Theatre

PMG Mayurapriya’s play Panchavadi comes with a message

A scene from the Tamil play Panchavadi.

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

It was heartening to see some young faces among the audience at the inauguration of The Mylapore Fine Arts Club’s 18th year drama festival. The event began with the presentation of the ‘Nataka Kala Nipuna’ title to senior theatre artiste TV Varadharajen, followed by the staging of PMG Mayurapriya’s Panchavadi.

Written and directed by P. Muthukumaran, the play revolved around an old-age home, Panchavadi. Its occupants are often seen sharing their problems and experiences with each other.

Sixty-six-year-old Jeeva lands here due to a misunderstanding with his son. The senior citizens in the audience were able to relate to Jeeva’s rants about his son’s behaviour towards him, and how it forced him to seek shelter here. But soon Jeeva realises that it was his son’s financial situation that created a rift between them. Sriraman as Jeeva portrayed his role with conviction. His expression and dialogue delivery lent a natural touch to his performance.

From the Tamil play Panchavadi.

From the Tamil play Panchavadi. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Slice of comedy

Ganapathy Shankar, who played Atmanadan, a retired assistant commissioner of Income Tax, was equally impressive. His subtle sense of humour comes through in the way he keeps complaining about the adjustments that he has to make to stay in an apartment despite having served as a senior government officer. Trouble brews in his family when Atmanadan’s sonvolunteers to offer financial help to his wife’s parents, without his father’s knowledge. Frustrated Atmanadan plans to leave the house. That is when his friend Jeeva, who comes to meet him, takes him to Panchavadi. Ganapathy Shankar’s performance was realistic and enjoyable. Scenes featuring Atmanadan and Jeeva provided comic relief in an otherwise serious family drama.

From the Tamil play Panchavadi.

From the Tamil play Panchavadi. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sequences that showed the difficulties and emotional turmoil that parents of NRIs go through also gained approbation from the audience.

Over the years, several plays, films, and TV serials, have dealt with the issue of children leaving their parents in old-age homes. Though Panchavadi was based on a similar theme, it still made for an interesting watch. The message, of course, was how both the old and the young in the family should not intrude into each other’s space, and learn to make adjustments for a happy co-existence.

The stage looked a bit cluttered with too many elements, apparently included to highlight the idea of a ‘home’. Many in the audience walking in and out of the auditorium during the play and answering phone calls were annoying. Audience etiquette is crucial to enjoying a performance.


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 4:06:21 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/pmg-mayurapriyas-play-panchavadi-comes-with-a-message/article65757545.ece