Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s theatre festival featured a range of themes

Tiruchiyai Meeta Sundarapandiyan, a Tamil theatrical performance by Karpanai Kudhirai, was presented at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Chennai
| Photo Credit: S. R. Raghunathan

The narrative of Karpanai Kudhirai’s play Tiruchiyai Meetta Sundarapandian revolves around a trio desperate to escape their own challenges. Sundarapandian (Rajbharath), the cab driver, eventually comes to terms and decides to drive Mohanapriya (Subhiskha) to Tiruchi. Mohana is surreptitiously leaving her home for a month! Along the journey, they are joined by Peter (Navaneeth), a journalist seeking a lead story in Tiruchi, and Thanikachalam (Paramesh), who is heartbroken after being turned down by his online love interest. Their supposed issues are overplayed – with Mohana desiring nothing more than her mother’s affection, Peter struggling to accept his wife’s past, and Thanikachalam finding sorrow in a digital romance. However, with his practical wisdom, Sundarapandian guides each traveler towards overcoming their past hauntings.

Scenes from Tiruchiyai Meeta Sundarapandiyan

Scenes from Tiruchiyai Meeta Sundarapandiyan
| Photo Credit:
S. R. Raghunathan

Thanikachalam’s character offered humor with his convoluted metaphors and endless stream of nonsensical messages. Was it an intentional choice to name the character Peter, considering the term “talking Peter” in Tamil Nadu references boasting in English? That’s exactly what the character Peter indulges in, at least initially. Clever incorporations of classic Tamil film tunes hinted at upcoming plot points. Vedarun Rajkumar, the writer-director, modestly described the show as “attempted humor.” And indeed, while it was a cheery start, there’s a longer journey ahead for it to become a fully-fledged comedy.

A Glimpse into the Past

A scene from Blackout.

A segment from Blackout.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

In Theatrekaran’s production of Blackout, directed by Raghavender Siva and Sabarivas, we meet Namasivayam (Bharath Vinayakamurthy), who is notoriously stingy. Despite this, his son consistently attempts to wheedle money out of him. Namasivayam’s daughter hopes to marry for love, but he withholds his blessing. Besotted by Manjula’s flattery, he fails to see that her compliments are meant to solicit donations for charity. An impending blackout, mandated by circumstances of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, sets the stage for a night of clandestine events.

The daughter plans a secret elopement. Namasivayam’s wife quietly schemes to aid her brother. Namasivayam, meanwhile, dreams of a tryst with Manjula. Add into the mix a befuddled drunkard stumbling into the house and a pain-stricken man seeking medical assistance from Namasivayam’s son – confusion escalates. In the dark of a power outage, with the stage humorously illuminated, the characters unwittingly collide with one another and comical misidentifications abound. When light finally restores clarity, relationships and intentions are untangled with much laughter. Credit for an outstanding performance is particularly due to Bharath Vinayakamurthy for his portrayal of Namasivayam. Applause to the whole group with Theatrekaran for a stellar performance.

Leave a Comment