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My response to the Review of my play ‘ID’ in The Hindu by Suganthy Krishnamachari

The review of my play, “ID” published in The Hindu dated 8th May 2015 is far distanced from reality and is negatively biased. This review has been a trigger for my detailed response and rebuttal of the points raised. Please note that I respect reviews and have never done a reply for any of the 21 plays scripted by me. I do understand censure and appreciation are part of any review intended to promote a good product.

TAMIL THEATER in its entirety needs constructive feedback and criticism and not flippant reviews slamming the creator and the artistes without any logic. Such reviews do not augur well for the future of TAMIL THEATER which I represent with undying passion and commitment.

Given the limitation of a theatre play, my efforts to bring a complex technical subject in a simple manner was well received by the audience but surprisingly to the reviewer, everything seems to be “riddled with holes”. The reviewer has raised points that were answered emphatically in the play and many others from her figment of imagination, raw understanding and inattentiveness.

Though I have the necessary points to answer every statement in her review, I am picking out few to highlight the IQ level of the reviewer.

“When you are talking about hawala and terrorism, wouldn’t the engagement be at the highest level, with Ministers and perhaps even the Prime Minister being kept informed?”

My police officer Parameswara Iyer, a true representation of plainclothes men, is from the CYBER CELL and his duty is to inform relevant departments of any such plans to prevent them from happening. Why would he go to ministers and PM every time he gets an input? It is made clear in the play that he speaks to the concerned departments to thwart the attacks.

“How can a lone hacker, operating from his house deal will all this? “ – This statement shows that the reviewer has absolutely no knowledge about what a hacker is. I want to reiterate here that even this technical subject was explained in simple terms by the hacker Divakar and understood by many including senior citizens witnessing the play.
Also, from the points raised and from the above question, it is evident that the reviewer was not paying attention to the dialogues nor the story.

Further, the reviewer seems to have caught up some words and dialogues now and then to raise it up as issues to cover HER inability to understand the subject, thereby bringing the whole concept of creative freedom, characterization, and my efforts in the play to question.

Theatre substitutes situations and time lapse through dialogues many times and it is for the viewers to keep attention to the dialogues and every theatre lover does it and that is why I am still in theatre.

And the audacity of the reviewer to comment on the Humane Police officer depicted as Cool headed, Intelligent and Tech Savvy as “a concern about the future of our country” is immature and her statements are hampered by her affinity to Masala movies far cut from reality. It also highlights her incapability to review drama that draws on realistic characters and situations.

“Hampered by a bad script and half-hearted performances, ‘ID’ was a complete let down.”

From the explanations above, one can understand the purpose behind this review and as such no answer for this statement is necessary. I am still surprised that she could not find one positive thing to write about the whole play, which also throws light on her mental frame and psychological status.

I am open to stage my play for people who are interested in seeing the validity of my response to the insensitive review of Suganthy Krishnamachari.

Read the review here https://kvivekshankar.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/the-hindu-review-of-id/

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Prayatna Stage’s “ID” – Review by Siragu Ravichandran

“ID” PLAY REVIEW BY SIRAGU RAVICHNDRAN (POPULAR CINEMA/DRAMA CRITIC)

