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Gowri Ramnarayan’s “Land of The Free”

Politics at play



‘Land of the Free’ will be staged at Museum Theatre

The Madras Players and Just Us Repertory present the play ‘Land Of The Free’. Based on the novel Sutantira Bhumi by Indira Parthasarathy, the play has been adapted into English and is written, directed and designed by Gowri Ramnarayan.

In the dirty game of politics, do the ends justify the means? Can a leader strive to realise the ideal without resorting to shoddy compromise? These central questions haunt the play set in India’s political heartland, New Delhi. It chronicles the rise of a Tamil greenhorn, an Economics graduate named Mukundan who goes from being a cook to being the country’s Home Minister. It simultaneously spotlights kingmaker Sunderlal Mishra, Member of Parliament and former English professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, whose protégés number Mukundan and his love interest, the ambitious Sarla Bhargava.

Fusing the personal with the political, the play navigates land scams, police brutality, and political shakedowns at national, state, and local levels, revealing high-stakes corporate shenanigans, media manipulation, and endemic corruption that reaches all the way to the top.

On adapting the novel, Gowri Ramnarayan says, “Sutantira Bhumi deals with basic human questions that have always troubled me: greed, selfishness, apathy, manipulation, exploitation and wilful blindness. In Parthasarathy’s novel, political corruption is only a symptom of the corruption that riddles the mind, bankrupts the soul. Writing the play was to ask myself many questions about survival in a world where might seems right.”

The play features P.C. Ramakrishna, Varun Aiyer, Sunanda Ragunathan, T.M. Karthik, Shankar Sundaram, M.V. Narasimhachari, Akhila Ramnarayan, Nand Menon, Aarabi Veeraraghavan and Shruthi Atmaram. It will be staged at the Museum Theatre, Egmore, on September 7, 8 and 10. Donor passes are priced at Rs. 400, Rs. 250 and Rs. 150. For reservations call 93819 11977 / 98400 80783 or book online on http://www.indianstage.in (098800 36611).

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