On the eighth day of the anniversary celebrations of Tamil Isai Sangam here, Gangai Kalalaya staged a play on Vaishnavite guru Thirukachi Nambi, who was born in Poonamallee, and who served as a fan-bearer to Kanchi Varadaraja Perumal a 1,000 years ago. The myth goes that this Acharya of Ramanuja conversed with the Lord at Kanchi to clarify the former’s doubts on Vedanta, and his abode has become a temple since then.

Directed and scripted by Arunagiri, who has also directed Mayil Ravanan, Van Pugazh Valluvar, Bhishmarin Sabatham and Thirumangai Alwar, this play is another serious attempt by him to bring our culture, mythology and religious philosophy to the common man.

Verses from Divya Prabandam such as “Padha kaingaryam”, “Nedumalai tharisikka”, “Kaathukkondiruppadai”, and “Veesiyadharku” provided ample testimony to the use Tamil has been put to by the Acharyas.

Incidents from the life of the Acharya, such as his visits and conversations with the Lord at Thirupathi and Srirangam, and his return to Kanchi on the bidding of the Lord are narrated interestingly. The main theme of the play was the importance of serving devotees.

Once a person who regularly paid his respects to the Acharya, asked him to speak to the Lord and find out if he would get moksha. But, he also told Nambi that he was yet to serve a devotee or a bhagavatha. Thirukkachi Nambi then served Periya Nambi, disguising himself as a cowherd and taking care of the latter’s cows, in order to attain moksha.

Nandakumar as Thirukachi Nambi, and Sarathy as Lord Venkateswara and Tirumazhisai Piran played the key roles. Udayakumar, Jeyaraman and Vignesh Chellapan played the roles of the brothers of the main character. Suresh, as Bhoopalan and Poosai, tried his hand at comedy, Saidai Jayanthi played three roles – Poovazhagi, Thanjamambal and Saraswathy, while Andal Jayanthi played two roles – Athuzhai and Parvati. Yuvaraj played the role of Madappalli Mama.

Mature performances by the actors contributed to bringing to life characters from another millennium to a cosmopolitan audience.

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