Vivek Shankar shared Siragu RaviChandran’s post.
May 1 at 11:13pm •

ID 8

விவேக் ஷங்கரின் ஐ டி ( நாடகம் )
சிறகு இரவிச்சந்திரன்
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சளைக்காமல் நாடகம் எழுதுவதிலும், அதை மேடையேற்றுவதிலும் விவேக் ஷங்கரின் பிரயத்தனா குழு ஒரு முன்னுதாரணம். இப்போதுதான் “நதிமூலம்” பார்த்த மாதிரி இருக்கிறது. உடனே இன்னொரு புதிய நாடகம். இம்முறை நதிமூலம் இல்லை! நாசவேலைகளின் மூலம், பவுத்திரம் எல்லாமும்!
ஹாக்கர்ஸ் எனப்படும், கணிப்பொறி வலைப்பதிவுகளில், கன்னம் வைப்பவர்களின் கதை. அதன் மூலம் சமூக விரோதிகள் தண்டிக்கப்படுவது மெசேஜ்! இன்செப்ஷன் என்று நீங்கள் கத்துவது தெரிகிறது. ஆனால் தமிழ் நாடக மேடைக்கு இந்தக் கரு ஒரு எக்ஸப்ஷன்!
ஒரே பெயர்.. இரு கதை மாந்தர்கள். அதனால் ஏற்படும் ஒரு கொலை. இதுதான் மைய இழை.
திவாகர் ( சூரஜ்) ஒரு கணிப்பொறி ஜீனியஸ். எந்த வலையிலும் புகுந்து புறப்பட்டு, சேதமில்லாமல் தப்பிக்கும் தந்திரம், அவனுக்கு அத்துப்படி. ஆனால் அதை பயன்படுத்தி, சட்டப்படி தண்டிக்க வேண்டியவர்களை, சிறையிலடைக்க அவன் உதவுகிறான். அவனுக்கு உறுதுணையாக இருக்கும் காவல் அதிகாரி பரமேஸ்வரன் அய்யர். ( கிரீஷ் ). திவாகரின் அறை நண்பன் கலியவரதன். ( மது ). பிள்ளையை அமெரிக்கா அனுப்பிவிட்டு, தனிமையில் வாடும் மேன்ஷன் பெரியவர் நரசிம்மன் ( டி டி சுந்தரராஜன்) இவர்களது பக்கத்து அறைக்காரர்.
கலியவரதனின் சொந்த ஊரில், திருநெல்வேலி பக்கத்திலிருக்கும் கிராமத்தில் வசிக்கும் ஒரு குடும்பத்தில் ஐ ஏ எஸ் தேர்வு எழுத சென்னை வரும் திவாகர், அதே மேன்ஷனின் ஒரு அறையில் தங்குகிறான். ( இது என் யூகம். இது நாடகத்தில் தெளிவாக விளக்கப் படவில்லை ) கணிப்பொறி திவாகரை பழிவாங்க ஏவப்பட்ட கூலி படையன், ஐஏ எஸ் திவாகரைப் போட்டுத் தள்ளிவிட, தலைமறைவாக இருக்கும் ஒரிஜினல் டார்கெட் திவாகர், கொல்லப்பட்ட திவாகர் வீட்டிலேயே தங்குவது சின்ன டிவிஸ்ட். ஆனால், இதில் பழைய சிவாஜி படம் மாதிரி, உணர்ச்சிகளுக்கு எல்லாம் இடம் தராமல், கதையை ஜெட் வேகத்தில் நகர்த்திக் கொண்டு போகிறார் இயக்குனர் விவேக் ஷங்கர். கடைசியில் கூலிப்படை ஆள் பிடிபட்டானா? இறந்த திவாகரின் குடும்பம், இந்த திவாகரை மன்னித்ததா? என்பது க்ளைமேக்ஸ்.
சின்னதாக ஒரு திருப்பம் வைத்திருக்கிறார் ஷங்கர். தலைமறைவாகும் திவாகர், தன் பெயரில் உள்ள ஒரு நபரின் புகைப்படத்தை, தன் அடையாளமாக மாற்றி விட்டுச் செல்கிறான். அதனால் கிராமத்து திவாகர் கொலையாகிறான். இது ஒரு காட்சியாக அமைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தால் இன்னமும் தெளிவாக புரிந்திருக்கும் பார்வையாளர்களுக்கு. ஆனால் இரண்டு வரி வசனத்தில் அதைச் சொல்லி விடுகிறார் விவேக் ஷங்கர்.
கொல்லப்பட்ட திவாகரின் கிராமத்து அக்கா ஜானகியாக பிரேமா சதாசிவம். அனுபவம் அவரை முதலிடத்தில் நிறுத்துகிறது. வழக்கம்போல கிரீஷ் பாஸாகிறார். ஆச்சர்யம், கனமான பாத்திரத்தில் கதை நாயகனாக நடித்திருக்கும் சூரஜ். சபாஷ்! புலம்பல் தாத்தாவாக வரும் சுந்தரராஜன், அரங்கில் அதிகம் கைத்தட்டல் பெற்றவர். யதார்த்தம் பாராட்டைப் பெறுவதில் அதிசயம் ஏதுமில்லை!
தினேஷின் இசை நாடகத்திற்கு பக்க பலம். இன்னும் கொஞ்சம் இசைத்திருக்கலாமோ என்று தோன்றுமளவிற்கு அற்புதம். சேட்டா ரவியின் ஒளி ஜாலங்கள் மேடைக்கு மெருகு.
விந்தையான கதைகளை யோசிக்கும் விவேக் ஷங்கர், அடுத்தது ரோபோக்களை வைத்து நாடகம் எழுதுவாரோ? ஷங்கர் என்று பெயர் இருக்கிறதே செய்தாலும் செய்வார்!
நூறு நிமிட நாடகம். நறுக் வசனங்கள். இயல்பான நகைச்சுவை. தேர்ந்த நடிப்பு. வெற்றி பெற இவைதானே ஃபார்முலா! நம்பர் ஒன்னாக வரும் இந்த ஐ டி! வாழ்த்துக்கள்!
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Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha honours Artistes

December 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha honours artistes

Sriperumbudur Ramanuja Embar Jeeyar Swami with Chitravina N. Ravikiran. Also seen (from left) are Sabha president Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti, M. Balamuralikrishna and Sabha vice- president Mohan Parasaran. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

The Hindu Sriperumbudur Ramanuja Embar Jeeyar Swami with Chitravina N. Ravikiran. Also seen (from left) are Sabha president Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti, M. Balamuralikrishna and Sabha vice- president Mohan Parasaran.

