For one who plans to pen a play on the life and times of Rani Rudramadevi, who lived just for 30 years (1259- 1289), is sure an arduous task. But there are so many dramatic incidents in her life mostly in the war field and also within her family too. She was one of the most prominent rulers of Kakatiya Dynasty, standing tall among few ruling queens in Indian history.
This play was staged at Ravindra Bharati last Sunday under the aegis of Vamsee Art Theatres.
Ganapathideva who ruled Deccan with Orugallu (Warangal) as capital, having no sons to succeed him, formally designates his daughter Rudramma (her original name) as a son through the ancient ‘Putrika ceremony’. This 14-year-old girl succeeds her father as the new ruler. Married to Veerabhadreswarudu, she begins to rule the kingdom along with her father. Unable to face wars with neighbouring kings, her father makes Rudrama Devi to assume full sovereignty and is made queen of the land. Some nobles unwilling to submit to a woman’s authority take up arms against her and Rudrama Devi effectively handles the problem. She manages to establish Kakatiya rule in coastal Andhra, the territory under the sway of the ‘Pandyas’.
Rudramadevi fights valiantly against Mahadeva and forces him to conclude a treaty with her. Meanwhile, Ambadeva, her relative, ambitious and powerful succeeds in carving out his own kingdom and proclaims his independence. Rudramadevi, later manages to crush him.
Credit of strengthening Orugallu fort goes to Rudrama Devi, who also adopts Prataparudrudu, who ascends the throne.
Well-known playwright Akella condensed the story to a level that suits this verse play. The verses were rendered by court poets and others including Rudramadevi. The play would have been better had he avoided these verses as he was dealing with social history that too of a queen. May be he meant to entertain audience with some musical element too, a theory some theatre directors propound. It would be better if the play is rehashed for its second production onwards for there were some characters that history did not have and some missing the history had.
As to the actors, but for Srija, Surabhi Prabhavati, Vijaykumar, Surender Raju and Surabhi Santosh, the rest proved highly amateurish to get saddled in this mammoth production. Some of the dialogues, especially those of valour expression by Rudrama Devi, and a few others were commendable. The play was directed by B.M. Reddy.
The set work and lighting effects, especially the court scene, by Surabhi Poorna were impressive.