50 yr old Yakshagana Artiste Chandrahasa Hudugodu Collapses & Dies while Performing on Stage

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50 yr old Yakshagana artiste Chandrahasa Hudugodu Collapses & Dies while performing on a stage near Byndoor in Udupi district

Mangaluru: Chandrahasa Hudugodu, a Yakshagana artiste, died while performing on the stage near Byndoor in Udupi district at about 11.30 p.m. on Sunday night, March 10. It is learnt that Hudugodu, 50, was also the president of Hadinabalu Gram Panchayat, near Honnavara, in Uttara Kannada district. The mela had invited Hudugodu to perform as a guest artiste in Yeljit-Painadi village near Byndoor.

According to sources, he was performing the role of Salva in “Bheeshma Vijaya” episode in Jalavalli Yakshagana Mela (which is a touring troupe) when he collapsed due to suspected cardiac arrest. Though he was immediately shifted to a hospital in Byndoor, he could not be saved. His son Pradeep had accompanied the father to the show. The all-night performance was called off later.

Born in 1969, Hudugodu began his career in Yakshagana in the Bacchagar troupe of Shunti Satyanarayana Bhat. He along with other two artistes-Thumbri Bhaskara and Jalavalli Madhava Nayak had started their Yakshagana career together. Chandrahasa later got associated himself with Saligrama and other Yakshagana troupes. He was very well-versed in playing antagonist roles like Kaurava, Kartyaveeya, Salva and Kichaka.

Hudugodu, a professional artiste in Saligrama Yakshagana Mela had quit it about four years ago to perform as a guest artiste in different melas of Badagu Thittu (northern) school of Yakshagana on invitation. He had floated Kalashree Natya Tanda, Hudugodu, Honnavara which was a group of amateur Yakshagana artistes. Its artistes used to present short-duration Yakshagana shows on invitation.


Meantime, he also entered the politics to become the president of the panchayat. He was well known for performing the characters such as Salva, Keechaka, Kaurava, Karthaveerya and the like. Earlier, noted Yakshagana artistes like Keremane Shambhu Hegde, Siriyara Manju Naika, Gerukatte Gangayya Shetty had also died while performing on the stage. With the death of Hudugodu Chandrahasa, the Yakshagana field has lost one more jewel.

With inputs from The Hindu

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1 Comment

  1. (1) WHO – Fact sheet No 258: Occupational and Community Noise , February 2001:

    Prolonged or excessive exposure to noise, whether in the community or at work, can cause permanent medical conditions, such as hypertension and ischaemic heart disease.
    (2) WHO – Burden of disease from environmental noise – 2011:
    Wolfgang Babisch
    Rokho Kim

    Epidemiological studies suggest a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure and myocardial infarction, in people chronically exposed to high levels of road or air traffic noise.
    At least 3 Yakshagana artistes have died within the last 4-5 years. This is the 2nd death of a Yakshagana artiste on stage during a performance within the last 4 -5 years.

    In my humble opinion, as a lay person, these deaths may have occurred due to a combination of: heavily clad costumes not allowing any ventilation through the clothing; heavy painting of the facial skin not allowing sweating of the skin; exposure to very high decibel levels of the loudspeakers for almost 6 -9 hrs continuously during each performance; exposure to regular (at least 4 to 5 per hour)bursting of very high decibel fire-cracker bombs also for almost 6 – 9 hrs continuously during each performance; atmospheric heat (particularly between mid -Feb upto the onset of the monsoons in June) & high humidity levels; additional heat from high intensity stage lighting; fatigue from the increased numbers of performances (as compared to earlier periods of normality) ; fatigue from physical exertion during the performance; possible existent illnesses; lack of sleep.

    Therefore, I feel these performances must be conducted only inside an AC’ed hall with controlled temp and decibel levels.

    In the “modern” loudspeaker(LS) era, Yakshaganas can be heard upto 2 kms away – both the LS’s and the firecracker bombs. These bombs are so loud they can startle anybody and give someone a heart attack even at a distance of 40 ft away.

    Further reading:

    Study of association between noise levels and stress in traffic policemen of Bengaluru city
    Kavana G. Venkatappa, M.S. Vinutha Shankar
    Department of Physiology, AJ Institute of Medical Science, Kuntikana, Mangalore, Karnataka, India.
    *Department of Physiology, Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College, Sri Devaraj Urs University, Tamaka, Kolar, Karnataka, India.

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