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Updated: August 24, 2013 09:37 IST
MADRAS 374

Tamil theatre: where you can laugh it off, louder

Special Correspondent
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Actor crazy Mohan at the 150th show of his play Chocolate Krishna in the city in 2009 — Photo: S.S. Kumar
The Hindu
Actor crazy Mohan at the 150th show of his play Chocolate Krishna in the city in 2009 — Photo: S.S. Kumar

When, at the end of a play, you hear resounding applause, it is for the hard work the troupe has put in.

In the 1970s, almost all the city’s drama troupes were full of amateur artists, who hoped to make it into films. Each troupe made its mark without stepping on the other’s toes. Quite a few troupes concentrated on light-hearted plays – some of these were a total laughter riot.

S.Ve. Shekher of Natakapriya says his motto is eliciting “200 laughs in 100 minutes”. From being paid Rs. 600 for a show to receiving complaints that his fans had to return home as there were no tickets, he has seen it all. When television entered living rooms, he used the medium to create a comedy serial. The presence of his fans at his shows acts like a tonic for him, he says.

Since Mouli (B. Chandramouli) believed drama must move out of Mylapore and Chennai, he reached out to audiences as far as Aranthangi and Sivakasi. Thus his fans connected with him instantly when he began acting in films, he says. “I straddled stage and cinema until 1984. Then I gave up on stage. If I want to come back I must do something different. In Kolkata, if a train accident is being depicted then they do so realistically. That is theatre for me,” he insists.

‘Crazy’ Mohan, known for his pithy dialogues engages audiences with novel titles for his plays. From the Crazy thieves of Palavakkam to Jurassic Baby and Chocolate Krishna, his witty dialogues have continued to hold sway. Chocolate Krishna continues to get viewers, he says.

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