Theatre

Lacked in originality

Sethu Vandhirukken. Photo: V. Ganesan  

‘Madhu Vandirukkaen’ was a line made famous by actor Nagesh in K. Balachander’s ‘Edirneechal,’ both the play and the film. The success of the play was the result of a combination of factors -- strong script, excellent acting and Art Ranganna’s sets, which provided the perfect background for the story to play out.

Fabs Theatres’ ‘Sethu Vandirukkaen’ (story K. Balachander, dialogue Gopu Babu, direction Fathima Babu), inaugurated for Kartik Fine Arts, was a rehash of some of Balachander’s plays and films, with the ‘Edirneechal’ theme predominating.

‘Edirneechal’ was a story that could have been possible only in a house of the kind portrayed in the story -- a house divided into what were called ‘portions,’ with scenes that take place on the first floor. But the sets in ‘Sethu Vandirukkaen’ were uninspiring.

Old man Sethu is supposed to be the counterpart of Madhu, but he hardly evokes one’s sympathy, whereas one’s heart bled for Madhu. Madhu’s subservience to the tenants of the house was a matter of necessity, but Sethu’s is a matter of choice, and one feels irritated rather than sympathetic towards him. If he wants to serve people, can’t he do so elsewhere?

Madhavi, the heroine, is cast in the mould of many of Balachander’s heroines - rebellious, strong willed and opposed to marriage. And how does such a strong woman turn all goofy when it comes to Venu? Why does she choose him as her husband? There is hardly any meeting of minds.

Her father decides to adopt Venu, not knowing that Venu is in love with Madhavi, and when the truth is known, he wonders about the mixed up relationships, his lines reminding one of Balachander’s ‘Apoorva Ragangal’. Sethu says he believes only in a registered marriage. So why does he happily visualise a proper kannikadaana ceremony for Madhavi?

The play was full of such inconsistencies. Pulling out elements of successful plays and films and trying to blend them into a new outfit simply won’t click, and ‘Sethu Vandirukkaen’ is proof of this.


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Printable version | Jul 21, 2021 1:07:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/lacked-in-originality-sethu-vandirukkaen/article7061348.ece

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