An unabridged staging of ‘Santhanagopalam’ saw Margi Vijayakumar come up with a sterling act.

The complete version of ‘Santhanagopalam', penned by Mandavappalli Ittiraricha Menon, was staged recently in Thiruvananthapuram. The highlight of the performance was Margi Vijayakumar’s Brahmin. The veteran artist has proved his mettle in handling female characters, but he was playing the lead role of the Brahmin in ‘Santhanagopalam' for the first time.

Kalamandalam Balasubramanian, yet another ace actor, was seen in the role of Arjuna who visits Krishna after a long time. However, apart from the expected actions of the character, further detailing by way of nuanced manodharmas, was missing in his portrayal. Perhaps, his performance fell short of expectations because rasikas expect more than what he presented from an actor of his calibre.

During Arjuna's stay, a Brahmin who had lost all his nine children at birth comes to seek help from Lord Krishna.

Though a minukku character, the Brahmin of ‘Santhanagopalam’ has its own significance and is a challenge to any actor. Margi Vijayakumar did his homework and was up to it. He focussed more on the natyadharmi aspects, ably absorbing the emotional state of the Brahmin, but at the same time not being melodramatic.

Krishna and the other Yadavas remain silent hearing the Brahmin's pleas and Arjuna comes forward to offer his help. The Brahmin appreciates Arjuna's earlier heroic deeds, nevertheless, he also wonders if Arjuna would be able to help him. Though the act was good, Vijayakumar elaborated it a bit more than required, which looked a bit odd for the character. Arjuna vows to save the Brahmin's next child or end his life if he failed in his endeavour.

Kalamandalam Pradeep enacted the role of Arjuna in the latter segment. Pradeep’s enthusiasm to enrich the character saw him making those small but suitable additions whenever possible. Margi Vijayakumar was at his best in these portions portraying the enthusiastic Brahmin who, however, gets enraged on hearing the loss of his tenth child.

Eventually, all is well that ends well and Lord Krishna comes to Arjuna’s rescue.

Krishna and Arjuna travel to Vishnuloka and bring back alive all the 10 children of the Brahmin. Often skipped scenes such as Sudarshana coming in to show the way and Krishna along with Arjuna meeting Vishnu were also presented here.

Kalamandalam Sudeep, Margi Sukumaran, Margi Raveendran, Margi Ullas and Margi Parthasarathy were the other actors in the play.

Kalamandalam Krishnankutty tried his best to give the necessary vocal support. The team of vocalists included Kottakkal Nandakumar and Margi Damu. Kalamandalam Krishnadas and Margi Raveendran led the percussion to begin with and it was continued by Margi Krishnakumar and Kalabharathi Rajeevan. The play was staged by Margi, Thiruvananthapuram.