The play ‘Sundari Sundarudu’ was marked by impressive performances.

It’s unusual to watch a host of character actors from Telugu cinema on the stage of Telugu University auditorium, all of them being stage actors at one time. Presided by K.V. Ramanachari advisor, culture ministry and with veteran film actor Kaikala Satyanarayana as the chief guest, Giribabu, Tanikella Bharani, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Sivajiraja, Vizag Prasad and Rallapalli came together to honour veteran actor K. Rajyam, and help her financially too. Actor Rallapalli had set up an organisation called Madhuri Educational and Entertainment Theatre Association to honour stage artistes with a cash award of Rs. 10, 000, and also stage a play on the occasion.

Fittingly and perhaps prompted by an urge to display her histrionic skills, Rajyam rendered a moving dialogue from a play by Atreya, portraying the role of suffering woman. Her well modulated diction and seemingly autobiographical presentation of a suffering woman evoked an emotional response in the audience who gave her a standing ovation.

The evening opened with a short play ‘Sundari Sundarudu’, written by the late Athili Krishna Rao. There are just four characters, two played by film actors Rallapalli (enacting Sundarudu) and Vizag Prasad and two others by talented stage actors B.H. Padmapriya (acting as Sundari) and Tejomurthula Muralidhar. The aim being to entertain the audience with slapstick comedy, the playwright did not concentrate much on the thematic element. This play was an adaptation of Russian play ‘Proposal’ by Chekov. Vizag Prasad played the father of Sundari while the fourth character of a eunuch name Ammatalli was enacted by Tejomurtula Muralidhar, a relatively new face to theatre.

It was a voluble and loud production with all the characters shouting at the top of their voices. The intended humour was missing, despite the play being a slapstick comedy. As all the four are good actors; they could raise some laughter. The script lacked nativity and spirit. Surabhi people lent technical support. Make up by Malladi Gopalakrishna was a face saver, making Rallapalli look young and Padmapriya charming.

All the artistes gave impressive performances in the limited scope of the script.