artiste though he worked in the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant.”
Ramachandra has acted in plays, contemporary social dramas and even television in his 35-year-old acting career.
He acted in a serial on DD9 Chandana from 1984-95. Later, he went on to start his own drama company called ‘Kalavidhara Balaga’ which has produced and staged more than 45 plays so far, of which almost 40 plays have won different prizes.
The plays include Dakshayagna, Sambhavami Yuge Yuge, Mahiraavana, Prachanda Ravana, Kamhasura, Rakhta Ratri, Samanta Panchama Kshetra, Paaduka Patakkibhisheka among others.
How does he manage to balance his demanding job with his passion for theatre? “I joined the Police Department (Law and Order) 34 years ago as a constable. Back then I managed to take time off for rehearsals. I used to do 11 to 12 plays in a year. Once I got promoted to ASI in 2007, it became a little difficult to balance both. I can’t take leave very often. Many times I rehearse at work during lunch hours and my colleagues are also supportive. I practice for at least 2 hours everyday.”
Sports is his other passion. He had represented the Karnataka Police at the State-level Kabbadi tournament many times and later went on to play in the National level too. He cleared the National level Referee exam in 1994 and has been associated with the Basavangudi Kabaddi Samsthe for the last three decades.
Does he manage to spend enough time back home? He smiles and says,“My family has in fact been my biggest strength.
I am in this position today because of my wife Varalaksmi and my 2 kids.” His wife, who he claims is his biggest critic, is an accounts officer with BESCOM.
As of now, he is trying to take time off to rehearse for his upcoming play which will be staged at Nagamangala, Mandya in the beginning of next year.
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