Theatre as a form of expression has been ubiquitous to all languages and cultures around the world. It is highly revered among performing arts and thereby demands a superior set of skills, dedication, and devotion. Manipal Centre for Humanities has been a pioneer in producing and promoting this art form through its Theatre Club. Here’s a sneak peek into their latest experiment:
The club brought Vaikom Muhammad Basheer’s classic romantic tragedy ‘Balyakalasakhi’ to life on the evening of April 11 at Gangubai Hanagal Auditorium. It was directed by Ms Sania Lekshmi. The two-hour-long Malayalam play was greeted by a full house of an enthusiastic audience.
The plot was centred around Majeed, a reflection of the author in his own play. Mr Kripesh Krishna from MIT, who played the role of Majeed, described his character as a carefree, jolly and happy-go-lucky child whose behaviour and attitude gradually change as he falls in love with ‘Suhara’, the female lead. ‘Suhara’ was played by Ms Gopika Seetharam. Her character was more complex and its development was beautifully executed in the play. The humorous beginning captured the attention of our audience and piqued their curiosity as the story slowly transitioned into a tragedy. The tear-jerking performance left the audience in awe and admiration of the effort and talent exhibited by the cast and crew members.
About the changes brought into the original play and her own character, Ms Gopika said, “in the novel, Suhara does not have a voice, but our director Sania ensured that she has a voice of her own. I could largely relate to the character, especially her childhood and adolescence. With time, as I read more, I started to understand her reasoning and complexities.” She further elaborated her experience of working with the crew. It was an amazing opportunity to build a good rapport with each other and learn a lot in the process.
The play was the first production of MCH’s Theatre club in a regional language. Its success has incentivized the organisers to produce more such plays in the future. Ms Kirti, the production manager, explained the reason behind selecting this particular story- “Vaikom Muhammad Basheer is one of the most celebrated authors and a pioneer in Malayalam literature. This story brings out the beauty of romantic tragedies and is also inspired by Mr Basheer’s own romantic conquests”. The play was received very positively by the audience. The crew concluded the evening with heartfelt messages of gratitude.
-Written by Aparna Bharadwaj