Tamilarasan Theatre’s “Rahu Kethu”
From ‘Rahu Ketu’
Those who believe in astrology would have liked Tamizharasan Theatres’ play ‘Rahu-Kethu, ’ directed by D. Balasundaram and staged at the Mylapore Fine Arts. Those who do not believe in astrology could still have found it interesting as one of those colourful yarns Hindu mythology abounds in.
The play is about how an asura, who acquires immortality, is beheaded and takes two forms and becomes Rahu and Kethu, the shadow planets.
Usually plays by Tamizharasan Theatres have some good special effects, but this time, there weren’t many, and the few that were there, were not up to scratch. One could clearly see the thread from which the severed head of the demon prince was kept suspended, which totally spoilt the effect of a disembodied head speaking. The desire to present a novel theme is understandable, but when it comes to presenting a mythological on stage, it would be wise to go in for a lively story. In this sense, their earlier play ‘Narasimhar’ scored.
At the end of the play, one’s sympathies lay with the asuras. The celestials looked smug, and one couldn’t help feeling sorry for the asura king Viprasiddhi, who had lost his son to the duplicity of the celestials. It was not made clear why the asura prince had been beheaded. What wrong had he done? There is cause-effect logic even in mythological stories, and the reason for the beheading should have been explained better.
The astrologer in the play says that the Kurma (tortoise) avatara was the only one, in which protection, not destruction was the purpose. This is a complete misunderstanding of the avataras. All the avataras were for the protection of God’s devotees, and for the establishment of dharma. The Narasimha avatara, for example, was taken not so much for the slaying of Hiranyakasipu but to demonstrate to the world that the Lord will come to the rescue of His devotees, as He did in the case of Prahlada.