New Delhi, July 05, 2023.

South-India has a rich theatrical legacy. Among Karnataka’s many stalwarts was Girish Karnad who wrote his first play Yayati in Kannada in 1961. B. V. Karanth, the iconic director of the National School of Drama, set up Benaka, one of Bangalore’s oldest theatre groups.

Be it folk stories, social plays, experimental narratives or street performances, Telugu theatre too has always been diverse, responsive to the times it is created in and also rooted in tradition.

In cognisance of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana’s deep interest in literature, performing arts, and social issues, Zee Theatre now brings its rich repertoire of socially relevant themes to the Kannada and Telugu-speaking audience. Be it stories rich with emotion, historic narratives, suspense thrillers, legal dramas or socially relevant themes, audiences will be now able to see these teleplays (plays recorded for television) in Kannada and Telugu.

These teleplays address issues like gender violence, class struggle, patriarchy, and colourism and depict the stark contrast between the privileged and the marginalized.

Gunehgaar is about the fault lines in the justice system while Gudiya Ki Shaadi, Maa Retire Hoti Hai, Purush, and Ok Tata Bye Bye reveal different shades of patriarchy. Agnipankh explores feudalism while Sir Sir Sarla is about the social restrictions placed upon love. Rishton Ka Live Telecast and Shyam Ki Mummy are relatable family dramas. Internal Affairs is about contemporary relationships while Wrong Turn portrays the cycle of cause and effect in human lives. Court Martial addresses casteism and Sach Kahoon Toh is an intriguing legal thriller.

In these thoughtfully curated and archived plays, audiences in Karnataka, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh will also meet a wide range of relatable characters grappling with universal issues and conflicts.

Shailja Kejriwal, Chief Creative Officer – Special Projects, ZEE, says, “Theatre cannot be restricted to just one language. It is rooted in universal concerns and speaks to and for all human beings. This is one of the reasons why we have strategized to make our offerings accessible to culturally vibrant states like Karnataka, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh. We are trying to ensure that no linguistic barrier can restrict the reach of powerful teleplays like Court Martial and Purush or even a social comedy like Gudiya’ Ki Shaadi which is an incisive comment on sexism and patriarchy.”   

Even though the content will play in the original language, the subscribers have the power to switch from Hindi to the language (Kannada & Telugu) through their remote (Dish TV & D2h – Yellow Button; Airtel Digital TV & Tata Play – Blue Button).

These plays will be aired every Sunday at 2 pm and 8 pm starting from July 2023 in a segment titled, ‘South Special Theatre.’ The plays will be available on Tata Play Theatre in Kannada and on Airtel Theatre & Dish TV & D2H Rangmanch Active in Kannada as well as Telugu.