Chennai theatre veteran Mithran no more
With the passing away of Mithran Devanesan, Chennai has lost one of its best-known figures in the English theatre scene. In a life in theatre spanning over 35 years, Mithran directed around 150 plays, and was involved in one capacity or another in at least 350 productions.
Born in Sri Lanka in 1952, Mithran joined the Madras Players in 1974. He acquired a reputation as a talented director and an expert set designer quickly. Around ten years ago, he founded his own theatre group, MTC Productions. Among the well-known plays he directed were ‘Midnight Hotel’, ‘Funny Money’, ‘Anna Weiss’, ‘Seven Steps Around the Fire’ and ‘Dance Like a Man’.
In 2006, he directed ‘The Shadow Box’ for The Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Fest, a play which was very well received.
Over the years, a number of plays staged for the Fest relied on his sets.
What he was possibly most proud about was The Anjar Project, a non-Government organisation that takes care of some 500 underprivileged city children, and helps run a shelter for battered women.
Says Indrani Krishnaiyer, who acted in about a dozen of his plays: “Mithran was the most dynamic theatre director I have worked with. He was willing to see the actors’ point of view and bring out the best in each of them. He had the ability to read a script, and almost instantly visualise the entire play in his head.”
According to Mohammed Yusuf, actor: “Mithran gave every actor space to explore his/her role and improve it.”