Artistes who worked with KT stage scenes from his plays
For S.R. Chandran, life on stage was an automatic choice, the only way to escape hunger. For Vijayalakshmi it has been a way to prove a point in a society which looked down upon women performing in public. Other than the stage, a common element which connects them is K.T. Muhammed, one of the eminent playwrights the State has produced.
On Saturday, a bunch of artistes who had worked with K.T. Muhammed over a long period of time came together once again on stage to commemorate the man and his works on the occasion of the unveiling of his statue in Mananchira square. They performed a collection of memorable scenes from some of his notable plays like Srishti, Kafir, Ithu Bhoomiyanu, and Vellappokkam .
The artistes reminisced of a time when he strode like a colossus on the Malayalam drama landscape.
“KT will always be remembered for the experiments he did with the content of the play, rather than with the form. He discussed subjects which few had the courage to take up on stage,” says Shamsu Mysore, who has acted in plays that KT had written in the later part of his career.
K.T. Muhammed had written plays criticising the regressive practices in his own religion, which offended many during that time. But these were not written with an aim to cook up controversies and gain an audience as is the practice these days, his friends say.
“I started with street plays for the Communist party in the early 1950s. In 1956, I joined KT’s troupe and has been a part of all his plays, donning a variety of roles. He packed lot of punch into each of the characters he created and it did serve as very valuable social criticism. My career is indebted to him. It is another matter that I was thrown out of my house for acting in plays,” says 81-year-old Chandran.
Another of KT’s qualities which everyone touched upon was his quest for perfection. “He was the last of the perfectionists. He was not averse to spending an entire day to perfect the delivery of a single line of dialogue,” says Vijayan Malaparambu, who won the State government’s award for the best professional drama actor in 2012. Vijayan joined KT’s troupe ‘Kalinga’ in 1978 and worked with him till the end.