Monday, September 21, 2015

Malgudi days are back, this time on stage

Celebrated storyteller RK Narayan's novel Swami and Friends, which, for generations together, stirred hearts with its ironic humour and tenderness about the struggles of ordinary people in pre-Independence India, is back again - this time in the form of a play. A Bengaluru-based performance company has crafted a stage adaptation of the 1935 novel, condensing the life and experiences of Swami, Mani and Rajam in a fictional town in Karnataka, in a 90-minute theatrical, slated to be showcased as part of an upcoming theatre festival in the city. Aruna Ganesh Ram, director of the play, says, "Through the play by the same name, we have tried to recreate the nostalgic charm of a bygone era within the ambit of the stage. The plot is majorly based on Swami and his escapades in Malgudi with his two close friends, Mani and Rajam, as well as his affection toward his grandmother. The essence of the play is very earthy and the storyline dovetails the ordinary concerns of people in those days, punctuated with the author's unpretentious and natural narrative technique. The dramatic piece, with its humorous undertone, has something to reconnect with for everyone." In sync with the theme, wooden cuboids are used as props on stage. "The mangrove happened to be the three friends' favourite hangout, while the Albert Mission School had a strong presence in their lives. Thus, wood has been used as a material, as it connotes warmth and strength," she adds. Thirteen-year-old Ishaan Pai, who plays the role of Swami, describes the portrayal as quite an experience. "Swami was known for his quirks and boyish innocence. He would apply the logic of arithmetic to real-life experiences. Shankar Nag's popular television series, Malgudi Days, and RK Narayan's book have both helped me to get into character," he says. For Kartik Iyer, who is Mani in the play, however, the book has been the constant source of reference. "The whole experience was very intense and overwhelming. Travelling back in time to portray the mannerisms of an adolescent in those days was a challenging task. Although Mani struggles with his own studies, he is protective about Swami. All the characters in the play have worked hard to maintain the humour and mirth of the plot." says the 25-year-old. Expressing her views on the stage adaption of the book, theatre personality Arundhati Nag, who was also a part of the TV series, says, "A lot of precision and imagination had gone into the making of Malgudi Days, and, of course, the series was mostly shot outdoors. The story focused on how the children dealt with adult footprints. Putting all that together on stage would be a challenge, but I am hoping it makes an interesting act." According to Manjunath Nayaker, who played the role of Swami in the 1987 TV series, any interpretation of the novel and its characters would be interesting and fun to watch. "It's been almost 30 years that the serial was first broadcast on TV, but the allurement of Malgudi has lived on. It's amazing how the quaint little village of Agumbe, with just three pathways then, was chiseled into a fictional land that remained etched in people's hearts and memories forever. It would be exalting to watch a play on Swami, Mani and Rajam," he sums up.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tollywood 2017: Star Of The Year Natural Star Nani

In Any Field Hard work always pays! One has to agree that it is true looking at Nani’s recent success at the box office. After goin...