A. RAMALINGA SASTRY
Despite being staged several times, `Kanyasulkam' still holds attention of the audience.
If it is varakatnam (dowry) that is currently bogging down the society, it was kanyasulkam (giving away young girls in marriage solely for monetary consideration) in the past.Despite the total reversal of this social order, the magnum opus of Gurazada of the 19th century even after its staging on innumerable occasions earlier, still continues to hold its charismatic sway on the audience. The empathetic concern with which the writer-poet-playwright juxtaposed the ever-extant subterranean realities such as exploitation of the gullible and lecherous influence of wine, women and wealth with a telling effect that evolves loads of humour every movement during the run of the play.An abridged version of the play (for about two-and-a-half hours) edited and directed by Mallela Rajendra Prasad (Asst. Professor, AU Dept. of Theatre Arts) of Andhra Sangeetha Sahitya Nritya Nataka Academy founded by himself, was staged in Kalabharati on the Sivaratri day. The efforts of Madhavi as Madhuravani, Sandhya as Venkanna, Sitamaalakshmi as Meenakshi, Rama as Butchamma, Mallik as Pootakullamma, Pushkar as Ramappa Pantulu and Narasimhulu as Karataka Sastry appeared to be fruitful. Others, especially M. Surya as Girisam, besides Vikram Goud, Gangadharam, Sampathkumar, Rammohan, Sivaramaprasad, Prasadarao and Sridhar in other roles were not wanting but left scope for improvement. Make-up by Rammohan and Venkatarao, stage management by Goud and Govindarao were good.A few changes in the dialogues that effected the spirited flow of the story line, incorporation of solo and duet songs including dance to some of them for Madhuravani and the narration of the story by way of commentary interspersed in between the acts for the revealingly self-revealing play like `Kanyasulkam' seemed superfluous.