Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Bharati: Shraddha’s play for children

By Charukesi

Vijay Tendulkar; Delhi’s YadarthaPenneswaran;Ramesh Vinayakam.  This rare combination of theatre talent, responsible for a recent production of the play Bharati offered a really enjoyable evening's entertainment at Narada Gana Sabha, in November last year--confirmation that the Tamil theatre group Shraddha has come of age.  

If Shraddha's inaugural production Dhanushkoti was a whiff of fresh air in the Tamil sabha theatre scene, it indeed created a stir among the audience, for its unmatched set design with rain water pouring from the top in the middle of a house in the coastal town of Dhanushkoti.  The play was set in the midst of a tempest when rain lashes the town.

Prominent Tamil writers like Anand Raghav and Era Murukan contributed unsual scripts to Shraddha’s subsequent productions such as Doosra Valai, Vadavooran, Vyuham, and Viduran, which were different in conception and presentation,

Bharati was different.  It was meant for children, but the audience consisted entirely of elders.   Vijay Tendulkar wrote this script over thirty years ago and Yadartha Penneswaran an avid theatreperson from Delhi thought it fit to translate it into Tamil for its contemporary relevance.

An employed couple leave Bharati, (played by Mahima) at home for work but return only in the night, when the girl is asleep. When the incomes of both husband and wife determine the economic prosperity of a normal middle class family, children like Bharati tend to suffer alone.  

In her innocence, Bharati turns the clock to night to make her her mom and dad return home, but ends up meeting characters like Micky Mouse, the moon-girl, stars, mermaids, Akbar, Birbal, Shivaji, Joker, and Horseman trying to be friendly with her.  The child Bharati longs to see her mother and father, but they turn up only at midnight, cursing each other.

What stands out in the production is its true to life make-up of the artists, costumes, sets and utterly enjoyable acting of the first timers – all of them.

YadarthaPenneswaran has translated the original Marathi play (‘Bobbychi Ghostha’) with all its powerful scenes and mild humour.  

The background music by Ramesh Vinayakam is very appropriate and he sings a song, too!

Shraddha staged the play for the first time on Children’s Day, but only very few children were there in the auditorium.  One hopes Shraddha will take it to many more venues so that children enjoy the play with all its lovable characters and superb music.

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