Event Theatre

Telugu play ‘Rallu Etthani Coolielu’ is a satire on the modern day corrupt times

Actors during rehearsals   | Photo Credit: Special correspondent

The Telugu play Rallu Etthani Coolielu uses wit, humour and sarcasm to address corruption in society. Adapted by Suma Pamidigantam from the popular Hindi play Taj Mahal Ka Tender by Ajay Shukla, the Telugu version has been designed and directed by Nagaraju Pejjai for Hyderabad-based Samahaara Theatre group. The play explores what would happen if Mughal emperor Shah Jahan were to build the Taj Mahal for his beloved queen in 2021.

The play with 14 artistes will be led by two narrators. The story has the emperor summoning an engineer to create a plan for the monument. “How can a building project take off without an office,” asks the engineer and convinces the emperor to wait until the office is ready. “It takes five years for the office to be completed and then the monument plan takes off,” says Nagaraju.

Satire on society
  • Produced by Rathna Shekar, Rallu Etthani Coolielu will be staged at Phoenix Arena on December 3 and 4 at 7:30 pm; Tickets ₹100 at bookmyshow.com and at the venue

Nagaraju Pejjai

Nagaraju Pejjai   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Nagaraju promises plenty of humour with scenes involving king Aurangazeb who calls it ‘a waste project’ on social media with Jahanaara giving a fitting reply. “The bureaucratic red tape continues with corrupt contractors, politicians and even a pollution officer who calls the Taj a gas-emitting factory with towers. Shah Jahan dies and the monument never gets built, yet the team saves the tender to continue the corruption.”

This is Samahaara’s second workshop production rehearsals for which were held for two months. “The team is excited as we are doing a live performance after more than 15 months.”

The play brings together professionals from different backgrounds. While UX designers Subendra Koganti and Anirudh Penu play Shah Jahan and the chief engineer respectively, model and actor Farida Yousuf plays Mumtaz.

Telugu play ‘Rallu Etthani Coolielu’ is a satire on the modern day corrupt times

Rallu Etthani Coolielu stays true to the original, except for a brief conversation between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. “We added this bit as two female actors had joined the workshop,” says Nagaraju.

The rehearsals were altered since the actors could not do all the activities in a post-COVID-19 scenario. “The workshop production syllabus had to be re-organised and group activities reduced to adhere to safety protocols. We had to do away with the team-building games and understanding body exercises.”

Having directed 25 plays so far, Nagaraju calls this production a unique experience. “Preparing for this play is a mix of emotions. We are excited but we also have to be constantly alert. We are happy to return to the stage with a play that makes us laugh. Laughter is always the best medicine, especially during these tough times.”

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 2:58:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/rallu-etthani-coolielu-adapted-from-taj-mahal-ka-tender-satire-on-the-modern-day-corrupt-times/article37803508.ece

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