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The Story of Raayakote 1858

A play in Kannada about the incidents which shook Rayokote in 1858. The story of broken heart, betrayal, murder, conspiracy and mystery.

The East India Company was spreading its tentacles in southern India weakening and winning over the small territories and kingdoms. British had employed many Indians into their army and they were called Sipoy or Siphahi’s. The Rayakotta fort was their priced possession and was still mapping and documenting the area after their victory. The story happens in 1855 when a British officer Sir Ronald McCoy was posted to survey and map the whole territory. There is a young and talented Indian Subeidar Rajavardhana, from his regiment with whom Mary falls in love. They marry in Indian tradition and it is not accepted by Ronald & plots to get him killed, since he doesn’t want to get hit hands dirty & make Mary upset of his actions. He sends him with 4 other Sipoy’s inside the fort and as per his plot no one returns. The haunted fort from then on killed every one who ventures inside & the midnight screams of “where is my family” continued. Two new sentries get posted at the fort & they consider Rajavardhana as their fallen leader. They interrogate the murder & figure out that Mary is now in Raya Vellore living in memory of his love. The way they figure out the murder is the crux of the play.

Direction, Conceptualisation & Ideation: P D Sathish Chandra

Directors Note

I happen to be an avid reader of Indian history from my school days and off late have been following Rare Book Society of India and their captivating stories from History. This particular story of the Raykotta Fort captivated my attention and it fascinated my imagination to another level. After many sleepless nights I finally conceptualised a play and discussed with my team. We at Pra.Ka.Sam after our successful horror venture “13 Margosa Mahal” were looking for another production which is slightly more serious and realistic. This stuck like a knife on the bull's-eye and we unanimously agreed to create a play around it. The original concept was the theme of the play but to introduce dramatic vanity we introduced a small love story and completed the story line. This am sure would be the greatest creative adventure, we at Pra.Ka.Sam have encountered so far.

What I have noted largely in the past five years is that there is a fixed set of audiences for both Kannada & English theatre productions. Wherever there is a production we have the same set of audiences watching the play at different venues and more than 70% of the audience is repeated. This is not an encouraging development for healthy theatre, as we are not adding new audiences. This also stands out as the main difference between theatre in Bangalore and in other theatre-rich cities. As an old school theatre enthusiast, just mentioning or discussing this point was not enough for me. I felt a need and desire to do something about bringing back the masses into theatre. I was once advised by an avid theater lover who quoted "other large theatre groups are staging the same old Shakespeare, Karnad, Karanth and the likes. Why cant anyone or even you for that matter bring in a change??"  My discussions with various theatre groups and eminent personalities led me to figure out a way for myself, so started Pra.Ka.Sam & my productions to be staged at KH Kala Soudha & around the state.

P D Sathish Chandra


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