Deepa. H. Ramakrishnan
It was hearing Draupathi’s pleas for help that Lord Krishna came to the aid of the Pandavas in the Mahabharatha. “If he hadn’t saved my honour, when I was disrobed in the Kaurava durbar of what use would have been the vows taken by Arjuna and Bheema to defeat the Kauravas,” asks Draupathi, the heroine of Subramania Bharathi’s Panchali Sabatham.
A. Vijayakumari, a final year student of M.A. Natya of Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women, who played the role of Draupathi said that only the nationalist poet could have had such a profound thought and from a feminist view point. She was among the 60 students who enacted in Aaduvome Pallu Paaduvome, a dance drama production directed by theatre artist C.Karthikeyan.
“For a character to be portrayed powerfully dance is as important as dialogue. The production would be appealing for those who don’t know much about Bharathi’s poetry as well as those who have indepth knowledge,” she said.
Kannamma, Draupathi, Thamizh Thaai and Parasakthi, the women in Bharathi's works came alive on stage in the production. In the story, the poet too comes alive and tells the story of Valli Kandhan to the youth who are awakened and understand the importance of women's emancipation.
A.Swathi, a 1st year B. Sc. microbiology student who played the original Bharathi in a fancy dress competition, said this dance drama came as a blessing in disguise for her. “I love Bharathi and also acting. Of course I had to miss a lot of classes. But it was fun,” she said.
The Department of Natya of the college offers a five year integrated M.A course started in 2005. Dance, music and drama are taught in both theory and practice. Allied subjects such as Ancient Indian history, philosophy, architecture, sculpture, painting and inscriptions are included in the syllabus.