Tamil Drama Festival at Madurai
From sentiment, mythology to comedy, the navarasas were showcased by each troupe during the Nandana Navarasa Nadaga Vizha, held at Madurai.
The Nandana Navarasa Nadaga Vizha, organised by Sri Satguru Sangeetha Samajam in association with Tamil Medai Nadaga Thayarippalargal Sangam, Chennai, offered a bouquet of nine popular plays, representing ‘navarasa,’ to the Madurai audience recently.
The curtain raiser, Kathadi Ramamurthy’s ‘Neenga Yaar Pakkam?’ written by S.L. Naanu, attempted to reflect the dilemma faced by lonely parents, whose children have chosen to get settled in the U.S.
While some enjoy travelling abroad frequently and getting a taste of sophistication and affluence associated with the country, and some others long for a chance to visit foreign lands at least once in their lives, Ramamurthy showcased the small group of people who refuse to leave their home land just to visit their children in foreign countries, even if they want their parents there.
Excellent team work
Tremendous effort and team work by the artists of Tamilarasan Theatres contributed to the success of the mythological, ‘Sri Narasimhar,’ written by K.P. Arivanandham. The child actor, who played Prahlada, was perfect for the role, because he was able to bring on stage the precocity of the young devotee, with his clear loud voice, proper pronunciation of classical Tamil and rhythmic intonation. Hiranyakashipu acted flamboyantly and dramatically, although he appeared to be a little young for that role.
Surprisingly, the mask of Lord Narasimha was white in colour and did not look convincing. The audience responded enthusiastically to the use of crackers and projections of arrows flying and found the entire play to be absorbing.
A string of jokes provided the life line for the situational comedy, ‘Kalakkura Machi,‘ presented by Sree Satya Sai Creations, with ‘Mappillai’ Ganesh playing the lead role. The writer Eluchoor Aravindan played with the names of characters – ‘Sengal’ Sengalvarayan and ‘Panchamirtham’ Panchapakesan. The hall resounded with laughter as the play progressed towards a happy ending.
Produced by K.S. Nagarajan’s Kalanilayam, ‘Marupakkam,’ written by K.S.N. Sundar, was a play about the spirit of sacrifice found in equal measure in the father and son. The play portrayed a typical Indian family, where parents put their children’s interests above everything.
Nostalgia for the simple pleasures of growing up in a village home, with its open courtyard in the middle, garden of fresh vegetables and flower, memories of growing up with siblings and relatives, a lifestyle that is no longer possible, was the feeling that dominated ‘Ammavin Aranmanai.’ The playwright had taken much care in etching out each character as an individual. The unassuming and silent eldest son, the loquacious younger son who is doing well in the city, the friendly daughter-in-law, the wise uncle with a weak heart, the cribbing and finicky sister, her eccentric husband and mother-in-law, the grandson bursting with energy and mischief, all touched a chord with the audience.
‘Achu Asal‘ turned out to be an emotional thriller. ‘Kasikku Pona Ganapathi‘ was a play that showed how with uncertain twists and turns, fate changes one’s life. Koothabiran, who has written it, played the main role. It was produced by Navabharath Creations.
A timeline of the history of drama was brought on stage by UAA-Madhu Enterprises’ play, ‘Nadagam,’ written by Chitralaya Sreeram. Y.Gee. Mahendran played the role of a veteran actor, whose love for theatre makes him give up opportunities to act in films and TV shows. His affiliation for the stage is so intense that he chooses to die on stage too. The play was an attempt to make the audience realise the waning art form, which was once a popular form of entertainment, before the advent of cinema and television. However, the morale of the stage actors gets a boost, when a blind woman tells the actors why she prefers the stage to television. Use of screen projections on stage to show the railway station added to the novelty of the theme.
‘Cho’ Ramaswami appeared on screen to introduce his play, ‘Endru Thaniyum Indha Sudandhira Dhaagam?‘ TV Varadharajan’s United Visuals produced this play, which was a super hit when it was first staged in the 1970s. It is ironical that the dialogue in this satire seem to fit the current political scenario as much as it did when it was first written, decades ago.
‘Cho’ has commented that this shows that though the people involved are different, nothing much has changed. The play shows how Narada introduces the concept of democracy in Devaloka and gets the Gods to form parties and fight elections. He goads a corrupt politician in hell to guide the deities. The politician sets one supernatural power against the other and finally tries to become the prime minister of Devaloka. The Gods are aghast at their plight. Narada then reveals that his intention was to show the celestial beings what was happening on earth.