drama Theatre

Off the beaten path

story of a car: Vaayu.

story of a car: Vaayu.   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

With a story about the manufacture of an indigenous car, ‘Vaayu’ impressed with its unusual theme.

Today we see sleek cars from world class manufacturers on our roads. But there was a time when, except for the Ambassador, Fiat, and the occasional Herald and Standard 10, there were few options in terms of cars. When none but the rich could afford the four wheeler, it was one man’s dream to put a small car on the streets and make it affordable to the huge Indian middle class.

‘Vaayu’, Dummies Drama’s latest play, is a docu-drama, that captures the birth pangs of Maruti Suzuki 800 CC, which sparked a demand for cars and brought in all the internationally popular cars we take for granted today.

The Prime Minister (who remains nameless in the play) wants her dead son Sanjeev’s dream to put a small car on the road to become a reality. And she wants it to happen before his birth anniversary. That gives Ramakrishnamoorthy (Sridhar) very little time to do the many things needed — such as find a foreign collaborator, get them to agree to invest, to transfer technical know how and also to buy back a percentage of the Indian manufactured cars.

Ramakrishnamoorthy and Bhargav (Ganesh) persuade Suloki Corporation to agree to the terms of the Indian government, and the company battles odds to finally come out with the small car.

The story is supposedly about a car from the Vaayu corporation, but it is a thinly veiled account of the Maruti Suzuki story. Intelligently scripted (V. Sreevathson) and executed well by the Dummies team, ‘Vaayu’ wasn’t tedious despite its two-hour duration.

The factory set was well done (Mano, Sathyam Graphics, Sathya). At the end of the play, a Maruti car is driven on to the stage and the keys handed over to the first buyer by the Prime Minister. (Bringing a car on stage was done years ago — in one of Nawab Rajamanickam Pillai’s plays, his driver Rathnam would drive Pillai’s Baby Austin on to the stage).

We’ve seen plays in which Indians have been lampooned for their deviousness, and we have laughed at the near accurate portrayals of our almost endemic corruption. But ‘Vaayu’ did not tread the beaten path of whining about the system. Instead, it portrayed one of our hard won successes. It showed that for India to succeed, Indians must first believe in themselves. ‘Vaayu’ is a play everyone who believes in India’s potential and everyone who does not, must see.

Suganthy Krishnamachari

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 10:28:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/Off-the-beaten-path/article15081359.ece

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