Fifty-six years after Thoppil Bhasi’s path-breaking play, “Ningalenne Communistakki’” (You Made Me a Communist) took Kerala’s theatrescenario to new heights, his son Soman is coming up with a sequel to the play.
If ‘Ningalenne Communistakki’ made the Communist-backed Kerala People’s Art Club (KPAC) a force to reckon with on Kerala’s theatrical arena, Mr. Soman is treading a different path. Along with a group of artistes who still swear by Thoppil Bhasi’s style, Mr. Soman is forming the Thoppil Bhasi Theatres to stage the sequel, titled “Enum Ente Thampranum” (Me and My Lord), in August.“Mr. Bhasi reacted strongly to social issues using drama. There is a path that he carved with his style. But unfortunately, KPAC is moving in a different direction now.”Mr. Soman, who wrote ‘Manaveeyam’ for KPAC in the club’s golden jubilee in 2000, says ‘Enum Ente Thampranum’ will have a few characters of ‘Ningalenne Communistakki’ staging a comeback. “Paramu Pillai, his wife Kalyani Amma, Karumban, Pappu etc. will be there in the sequel, which will deal with a situation when these characters exist in 2008 and their experiences and hopes.” “Pillai, a farmer, had symbolised fertile land in ’Ningalenne Communistakki’, while Karumban, a labourer, stood for effort on the land.
The culture then was that whatever problem existed, labourers had commitment and affection to the land they toiled on. Now the first thing they do if there is a problem is to damage the land,” Mr. Soman says, adding that the play will involve a clash of both these cultures.Kanaka Prasad KPAC is the secretary of Thoppil Bhasi Theatres and will don the role of Pillai as well while O.N.V. Kurup will pen the songs.
“If Thoppil Bhasi were alive today, he would have certainly written the same story,” sums up Mr. Soman.
Dennis Marcus Mathew