TP Kailasam, one of the legends of Kannada literature, is popular for his satirical comedies. His Kannada works include Ammavra Ganda (Henpecked Husband), Bandvaal Illad Badaayi (False Pride), Bahishkaara (Ostracism). He also wrote four English plays – The Burden, Purpose, Fulfillment, and The Brahmin’s Curse and few poems under the title, Little Lays and Plays. He is aptly known as Prahasana Pitamaha (Grandfather of Kannada Humorous Plays).
Rangatantra, a theatre group of IT professionals, staged one of his most popular comedy plays Bandvaal illad Badaayi. This is the story about how Ahoblu, a lawyer who boasts of non-existent success in his practice and eventually becomes a victim of his false pride.
The introduction of the play was a first-of-a-kind for me as the presenter stood behind a podium and read out it out from a piece of paper instead of addressing the audience more informally. Considering that the play itself was written in a colloquial language with liberal dose of English words (to make it more realistic and easier for the audience), I was a bit amused at the usage a formal, flowery language here. In fact, when he used the word “nistantu” (which means “wireless” as I found out later) while asking us to switch off our mobile phones, I wondered if any of us in the audience understood it.
As the play unfolds, we will get to know why Ahoblu who is adept at convincing his non-paying clients and unsuspecting assistant (Junior, in lawyer’s parlance) to do his household chores, fails to convince the judges to rule in his favor in the courtroom, how his quick-witted wife manages the house, and why their son attends a Deaf and Dumb school even though he is not speech or hearing impaired.
Pavan seemed quite comfortable as the central character, Ahoblu. Given the fact that he was in the thick of action for the entire stretch of the play, he seemed very much in control and confident. Akhila, as his wife Vishaaloo, was good as a doting mother and powerful mistress of the house. However, her diction was very disappointingly textbook-ish. Rajshekar, in the role of Ahoblu and Vishaaloo’s son Mudmani was just awesome. His body language was a treat to watch. His comic timing and dialog delivery was sheer delight. Watch him when he says “thpaakumpamppu” or when he insists that Balu (Ahoblu’s assistant) write “Fur-fur baaNa” in Kannada and you will get your money’s worth of entertainment.
Among the supporting characters, Prashanth in the role of Parashuraama Pattar – a Kannada speaking Iyer, seeking the legal help of Ahoblu was impressive. His Tamilzed Kannada was flawless.
Overall, despite being an amateur group, I felt they did a commendable job in almost all departments. Eager to watch their next show.