The three-day drama festival at Sathguru Sangeetha Samajam struck a chord with the Madurai audience
The three-day drama festival held last weekend at Sathguru Sangeetha Samajam turned out to be an event of substance and entertainment. The three plays staged were hilarious and ran to a packed hall. Though the audience had a hearty laugh, the plays drove home strong messages too.
The first evening’s performance ‘Aasaikkum Asthikkum’ by T.V. Varadharajen’s troupe ‘United Visuals’ was a thoughtful take on the ‘America obsession’ of young Indian professionals and their proud parents.
The script by Vedham Puthithu Kannan, revolves around children who live abroad and the blames and curses they face from their parents. The drama also talked about the helplessness of old parents left to live alone. The story unfolds in a middle-class nuclear family where the son is an engineering graduate but pursuing his passion in music and the daughter is a newlywed bride with dreams of a rich life ahead. The son is forced by his doting mother to take up an IT job in the US against his interest in becoming a singer and the daughter settles in Bombay with her doctor husband. The old couple revel in pride and boast around among their relatives and friends. But later, when faced with the harsh realities of old-age they yearn to live with their children and unfortunately the son and the daughter are busy caught up in the web of a competitive world and are no more in a position to accommodate the ailing parents in their life schedule. The parents realize their mistake and come to terms with the truth. “The play shows the irony of how parents initially drive their children to make it big in life and urge them to go abroad for better job opportunities, but later start accusing them as ‘indifferent,” says T.V. Varadharajen. “We have tried to make a point that children brought up in our country and culture, always have values and it’s only their lifestyle and work pressure that make them indifferent to their parents’ needs.”
Catchy dialogues with an undercurrent of humour were the highlights of the play. Aasaikkum asthikkum brought out a new outlook of Indian professionals working abroad. The drama equally projected the plight of both parents and the children living in foreign countries and argued that both are correct in their own ways. It ended raising the question of who should be blamed for the increasing number of old-age homes in the country.
The second day’s play titled ‘Aavi Vandha Mapillai’ was staged by ‘Sathyasai Creations’ under Mapilai Ganesh, a popular drama artiste. . Written by Ezhichur Aravindan, the story is a family drama which unfolds with a young doctor seeking job in a reputed hospital run by an established doctor. He is turned away and returns empty handed, but challenges that he too shall become a great doctor and build a bigger hospital. Suddenly, he is confronted by a spirit and it helps him grow in status. Then a tantric enters to clear the spirit off the hero but ends up adding more confusion.
Though the drama doesn’t give any take-home point, it’s an engaging plot with lots of twists and surprises. Played like a typical masala movie, ‘Aavi Vandha Mapillai’ kept the hall reverberating with laughter.
The final day’s play ‘Annapooraniyin Adukkalai’, staged by ‘Gurukulam Original Boys Company’ was a family saga with a comical undertone. Exploring the struggles of a middle-class household in a fast-paced world, the scene opens in a typical Tamil home where the young graduate son is a frantic job-seeker, the mother is a humble homemaker and the father is a fast-greying lone breadwinner of the family. The taunts of the irritated father, weeps of the mother and the silent struggling of the son are depicted in a realistic way. The story takes a turn when the young graduate makes friends with an old man selling sundal by the beachside. They both share their sad stories and identify with each other. The change happens when they get together and start a catering business. The old man gets a family and the young lad finds a business!
“The irony is both the characters face a blank space in life but one is old and the other is young,” says Boovaraga Murthy, the organiser of the troupe. “The idea is to tell people that age is not a factor and only experience and expertise matter. We want to insist that old people should not be considered useless. Their wisdom can be of great help.”
The script written by S. Gowri Shankar, was heavy on emotions vividly showcasing the family bonding and values of the middle class. The comical element in the play did not dilute the seriousness of the script and the drama successfully sent the message across. “The positive approach is the key tone of our plays. We give preference to comedy but it is built-in and we make sure audiences leave the hall with a profound thought,” says Boovaraga Murthy.