Tale about the downtrodden

Play Full A scene from 'Kayitam Puli' staged under the aegis of Rasanjali.  

In connection with Rasanjali's fifth anniversary celebrations held at Ravindra Bharati, Telugu University's students of Theatre Arts Department put up a play Kayitam Puli (Paper tiger) written by Modali Nagabhushana Sarma and his wife Saraswathi, adapting Sankar Sesh a Hindi play. Stylised after folk theatre techniques with song, mime and group movements, closer to the street play technique, it mirrored the lifestyle of the girijans employed by a contractor for chopping trees and piling them.

The play opened with a Bhajan team narrating ‘Sita Rama Kalyanam', led by a bhagavatar near a forest. On the request of the bhagavatar , he begins narrating the story of how Girijans were suffering from brutal treatment in the hands of their employer. The girijans are shown working for a contractor named Patel for a meagre payment. When it is time for them to ask for higher wages, Patel notices a poster hung above with a list of demands on it. Sensing trouble, the contractor agrees to a a meagre wage rise. ‘Kayitam Puli' (Paper Ttger) indicates the poster and pamphlets which terrify the contractor. The frequent, needless comments of the Bhagavatar during the play disturbed the continuity in narration. . There were some avoidable characters like a fake Yogi, who claims to have come down from Swargaloka. Patel's smoking on stage for real polluted the auditorium; instead the actor could have pretended to be smoking. Characters of Patel (Kumara Teja), teacher (Pundarikaksha Sarma) and story narrator Bhagavatar (Deena Bhandavachari) were more in focus. All the artistes performed well; about fifteen artistes enacting the group that was discussing Patel were brilliant. . In fact the play was like a reality show. The dialogues were interesting and the technical support praiseworthy. . Director Padmapriya, a good actress herself, deserves appreciation. Earlier the book Nataka Ranga Paaribhashika Padakosam (A dictionary of Theatre Terms) by Modaali Nagabhushana Sarma was released by V.Ramakrishna, former Professor of Central University. J.Venkateswara Sastry, former professor of Osmania University and D.S.N.Murthy, noted theatre director, reviewed the book. Anumandla Bhumaiah, Vice-Chancellor, Telugu University, presided. Noted theatre personality Chatla Sreeramulu was also present.