They were all living their sometimes magical, sometimes sad, and, at other times, quirky lives inside the pages of different books.
That was until Saturday evening, when ten of Vaikom Mohammed Basheer’s memorable female characters came together at the koothambalam inside Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan to commemorate 20 years of the Beypore Sultan’s passing.
Soja Rajakumari, a solo docudrama directed by P.C. Hareesh, took back viewers to the time when they read each of those classics.
The first to arrive was Sainaba from Mucheetukalikkarante Makal, who engaged the audience in some friendly banter, at times touching upon even the rising prices.
The drama was so structured that the audience was very much a part all through, although things could have livened up a bit more had there been a glimmer of a response when the characters tried to involve them.
Bhargavikutti from Neelavelicham arrived in typical ghostly fashion, appearing first on a swing outside the koothambalam. If not for the posse of photographers around her, that would have been a bit more eerie. This being the 50th anniversary year of Bhargavi Nilayam, much of the drama’s time was put aside for Bhargavi, in sequences interspersed with songs and dialogues from the film.
Then there was a sequence between Suhara from Balyakalasakhi and Kunjipathumma from Ntuppuppakkoraanandarunnu. Kunjipathumma’s mother Kunjithachumma too peeked in for a minute. Pathumma from Pathummayude Aadu played out one of the famous conversations with her brother, the author himself, asking him to buy her ornaments.
Jameela Beevi from Poovanpazham took audience interaction to another level by actually distributing plantain to members of the crowd as she was exiting the stage.
Saramma from Pranayalekhanam remembered the classic love letter from Keshavan Nair while Devi from Kamukante Diary laid claim for being the writer’s true love.
The drama ended by reminding us of the pain of Narayani from Mathilukal.
Pooja K.Nair, a ninth grade student of Guruvayur Little Flower Convent High School, switched seamlessly from one character to the other and garnered the crowd’s applause.
The docudrama was staged by the Nataka Padana Kendram, Kozhikode.