Come August, and Janmashtami, and coastal Karnataka comes alive with the beat of drums and the pomp and colour associated with ‘hulivesha’. Young boys and older men, some even in their 70s, walk on streets painted like tigers and go from home to home or gather in a common place and dance their hearts out with feline grace.
Hulivesha has featured in quite a few Kannada films, most recently in the multiple award-winning Ulidavaru Kandanthe and Ondalla Eradalla, which bagged two National Awards. Ulidavaru (2014) which won the State Film Awards for Best Debut Director (Rakshit Shetty) and Best Music Director (Ajaneesh Lokanath), immersed its story in the goings-on around Janmashtami in the coastal village of Malpe, near Udupi, where amid all the frenetic dancing, a crime is about to take place. The tiger dance sequence from the film is hugely popular.
And, on August 23, the film’s director and actor Rakshit Shetty posted a video on Facebook and Twitter of him dancing along with those performing hulivesha. “Some things in life aren’t really planned, they just find a way to fall into place. Krishna Janmasthami is one of those things in my life. Every year I end up in Udupi for Krishna Janmashtami without even planning for it. Dancing to these beats has always been a bliss since my childhood. I’ve been doing it for Krishna Janmasthami in Udupi for years now and I haven’t gotten over it at all(sic),” he wrote on Facebook. Wearing a blue full-sleeved tee and a pair of jeans, the actor was all grace and energy.
Dancing to these beats has always been a bliss since my childhood. I’ve been doing it for Krishna Janmasthami in Udupi for years now and I haven’t gotten over it at all.A D V E R T I S E M E N T
— Rakshit Shetty (@rakshitshetty) August 23, 2019
Here’s another video from the film that bears striking similarity to Rakshit’s dance in Udupi.
On the work front, Rakshit Shetty is busy with two hugely-expected movies Avane Srimannarayana and 777 Charlie.
In Ondalla Eradalla, Sameera (Rohith Pandavapura, who won Best Child Actor at the National Awards) ends up being dressed as a cow, is afraid of the tiger-like dancers and runs to escape, only to find sanctuary with another hulivesha artiste. That segment is one of the more moving portions in the film, which also bagged the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.
Watch the song here: