‘Idhu Namma Naadu’ has hard-hitting dialogue and some funny lines. But it lacked the punch.
There is no aspect of life which is untouched by the long arm of political interference. And this is what United Visuals’ Idhu Namma Naadu (story and dialogue by ‘Tughlaq’ Satya, dramatisation and direction T.V. Varadharajen) was all about. In one way or the other, we all suffer either because of the high handedness of politicians or because of their indifference. And while all of this angers us, it is nice to sit back once in a while and laugh at the people we elect, and our own foolishness in electing them.
Lampooning politicians was never more popular than it is now. That is why a satirical play would be most welcome. But a play must have a good story line, some unforgettable characters and an easy flow to a logical conclusion. Idhu Namma Naadu had none of these. It did have hard hitting satire, and those familiar with Satya’s writings in Tughlaq, could identify his unmistakable stamp. He pulls no punches when he criticises the party in power. References to the all powerful High Command, and suggestions that Gujarat and Tamil Nadu will set the mood for the next elections, left no one in doubt about his political leanings.
Satya’s writings in Tughlaq are hilarious, and so were his lines in the play under review. But a play requires much more than just good lines. The British serial ‘Yes Minister’ was a brilliant political satire, and one enjoyed watching the clever, manipulative bureaucrat Humphrey lead the gullible minister by the nose. G.B. Shaw’s Arms and the Man’ was a witty satire against war and class snobbery. But apart from being witty, it had delightful characters like the Chocolate Cream Soldier.
Satya’s play had bold criticism of our rulers, and his fearlessness must be lauded. But the play completely lacked dramatic elements. If this was all there was to it, then one could as well have read an issue of Tughlaq rather than taking the trouble to watch a play. To declaim before a mike, which is what the characters did, is not drama.
The play seemed like a collection of funny lectures on the current political scenario. But it cannot be called a play. One actor gave a compelling performance, though. Anantapadmanabhan as Ayyasamy, whose nonchalance and sangfroid are never lost except where his family is concerned, sparkled.