What happens when an unqualified individual takes over a public sector unit?

A hilarious playlet Ek Din Ka Sultan by Jandhyala kept the theatre buffs rolling in laughter at Gurajada Kala Kshetram in Visakhapatnam. To Telugus, the very name Jandhyala means a riot of hearty laugh. His trade mark humour in gently presenting the not so pleasant aspects of life found lasting expression through his unforgettable characters. This playlet was no exception.

The play opens with a scene in an office belonging to a public fertilizers unit, where the staff gossip about their new chief taking charge that day. In his inimitable satirical way, Jandhyala caricatured an officer reflective of unqualified individuals heading public organisations of their political clout and how the otherwise well-qualified and experienced staff has to dance to his tunes, throwing the office functioning into disarray. Meesala Venkatratnam drops in the office like a bolt from the blue as a new chief and seeks all sorts of favours from the staff. Whenever the staff attempts to make him see reason, he threatens them of dire consequences dropping broad hints of his close political connections. Finally, the postman calls his bluff saying he had delivered the letter of appointment on a mistaken identity. The taut narrative punctuated with wit, pun and sarcasm in abundant measure drove its point home. In a way, it mirrored the shabby and scruffy ambience of government offices and the working of a section of staff in a realistic frame. That Jandhyala explores the backdrop of the plot to the core in a comical way is evident in each aspect of the play. The varied shades of dialogue that he employed for different characters reveal his in-depth grasp of the dialectical nuances that become integral to the nature of the character.

The cast breathed life into each of the characters K S Prakash, who directed it, donned the role of Meesala Venkatamana with aplomb, while B Prabhakara Reddy as the peon displayed remarkable talent. D Mohan, Akkireddy Vasu and GVR Reddy did their roles with élan. Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) hosted it and the artistes of Creative Comedy Club staged it marking its ninth anniversary.