P.K. AJITH KUMAR

Yesteryear theatre artiste Vasu Pradeep plans to write a play and enter the stage once again.

Recognition, somehow, has eluded 76-year-old Vasu Pradeep. Even the Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi’s award for his contribution to theatre came rather late.

There is anguish in his voice. But when he takes a walk down memory lane, his eyes light up. And memories he has many, about turning his classmate Kozhikode Shantha Devi into an actor, the experimental plays he wrote and directed and the rich past the theatre in Kozhikode had.

His first play

Kozhikode Shantha Devi was the heroine in ‘Smarakam,’ his first play. “I wrote the play only because my friend Nellikode Bhaskaran, asked me to write one. He also played a role in the play – that of Shantha Devi’s mother. Those were the days when no woman was willing to appear on stage, so men had to do the female roles as well. I too played the leading lady in two plays. Writer Uroob was the person who discovered the actor in me,” Vasu says.

He went on to do many memorable roles, in plays written, among others, by K.T. Mohammed and Thikkodiyan. He also wrote more than 30 plays.

“And I dared experiment. I wrote a play titled ‘Kannadikkashnangal,’ in which the playwright, asks the heroine questions about her role, her life. I have also written plays sans dialogues.”

He is disappointed that theatre no longer thrives in Malabar.

Doesn’t he want to act, write or direct again? “I am planning to write a play. The other day, at a function, a few actors told me that I should act again. I think it’s not a bad idea; I do want to act again,” Vasu says with a smiles.