The 113th December music festival of Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha began at the Vidya Bharathi hall in the city on Sunday, with Parakala Ramanuja Embar Jeeyar Swami of Sriperumbudur conferring the title of Sangeetha Kalasarathy on Chitravina N. Ravikiran.

The award includes a citation, a shawl and a cash award of Rs. 1 lakh instituted by P. Vijayakumar Reddy and Preetha Reddy.

In his address, the Jeeyar Swami said that the 113 year-old Sabha had served as a link to three centuries. “It has had excellent patrons in the form of rasikas and those providing financial support through the centuries, which is why it continues to exist,” he said.

The Jeeyar also presented awards to four artists — the Palghat Mani Iyer Centenary Award to Trichy Sankaran, Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu Award to Nagai Muralidharan, Dr. M.L.V. Award to Ramakrishnamurthy and G. Ramanathan Award to R. Suryaprakash.

Felicitating the awardees, Cleveland V.V. Sundaram said that for Chitravina N. Ravikiran music was a sadhana. A perfectionist, a teacher par excellence and a composer, he had many facets.

Accepting the award, Mr. Ravikiran said that concerted steps must be taken to encourage children to appreciate Indian classical music. “In the West though people appreciate our music, they also have pride in their own music. We should encourage students to attend concerts thus bringing a younger breed of rasikas,” he said.

Solicitor General of India Mohan Parasaran said that the Sabha had tied up with the Shanmukhananda Sabha in New Delhi and in April a Tyagaraja Utsavam would be organised there. Industrialist and Sabha president Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti and Carnatic vocalist M. Balamuralikrishna spoke.

Play on Swami Vivekananda

December 19, 2013 Leave a comment

A Theme Well done

VELCHETI SUBRAHMANYAM

 

A sceen from the drama Swami Vivekananda presented by Yuva Kalavahini. Photo: C. V. Subrahmanyam

A scene from the drama Swami Vivekananda presented by Yuva Kalavahini

A play on Swamy Vivekananda was staged as a tribute on his 150th birth anniversary.

It is no less than a herculean task to take up biographical themes on the stage. More so in case of greats like Swamy Vivekananda whose life and works are so enormous in their impact not just on our national conscious but even on world’s perspective of our nation and the nucleus of its thought.

He is considered spiritual father of our nationalist movement. To study Vivekanada, it is said, is to study India. Taking spiritual, nationalistic and social dimensions of his life and works for its canvas, playwright PV Krishna Murhty has woven an interesting narrative and SM Bhasha, who directed it, translated it into an engaging and expertly crafted production on the stage. Combined with good dose of histrionics that defined well the contours of the characters, it hugely wowed theatre lovers at Kalabharati Visakhapatnam. Artistes of Hyderabad-based Yuva Kala Vahini staged it.

The narration is taut and flowing. It, in a way, is a well-chiselled montage of inspiring episodes from his eventful life sans a documentary tang. Further, a haunting tune of a soothing song of spiritual import in the scene of Vivekanada’s maiden visit to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa immensely helped propel its emotive appeal deep.

The play opened with a scene of singing bhajans before the idol of Goddess Kali, where Ramakrishna Paramahamsa goes into a trance in devotion. Vivekanada’s visit to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, his initial spiritual inquiries that led to the development of inexplicable and lasting chemistry of guru-sishya bond. The play moves forward shifting the scenes in a riveting tempo that brought alive a few incidents in his life such as his interactions with Raja Mangalsingh and Diwan Saraschandra Gupta.

The flowing treatment helped unveil his distinct outlook and approach to man and matters. His great message at the Parliament of Religions at Chicago and his teachings formed the climax and downed the curtains leaving the audience in a memorable experience.

Y.K. Nageswara Rao in the eponymous role delivered a first-rate performance. KRK Murthy displayed in his portrayal of Ramakrishna Pramahamsa was superb. S.M. Bhasha and K.K. Sarma donned their different roles with élan. G.B. Ramakrishna Sastry, N. Ramarao, B. Narasimharao, G. Mallikarjunarao and G.V.G. Sankar took part. Ranga Sai Kala Peetham hosted it as a part of Vivekanada’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations.

Tribute to ‘Master Sridhar’

December 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Versatile talent

S. SHIVPPRASADH

 

Master Sridhar.

Master Sridhar.
Master Sridhar donned grease paint for a variety of roles.

Master Sridhar, well-known in the Tamil theatre circle passed away yesterday. Beginning his career as a child artist, Sridhar acted in many films, including Kandan Karunai, Karnan, Swamy Ayyappan. He proved his mettle in social genre too cast as hero in K.S. Gopalakrishnan’s Kurathi Magan, starring Gemini Ganesan and K.R. Vijaya.

