Shahaana Kala Samskarika Vedi is a fraternity of like-minded individuals, most of them government employees, who bond over art and culture. The group stages two plays in the city on November 2
The theatre scene in the city has been revived thanks to efforts taken by groups of ardent theatre buffs. While the ‘week-day’ drama concept by Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademi has given a major fillip to the genre, professional/amateur drama troupes and organisations too have joined the fray, setting the stage for a vibrant theatre scene.
Among the lot is Shahaana Theatres, the drama wing of Shahaana Kala Samskarika Vedi, a city-based art, cultural and charitable organisation.
It is not very often that one gets to follow his/her passion for art and culture, especially if one is holding a job. However, members of the Vedi do so with élan, without compromising on their profession. What is interesting about the group is that government employees, most of them working in the Secretariat, run the show, along with art and culture enthusiasts from different walks of life. The Vedi, formed five years ago, has grown to become a part of the city’s cultural milieu by organising plays, music programmes, literary meets and philanthropic activities.
Come Saturday, the troupe will stage two plays at Radio Park, Museum. The plays are adapted from two French works and directed by R. Jayaram, secretary of the Vedi, which functions from his house at Kanjirampara. “The Vedi has a group of individuals who are dedicated to art and culture. The idea to form an organisation was born out of our regular interactions and discussions. We have eight active members and about 50 people who are closely associated with the Vedi. And this includes government employees, retired employees, students, and so on,” says 39-year-old Jayaram.
It was in 2011 that they formed Shahaana Theatres under the organisation. “We staged our first work that year – a children’s play based on tales from the Panchathantra, Aesop Fables and Arabian Nights. Early this year we staged Drisyasahithi, a two-hour drama based on famous poems and stories in Malayalam literature. That included works by A. Ayyappan, O.V. Vijayan, G. Sankarakurup, Pazhavila Ramesan….,” says Jayaram.
S. Sunil, the president of the Vedi, adds: “We also intend to provide a platform for up-and-coming artistes, besides providing help for students who need financial assistance, and cancer patients. We organise literary discussions every month.”
On fertile ground
The group is buoyed by the fact that the capital city has again become a fertile ground for theatre troupes. “There is a devoted audience for our plays and other cultural activities. However, since most of us are government employees, we can’t fully dedicate ourselves to our passion. We have never been discouraged at any point of time. Though we often pay from our pockets, we have got sponsors on some occasions,” Jayaram says.
On November 2, the troupe stages two plays in association with Alliance Francaise Trivandrum at Radio Park, Museum. The plays are Randu Koottukar, based on Two Friends, a short story by the French author Guy de Maupassant, and Vivekam Vitta Vidwan, based on The Fool Who Sold Wisdom by Jean de La Fontaine. On stage are Balachandran, Rajesh S., Gigeesh T., Binduraj M.A., Manoj S.R., Venugopalan, Vinod Kumar, Jashin, Abhilash and Pradeep. The plays are staged at 6.30 p.m. Contact: 2320666
Sunil works in a pharmaceutical company and has shot documentaries for ViCTERS channel. Jayaram, a state government employee since 1997, is currently a section officer with the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes Department, Government of Kerala, at the Secretariat. He has published three books of poetry and has also translated many works from European literature into Malayalam, the latest being Samskarika Rachanakal – Antonio Gramsci, which is a portion of The Prison Notebooks written by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. “Thanks to my father, I’ve been exposed to plays since I was five or six years old. I still remember watching the plays staged by Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s troupe, Thiruvarangu,” he says. Gigeesh T., joint secretary of the Vedi, works in the General Education Department as an office attendant. He is an actor and singer. Manoj and Rajesh, two other members of the troupe, work in the Water Resources Department and the Industries Department, respectively.