Senior Yakshagana artist Puttur Sridhara Bhandary, known for performing “pundu veshas”, passed away at his residence in Puttur in Dakshina Kannada on Friday. He was 75 and is survived by wife, three daughters, and a son.
Hailing from a family of Yakshagana artists, he had learnt Bharatanatyam and had adapted certain steps in Yakshagana dance.
A recipient of the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, he had performed in Yakshagana shows in London, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Japan, and in ‘Akka’ sammelana in the United States.
Mr. Bhandary who was a professional artist for about six decades, performed mainly in the century-old Dharmasthala mela for about four decades. He founded the touring troupe called Mahalingeshwara mela, Puttur, and managed it for about seven years. Mr. Bhandary also managed the Kantavara mela for about three years.
An artist of Tenku Thittu school of Yakshagana, he was known for performing roles such as Abhimanyu, Sri Krishna, Babruvahana, and Parashurama. In virtual ‘maatina mantapa’ interview programme conducted by Karnataka Yakshagana Academy in October 2020, he said he had performed the role of ‘Abhimanyu’ for more than 2,000 times.
Condoling his death, M. Gangadhar Rao and Murali Kadekar, president and secretary of Yakshagana Kalaranga, Udupi, said Mr. Bhandary had entered into Yakshagana when he was aged 10. He was an exceptionally talented artist.