However, as an adult actor, it was his performance in mythological plays that earned him recognition. Especially, his role as Narada in the TV serial, Naragasuran, produced under the banner of National Theatres by this writer and R.S. Manohar jointly and telecast by Doordarshan, Chennai Kendra, in 1991 won him laurels. A highly devoted and disciplined artist, Sridhar would always get deeply involved in the character he donned. He acted as the young Aadi Sankara in the play of that title and appeared as the senior savant when he presented the play under his own banner, Sri Chakra Stage. The play was staged over 200 times. Another milestone was his title role in the play, Thirunavukkarasar, produced by K.R.S. Kumar’s Nataka Kavalar Kalai Koodam. The performance fetched him the R.S. Mahonar’s silver rolling trophy for best actor from Mylapore Academy for the year 2010. He had the privilege of staging his play, Maangani, at the World Tamil Conference in Thanjavur.

Sridhar lent his voice to a number of artists and wrote the lyrics and composed music for devotional CDs including ‘Sri Skandha Geetham’ sung by Nithyasree Mahadevan, Unni Krishnan, Rajkumar Bharati, etc. He presented religious discourse on Zee TV Tamil for “Olimayamaana Yedhirgalam” daily in 2012.

Adi Parasakthi’ (Raj TV) Gnyaanaanandham (Podhigai) and Indrajith (Jaya TV) were some of the serials in which he was featured.

Poile Sengupta’s “Mangalam”

December 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Ground reality

KAUSALYA SANTHANAM

Absorbing Theatre Photo: M. Vedhan

Absorbing Theatre

Finely structured but for a few flaws in execution, Mangalam held a mirror to a pressing social issue — exploitation of women

Can there be a more topical and relevant play today given what is happening around us? Poile Sengupta’s finely structured play Mangalam looks at the types of exploitation women are subjected to — whether in a conservative-rural or modern-urban household. Rape, domestic violence, betrayal, molestation — the play covers them all in a manner that makes for absorbing theatre.

Mangalam, which won the award for the most socially relevant theme in The Hindu-Madras Players Playscripts Competition in 1993, was staged by the group in 1994 with a different cast, director and crew. But for those who hadn’t watched it then, and for a new generation of viewers, Mangalam presented recently by The Madras Players and Crea-Shakthi at the Museum Theatre offered a fresh opportunity to view the work.

The play deals with two contrasting milieus. The first-half fits into the other and we are left with a play within a play where fiction and reality coalesce; one scenario mirrors another as sexual predators lurk everywhere and the home turns into a hunting ground. It could be a brother-in-law who rapes a girl leaving her life shattered, a teenage boy who strings girls along only to lead them to Heartbreak House, a father and husband who is in the throes of an extra-marital affair or a trusted friend who preys on the young daughter of the house. All men — all wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Creative collaboration

The oldest English theatre group and the youngest had got together to present the play. The young director Abhinav Suresh needed all his ingenuity to steer the play along and balance its various features; more subtlety would have helped.

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S.V. Sahasranamam Centenary Celebration

December 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Stage, Service and Sahasranamam

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

The awardees at the SVS Centenary event. Photo: Kalaimaamini P.R. Durai

The birth centenary celebration for S.V. Sahasranamam was a fitting tribute.

Could an artist have been so socially conscious, so selfless to take a back seat and promote the other members of his troupe and so completely committed to the cause of theatre? “Leaf through the pages of his autobiography, ‘Thirumbi Paarkiraen,’ and you will understand the virtues of the man,” said poet and painter S. Vaitheeswaran, about his father-in-law S.V. Sahasranamam. Reiterating it, Sahasranamam’s son, S.V.S. Kumar, in his vote of thanks said, “Though Seva Stage was his own troupe, he took up only characters that suited his age. That was the reason for many film heroes such as Muthuraman emerging from there.” Veterans such as Sivaji Ganesan had acted in Seva Stage’s plays, which was also the training ground for heroines such as Devika.

Lofty ideals


The journey through the lofty ideals and purposeful life of Sahasranamam was a worthy revelation for the audience gathered at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, on Friday last. The celebration marked the birth centenary of ‘Bharati Kalaignar,’ as he was known. His love and passion for Bharatiyar’s verses were exemplified in Seva Stage’s plays, ‘Panchali Sabatham’ and ‘Kuyil Paattu.’

“Those were the times when plays were staged on all 365 days of the year. I still remember watching ‘Vadivelu Vathiyaar,’ and Muthuraman as Duriyodhana in ‘Panchaali Sabatham.’ The performances of the actors of Seva Stage fascinated me,” recalled Nalli Kuppuswamy, the chief guest of the evening.

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