Theatre The play left off high profile social and political events that marked his life.
Films have been made and plays written on the academic, political and social life of B.R. Ambedkar. The latest theatre version was by Masterji, directed by Benduri Nagaraja Rao, both well known in their respective fields. This was staged at Ravindra Bharati as part of a day long ‘Bheema Ramotsavam 2010' jointly organised by the Department of Culture and Andhra Pradesh Dalita Kalamandali.
However, one felt that the playwright left off high profile social and political events that marked Ambedkar's life. There were eyewash scenes of his meeting with Mahatma Gandhi and the way the Raja of Baroda helped him to go abroad for higher studies and then to London. More space was given to sequences to show how the small time clerks in offices belittle him. Though the Maharaja of Baroda appointed Ambedkar as his political secretary, on his return no one would take orders from him because he was a ‘Mahar'- an out caste. His fight for human rights and many lectures at different places were symbolically shown.
His meeting with Simon, Governor General, and dispute on the modalities with Gandhi were namesake scenes.
The way he was elected into the constituent assembly and was chosen to head the panel of constitution writers was a backstage verbal expression.
The final scenes of how Ambedkar took to Buddhism were given good space. How his wife died and another woman, a doctor, entered his life as were given needless importance. It was said that Ambedkar died in sleep but the play showed that he collapsed as he was reading a newspaper. Yet this two-hour play tried its best to draw the applause of the audience which they got only when the issue of untouchability was raised in one way or the other. Many of his quotes were left off.
Subba Rayudu suited the role of Ambedkar and his diction was clear. At times, the accompanying music drowned the dialogue. Ramulu as Simon, Veeraraghavayya as Baroda Maharaja, Yedida Gopala Rao in his branded role of Mahatma Gandhi, K.K. Sarma, film and stage actor as Keluskar left some impression on the show.
The over all impression was that the play was drier than what one expected of it. Nagaraja Rao handled the play in the limited scope this real life drama offered.