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‘Chintamani’ ban: HC admits implead plea
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has raised its objection to the filing of several implead petitions on an exhibition of the Chintamani Natakam and said. “We might not be able to take up hearing on the main petition if we continue getting more petitions.”
Petitioner’s counsel Umesh Chandra submitted that the Chintamani play was being exhibited for more than 100 years and wondered how the whole play could be banned now on the ground that an objection has been raised against a character.
About Chintamani Play and Ban
Earlier this year, the Andhra Pradesh government banned a 100-year-old play named ‘Chintamani Padya Natakam’. The decision came months after the head of the Arya Vysya Mahasabha, M Dwarkanath, met Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and submitted a petition seeking a ban on the play.
The Arya Vysya community has been petitioning governments for several years to ban the play, saying it portrays them in a negative light. The play is exhibited across the state, mainly in rural areas, during festivals and fairs.
What is Chintamani Natakam?
‘Chintamani Padya Natakam’ was written in 1920 by playwright Kallakuri Narayana Rao, who was also a social reformer. The play is about Chintamani, a courtesan and a devotee of Lord Krishna, who finds salvation by singing bhajans. She is courted by Subbi Shetty, a businessman from the Arya Vysya community, who loses his wealth and family due to his attraction to Chintamani.
The original play had a social message, but over the years, it has been modified purely for entertainment.
What is the Arya Vysya community objecting to in the play?
Much of the play sees central character Subbi Shetty made fun of, especially for losing all his wealth to his vices.
Arya Vysya community leaders say the content and dialogues are offensive, and they are ridiculed about their appearance through the character, who is always portrayed as a short and dark-coloured person.