Kathadi Ramamurthy’s Tamil play Jugalbandhi blends humour with a social message

Two well-known theatre groups, JB Creations and Stage Creations, collaborate for the first time to stage a family drama

November 24, 2022 04:43 pm | Updated 06:36 pm IST

A scene from Kathadi Ramamurthy’s latest Tamil play, Jugalbandhi.

A scene from Kathadi Ramamurthy’s latest Tamil play, Jugalbandhi. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The incessant rain that lashed the city recently did not dampen one’s spirit to step out to watch a Tamil play at Vani Mahal. Expectations ran high when it was announced: “Kathadi Ramamurthy’s Jugalbandhi.”

As the title suggests, the play brings together two well-known theatre groups — JB Creations and Stage Creations. Not just that, it also has artistes from both the troupes.

Written and directed by SL Naanu, this is the 53rd play by Stage Creations and the 66th year for Kathadi Ramamurthy, whose tryst with the stage began in 1953.

A scene from the Tamil play, Jugalbandhi.

A scene from the Tamil play, Jugalbandhi. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The play revolves around Sivaraman, (Kathadi Ramamurthy) a retired official, who desires to stay in an old-age home rather than with his son, and his efforts to help a young couple to adopt a child.

The curtain goes up with Shankar Mahadevan’s ‘Eka dhanthaya vakra thundaya gowri thanayaya deemahi’ playing in the background, and Ganesan (Sivaraman’s son) entering his office while talking to his wife Girija over the phone.

Ganesan gets miffed at her when she tells him his father Sivaraman should be sent to an old-age home. Listening to this exchange, Ganesan’s colleague Nandini offers to take care of his father. Though Ganesan initially hesitates because Sivaraman has dementia, (or that is what he makes everyone believe), he eventually agrees and shifts his father to Nandini’s house, much against her family’s wishes. Sivaraman’s arrival turns things for worse initially.

While Nandini’s mother-in-law Lalitha taunts her for refusing to have a child, Sivaraman overhears Nandini and her husband Vignesh talking about adopting a child. To help the young couple succeed in their mission, Sivaraman comes up with a plan. He involves an astrologer (Ganapathy Shankar) to make the mother-in-law agree to their decision.

The veteran’s speciality

Kathadi Ramamurthy’s six-decade-long experience in theatre comes through in his acting. His plays always carry a social message couched in humour. So it is in this play too. It talks about old-age home, dementia, and adoption.

Besides the storyline, the music (Charan) with brief tabla interludes and Carnatic ragas deserves special mention. However, a little more care should be taken while changing the backdrop screens.

The one-and-a-half hour play has sets by Saidai Kumar, lights by Mylai Babu, and title music by Kaushik Venkatesan. Technical production is by Bobby and Johnny. The cast includes Srinivas, Venky, Sai Prasadh, Anu Suresh, and Geeta Narayan.

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