Theatre ‘Naree Medham’ succeeded because it was well crafted and well enacted.
The lure of easy money is apparently irresistible, more so if it has tacit social sanction in the name of tradition, as dowry. Those who practice it, must realise its horrible effects before it comes to their turn to bear the brunt of the evil practice. On this premise, artistes of Hyderabad-based Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Kala Mandali staged the play Naaree Medham (slaughter of women) and kept the audience riveted at Kalabharati Visakhapatnam.
Set in the drawing room of Kanakam, a avaricious housewife, the play takes place during her search for an affluent match for her eligible son Maneesh. It opens with a scene where she gives a can to her henpecked hubby Janardhanam to fetch kerosene in view of the cap on subsidized cylinders of LP gas, a scene symbolic of things to come.Kanakam never lets go of even a remote chance of when it comes to garnering easy money. Having got her daughter married for a song, she finds taking fat dowry for her son a perfect way to become rich. She does not hesitate to get her son married any number of times for huge dowry. First, she enters into a matrimonial alliance for dowry of Rs 20 lakhs and then another one for Rs 50 lakshs.
She hatches a scheme with a contractor Nagaraj to do away with her daughter in-law using kerosene. Meanwhile she lends a can of kerosene to the contractor, for a similar purpose in another house, on the condition that he returns two cans of kerosene. Having fulfilled his contract job, Nagaraj promptly returns two kerosene cans. Then Kanakam learns to her shock, that the it was her own daughter who had become a victim to the kerosene can she had lent for a dowry killing. It was commendable craft in the treatment rather than the plot that made the play interesting. Hard hitting dialogues with a touch of contemporary scenario and good histrionics coupled with excellent team spirit made it racy all through. T Sri Lakshmi, who directed it and played the role of Kanakam displayed remarkable theatrical prowess. Both as the wicked mother-in-law and a doting mother who stood traumatized at the death of her daughter, her exceptional expressional shades heightened its dramatic appeal.
MKS Sayana, Govindarajula Nageswara Rao, Balijepalli Ramesh, Ch Muralimohan Rao and T Sudhakar were at their best. Bandakavi Subbarao and Govindarajula Nageswara Rao scripted it. Visakha Music and Dance Academy featured it in its monthly schedule.