Sadarame – Rangashankara
This is one of the plays I kept hearing about but couldn’t watch it before. Coming from B Jayashri’s team, this is one of those “typical” plays — from which the Indian movies can be said to have originated from — complete with actors singing, drama punctuated by songs/dances and sometimes with a laughter sidetrack.
The story is about a prince who opposes his marriage until he falls for a beautiful woman, Sadarame. Sadarame’s father & grandfather are cunning misers and demand to be crowned in exchange for the daughter’s wedding. King, very eager to get his son married, accepts to this demand. Sadarame and her husband, wander away to another province and find it difficult to survive having exhausted the money.
Sadarame’s husband approaches the prince of the land, who is lusty and lures Sadarame for marriage. She hatches a plan for delaying marriage and plans to escape with husband. Again, a thief overhears her plan and acts as her husband and takes her away and ask her to marry him. She again manages to escape from the thief and lands in another state, and remains impersonated as a man. She, having survived a challenge qualifies to marry the princess of the state. She discloses her true self to the princess, yet remains king until she finds her husband back. After which all three stay together (yeah !), and the cheats get punished.
Main plot as described above at times looked like a thin sketch, it was about other parts – often the side track, that evoked much laughter. For example, of course the masterly act of the thief by B Jayashri herself is priceless – her energy level, her lung power, her singing – and that of a male thief’s make-up was wonderful. And then there was a drunkard singing and mouthing dialogs – his acting was brilliant. The song sequences – the actors singing themselves with simple lyrics – were though good (esp by the hero), but it eloborated too much than required at places. Likewise a scene of bargaining and cheating by Sadarame’s father went on and on. Also I could not follow many Telugu dialogs spoken by him. But Dingri Nagaraj was fantastic and had the audience split with his timings and humour. I also felt, may be this play required more than 2 hours of time and they did considerable editing – especially the challenge which Sadarame wins, was just told in words and had no scene to it and looked abrupt. It reminded me of the TV channels chopping the scenes to accommodate advertisements. Wondered why there was no character introduction at the end of the play. Finally a mention has to be made about the colorful and eloborate stage preparation mostly with the apt giant screens.
Overall: As the pamphlet suggested, the play displayed “navrasas”, the humour being very strong. As such it was an enjoyable experience. The story let me down, but the performances were superlative.