The 155th birth anniversary of C V Raman Pillai, one of the greatest master-craftsmen of Malayalam literature, will be celebrated here with a stage adaptation of his historical novel ‘Marthanda Varma’ published in 1891.
Organised by the C V Raman Pillai National Foundation, the function commemorating the writer and the staging of the play will be held at the Prof N Krishna Pillai Foundation Theatre at Nandavanam at 5.30 pm on Sunday.
Kannan Nair will don the role of the young Marthanda Varma in the two-and-a-half-hour play; Jiji Kalamandir will play Bhranthan Chaanan and Ananthapadmanabhan and M V Gopakumar will portray Sundarayyan. The historical novel relates the events that led to the accession of Marthanda Varma in the late 18th century.
The novel has been adapted for the stage by Dr P Venugopalan and direction is by Dr N Rajan Nair. The play is being staged under the banner of Kalavedi, Thiruvananthapuram. The Information and Public Relations Department is also associating with the staging of ‘Marthanda Varma.’ ‘’It is perhaps the most widely published novel in Malayalam. When it first came out in 1891, the reception was poor. But when its second edition came out in 1911, 20 years later, it became an instant hit. Every year two or three editions began coming out,’’ said Dr P Venugopalan, who adapted it for the stage in 1991, to mark the 100th anniversary of the novel.
‘’Plays based on the novels began to be staged during CV’s lifetime itself, even though he had nothing to do with the script. So you could say that some of the greatest theatre actors from Thiruvananthapuram honed their skills portraying the characters created by CV,’’ Venugopalan said.
On Sunday, writer George Onakkoor will deliver a introductory lecture at the function. Poet Sugathakumari will deliver the C V Raman Pillai Memorial Lecture. Sugathakumari, who was recently selected for the Saraswathi Samman, will be honoured on the occasion.