FRIDAY REVIEW

Travails of a bachelor

``Kalakkara Chandru Pramadham," ... a reworked version of ``Chari Brahmachari."  

UNITED VISUAL'S latest offering, ``Kalakkara Chandru Pramadham," presented recently by the Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha at the Mylapore Fine Arts Club, is a reworked version of ``Chari Brahmachari." The idea of a die-hard bachelor finally settling down to happy matrimony finds favour with audiences as seen by the fact that ``Chari Brahmachari" was staged nearly 100 times many years ago. Writer Venkat has given a fresh look to the theme.

Here TV Varadharajan once again plays the young man who is dead against tying the knot while Nithya is the woman he employs to play the role of his wife. She goes by the peculiar nomenclature of ``rental wife." Both the protagonists are of course well past their youth but manage to carry it off.

Nithya has lost quite a few pounds and the salwar kameez gives her a youthful air and so she makes a plausible 31 (why that magic figure one doesn't know). Varadharajen too with his flair for humour matches her and the result is a play that can't be taken seriously but then, nobody intends it to be! The lines are scripted well and flow naturally from the situation.

It is the army of male characters who slobber too much over the heroine that makes the play annoying in places.

Apart from the lead pair, the supporting actors put up a good show. Their acting is spontaneous and the body language and quips produce a hilarious effect at times. LIC Natarajan as Nithya's father, who is initially reluctant to have his daughter take up such an unusual job but later steps in as a one-day substitute to do her chores, is very natural.

An elderly quack Suman (Binny Ramachandran) rents out his house to a couple of bachelors Arunachalam (Govindarajan) and Chandru (Varadharajen) But Arunachalam returns from a friend's wedding with his newly acquired bride (Malathi) in tow. She is a Telugu woman and this gives the playwright an opportunity to generate humour over linguistic misunderstanding and differences. Arunachalam teams up with Chandru's father to get him married. But Chandru stumps them by declaring that he will engage a woman who will cook, clean and entertain for him. Arunachalam and the father find Dhairyasri in the hope of getting Chandru to marry her.

The number of men who make a beeline to his house and the fear that Dhairyasri may marry an NRI youth open Chandru's eyes. Nithya is cool and has the right amount of the careless ``I'm just doing my job" look. Varadharajen as the man who gradually succumbs to her caring ways and charm is convincing.

Though the flirtatious ways of the men become repetitive and distasteful ``Kalakkara Chandru, Pramadham" directed by Varadharajen is a lighthearted production that helps you laugh an evening away.

KAUSALYA SANTHANAM