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“Doosra” – Hindu write up

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Shraddha, the theatre team which made waves with ‘Dhanushkodi,’ is back with its second production, ‘Dhoosra.’

REHEARSAL: The sets designed for Dhoosra and the Shraddha team discussing the script.

After their maiden production, ‘Dhanushkodi,’ lived up to the buzz it created, Shraddha returns with its next novel attempt. “We’ve zeroed in on another creator whose subject spells innovation,” says TDS, an active member of the group. “Enough of mother-in-law-daughter-in-law squabbles, and extra-marital affairs. We are keen to introduce hitherto untold themes,” elaborates Shivaji Chaturvedi.

Asking what ‘Dhoosra’s all about, could be too rudimentary. The term has become a part of the cricketing lingo, in recent years. “Yes, it’s about cricket, and the characters take the tale forward. Playwright Ananda Raghav has woven an interesting yarn which has sentiment, humour, emotion, cricketing frenzy and fire-and-brimstone politics,” chorus the two.

“And despite the various changes brought into cricket and the arbitrariness associated with it, from street corners to stadia it’s still a game that rocks the nation,” laughs Shivaji.

Writer-director Vivek Shankar had provided them with a wonderful script that made ‘Dhanushkodi’ an unforgettable experience. Will Ananda Raghav deliver in similar fashion? “It’ll surely be a draw,” assures TDS. “And it’s going to be a great production,” adds ‘Delhi’ Ganesh, who enters with a grin just then. “All the actors have ample scope to perform.”

“As I told you, Shraddha isn’t a troupe. It’s an organisation, and for it to grow we need stalwarts such as Ganesh joining us,” TDS pitches in. At Shraddha, it is the writer who picks the cast. The others work back stage. In fact, TDS who played a pivotal role in ‘Dhanushkodi,’ and Shivaji who made a one-scene appearance in it aren’t acting in ‘Dhoosra.’

A challenge

“Unfortunately, I missed watching ‘Dhanushkodi’ and when I heard about it later I told them to include me in their next venture. So here I am,” smiles ‘Delhi’ Ganesh.

But with his hectic shooting schedules in films and soaps, time management must be quite a task. “Luckily for me this month I’m comparatively less busy, so I’m on time for rehearsals. The role isn’t easy because I watch cricket and that’s it. But I’m supposed to be an erstwhile cricketer. TDS takes the life out of me, teaching me the nuances of the game,” laughs Ganesh. The veteran’s one-liners throughout the interaction has me in splits.

“TDS is mentoring me too,” butts in Swami. The young man plays the Indian team captain, who sees highs and lows in his career. Swami is from Seattle, but he’s come down for good now. “He’s is sure to impress. He’s playing a fabulous character and he knows cricket,” volunteers ‘Delhi’ Ganesh. Girish, the policeman in ‘Dhanushkodi,’ is a part of ‘Dhoosra’ too. Girish, a Keralite, is employed as hotel manager, plays significant roles in serials such as ‘Anupallavi,’is part of Chennai’s Malayalam stage and still finds time for Shraddha. “Theatre is my passion,” he says.

Assortment of talent

‘Kathadi’ Ramamurthy is another value addition of ‘Dhoosra.’ “The role is tailor-made for him,” guffaws TDS. “And Geetha Jayaraman, who’s in the senior managerial cadre with Sathyam and holds a doctorate in Physics is on board,” says Shivaji. You also have the much-experienced Yuvasri in the cast. “‘I’ll kill you if you don’t give me a role in your next play,’ she threatened me after watching ‘Dhanushkodi,’” Shivaji chuckles.

Technical expertise is a prerequisite for ‘Dhoosra’ that will showcase several places of action simultaneously on stage. Like last time the sets have been designed by Krishnamurthy and Ramesh of Mayapuri Graphics, and deftly executed by Kannan, who has been in the business for four decades. “Music and voice-overs play a crucial part — Guhaprasad is in charge of them. And as the story traces a 15-year travel, Perumal Babu’s make-up is vital too. Without such support, ‘Dhoosra’ will not be possible,” says Shivaji.

The one and half hour play will begin at the stroke of 7 (evening) on January 25, 26, 27 and 28, after which Shraddha will move on to its next project. As entry is by invitation, get yours by calling 98402 08583 or 044-2827 2655.

“‘Dhoosra’ is bound to impact … people now know that Shraddha is synonymous with quality,” ‘Delhi’ Ganesh’s comment, kindles my curiosity further.

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