Reflection on society

‘Dowry Kalyana Vaibhogame.  

A middle class family anxious to get a girl married. A pompous (rich) mother, who gives a long list of demands if her son should tie the knot. A meek son, who goes along with his mother’s wishes. Sounds like a story from the Seventies, doesn’t it? And indeed it is. Stage Creations’ ‘Dowry Kalyana Vaibhogame’ (story, dialogue and direction Visu), was first staged in 1974, and has been revived in the golden jubilee year of the troupe. It has a contemporary resonance, because although on the surface things seem different, in actual fact, nothing much has changed.

With stringent legislation against demands for dowry, the practice might not be so prevalent now. But the families of grooms still love a vulgar display of wealth. And rich girls’ families are glad to oblige, engaging in competitive ostentation. And so the simple breakfast of idli and gotsu served to Rushyendramani’s family in ‘Dowry Kalyana Vaibhogame’ has now given place to a more lavish spread. Indian weddings have become fatter since the 70s, and sadly, this doesn’t seem to embarrass the groom, not even in the socalled love marriages. And where does this leave the middle class family? In the same position as that of the 1970s.

At least, with Rushyendaramani, one knows where one stands. She is crude and open in making her demands. But modern families hide their vanity behind a cloak of sophistication, making Rushyendramani seem less villainous and more like a comic caricature. In fact, that is one of the reasons the play is appealing, because it underlines the hypocrisy, making us introspect.

The play was sheer nostalgia for those who had seen it. And for those who hadn’t it came as food for thought, thanks mainly to Visu’s sharp punchlines, and to Kathadi, who played 36-year old Ganesan, the harried brother of the girl to be married. “You have to accept me as the 36-year old Ganesan,” Kathadi appealed to the audience before the play started. He needn’t have worried. So sharp and sprightly he was, age was forgotten. Pammal Pacha was wonderful as the hen-pecked Rajakalavai. It was good to see S.N. Parvathi back on stage, turning in a good performance as the greedy Rushyendramani. Delhi Ganesh was on stage as Kuchelar, the penniless do gooder, who fondly refers to his bicycle as Rolls Royce! Stage Creations has marked their golden jubilee with a great show. One hopes they revive other successful plays of theirs, ‘Run Away Husband,’ for instance.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 4:36:58 AM |

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