A look at some plays that have won the Kodai Nataka Vizha awards in different categories.

After a feast of plays, the winners of Kartik Fine Arts’s Kodai Nataka Vizha award were announced recently. Of the 12 staged, this critic happened to watch three that won prizes in different categories.

Augusto Creations’ ‘Jail Veedu’: An article on a prison house in Valliyur village arouses engineer Madhivanan’s interest. He is keen on exploring and studying ancient, dilapidated and ‘haunted’ buildings.

On this mission, he and a friend visit the village, where they meet the firebrand, Dhamodaran master (S.K. Jayakumar), who recapitulates the suspense-filled past of the jail veedu.

Rasakodi takes the blame for an accidental death, caused by Chitiravel – who inadvertently kills a villager while trying to shoot a flying bird with a rifle stolen by Rasakodi.

Prabhavathi (Uma Shankar), Rasakodi’s wife, knows the truth and asks Chitiravel (K. Raj) to convert her house into a replica of her husband’s cell. She goes into self-imposed exile, trying to live in simulated prison conditions. She grows vegetables in the backyard and survives on the kali residents take turns to give her daily.

After their deaths, a guilty Chitiravel enters the same jail veedu.

When Madhivanan’s friend, moved by the story, wants to take a brick back as remembrance, the engineer makes him realise the sanctity of the place.

The jury should have selected Mohan Babu for an award in the sets category. His ‘chitra pournami night’ scene of a starry sky with the moonlight falling on the rich and real greenery drew a thunderous applause from a spellbound audience. He brought alive on stage what director Augusto had conceived. As for Augusto, he did justice to the play.

Director Augusto: Best Director

S. K. Jayakumar: Best Character Actor

K. Raj: Best Actor

Uma Shankar: Special Award

Stage Creations’ ‘Super Kudumbam’: S. L. Naanu has come out with an educative play. It pivots on divorce and its fallout. The significant rise in such cases makes it contemporary. Nuclear families that break up because of squabbles that go unchecked by elders, leave children traumatised. The presiding judges (parental figures) are forced to grant divorces when the partners fail to patch up their differences despite a six-month separation period. Nandhini (Aandal Jayanthi, who plays a double role) as an IT professional showed her talent.

She spends her free time listening to ghazals, cannot cook but is quick to criticise even the coffee her husband prepares. She wants to divorce her loving husband Vignesh (Maheshwar), who craves for tasty food like his mother used to make. They become tenants at Sivaraman’s (Kaathadi Ramamurthy) joint family home, where they meet Sivaraman’s sister Lalitha (Geetha Narayanan) and daughter-in-law, Janaki.

The story, which took some twists and turns, was presented well. Naanu’s dialogue is simple and apt.

There was a message for the elderly, egoistical characters such as Panchapakesan (Srinivas), who tries to ruin the familial bonding. Special mention must be made of Ramanujam (Sridhar), who did a good job as the disrespected, uncared for father pleading with daughter Nandhini to patch up with her husband. Kaathadi Ramamurthy’s acting skills made the point clear that relationships based on give-and-take strengthens bonding.

Super Kudumbam: Best Play

S.L. Naanu: Best Story Writer/Best Dialogue Writer

Aandal Jayanthi: Best Female Character Artist (played double role with ease)

Gita Narayanan: Best Commendation Award

Gurukulam’s (The original boys company 95) ‘Ambu Padukkai’: The focus here was on bachelors and their plight. As young men they become pillars of support to families whose members use them as errand boys and extract work of all sorts. As they age, however, their contribution is forgotten and they are totally neglected. Isolation and loneliness result in pain.

The play analysed the position of elderly bachelors, in particular cooks, who are exploited. They prepare and serve food to others, but in their old age who cooks for them?

VK (Viswanathan Ramesh) was superb as an aged bachelor (the jury, however, has failed to consider him for an award).

Story, screenplay, and direction were by Boovaraghamoorthy, who also acted as the close friend of the lonely bachelor. Boovaraghamoorthy’s effort again seemed to go unnoticed by the jury.

Bhuvanesh: Best Child Artist

Srividya: Best Character Artist

The winners are…

Best Actor: P. Madhu (Thalaimuraigal) and K. Raja (Jail Veedu)

Best Actress: Srilakshmi (Kanna Unnai Thedugirane) and Karpagalakshmi (Thalaimuraigal)

Best Character Actor: S.K. Jayakumar (Jail Veedu) and N. Vasudevan (Sathya Vakku)

Best Character Actress: Andal Jayanthi (Super Kudumbam) and Srividya (Ambu Padukkai)

Best Story Writer: S. L. Naanu ( Super Kudumbam) and N. Rathnam (Unnal Mudiyum Thatha)

Best Dialogue Writer: C.V. Chandramohan (Thalaimuraigal) and S. L. Naanu (Super Kudumbam)

Best Director: C.V. Chandramohan (Thalaimuraigal) and Augusto (Jail Veedu)

Best Comedian: Mappillai Ganesh (Sabash Maplae)

Special Prize Actor: A. Ravikumar (Nama Parvathi Pathaye) and Jayasurya (Kathadi)

Special Prize Actress: Geetha Narayanan (Super Kudumbam) and Uma Shankar (Jail Veedu)

Best Child Artist: Vishwa Jai (Thalaimuraigal) and Bhuvanesh (Ambu Padukkai)

Best Drama Production: Stage Creations (Super Kudumbam) and Mother Creations (Thalaimuraigal)

Special Prize: Chennai Nava Bharath (Unnal Mudiyum Thatha)

Best Comedy Play: Sri Sathya Sai Creations (Sabash Maplae)

Best Light Company: Kalaivanar Electricals, Kicha (Sabash Maplae)

Best Scene Company: Padma Stage, Kannan (Sathya Vakku)

Best Make-up Man: Perambur Kumar (Sathya Vakku)