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Updated: March 21, 2013 16:56 IST

Absorbing action loses steam

Kausalya Santhanam
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Shraddha's Vyugam. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao
The Hindu Shraddha's Vyugam. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

The denouement of the otherwise engrossing ‘Vyugam’ seemed confused and clichéd.

Shraddha’s play ‘Vyugam’ is a psychological thriller. Vijay, a psychologist, visits the prison in order to obtain the confession of a serial killer. The psychologist’s help is sought by the police officer in charge of the investigation. Vijay, however, finds his job far from easy as the accused, a psychiatrist, does not utter a word. He remains silent on why he, an educated youth, committed so many murders. Vijay persists and gets much more than he had bargained for. The convict’s brief utterances have sinister ramifications for the psychologist, who has to grapple in his private life with the threats posed by a real estate goon.

Each time he leaves the presence of the convict, Vijay’s peace of mind is shattered. Does he succeed in cracking the case? How does it all end? Who is the victor and who the victim?

Music aids suspense

The director (Anand Babu) propelled the play in a suspenseful fashion aided by strong recorded music and effects (Guhaprasath). The writer’s (story and dialogue: L. Kaushik) script was taut and he skilfully wove together plot and dialogue to take the viewers through an absorbing narration of the mind and its actions - the imaginings and fears experienced through the power of suggestion.

Post-interval however, the play lost its steam. The final sequences were mired in confusion. They were hurried through and left the viewer groping about the exact turn of events. In common with many plays of this genre, the denouement posed a problem.

The mysterious figure that manipulates the action was portrayed though a disembodied voice, which brought a rather comical touch. It was the stuff of gangster/spy/mad scientist films of the past. The end was dark and depressing and the explanation convoluted and contrived. The last scene when everything comes full circle was clichéd.

The acting was very convincing. Balaji played the accused with a cool, unhurried air. The naturalness with which he invested his actions and gestures had a sophisticated sinister feel.

Vijay Viswanathan as the psychologist built up the slipping of a normal man into mental confusion and chaos quite consistently but sometimes went a bit over the top. Girish played the role of the impatient police officer. Shivaji Chaturvedi was the estate agent constantly accompanied by his stooge. It was a stock character and the make up matched it. A fresh depiction would have been welcome.

The stage ( set design and execution: Mohanbabu) was divided into three equal parts - the apartment of the psychologist, the police officer’s room and the cell where Vijay meets the convict. Varying levels rather than a flat monotonous surface would have made an improvement to the action. The play was neatly produced but much more thought should have been given to the ending. The lighting (Chetta Ravi) accentuated the feel well. ‘Vyugam’ was presented by the Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha at the Narada Gana Sabha hall on March15.

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