CHENNAI: It was a day when Tamil drama buffs hit the jackpot as Narada Gana Sabha was filled with the audience eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of the ‘Indian Sherlock Holmes’ — Thuppariyum Sambu — after 20 years. Lakshmanan, a 60-year-old lover of stage plays who had a child-like enthusiasm shared, “I remember watching this when it was staged 40 years ago by Triplicane Fine Arts. I can’t wait to relive it again!” The production, a stage adaptation of the witty and humorous detective series written by Devan featured the play veteran Kathadi Ramamurthy who left the audience in splits throughout the two hour drama.
Talking to City Express, SL Naanu, writer and director, said, “Thuppariyum Sambhu was first staged by Triplicane Fine Arts and Nataraja Iyer got the prefix ‘Sambhu’ to his name after that. Later, he asked Kathadi sir to don the detective’s role and this legacy still continues.” The play was last enacted by Stage Creations 20 years ago during their 40th year celebration. “This year Stage Creations with Shraddha decided to stage the play as a prelude to our golden jubilee celebration to be held in October 2016,” informed Naanu.
Dressed in a high-waist dhoti, white shirt and a black coat, the versatile Ramamurthy looked every inch the Sambhu as described in the book. “He is described in the book as having a prominent-pointy nose and a bald fringe. Many nose-puns are a part of the play,” quips one of the artists who was part of the play.
With a total of 27 artists taking the stage, Naanu shared, “The rehearsal session was like managing a kalyana veedu. Since artists from other troupes were also a part of the play, making them assemble at one point was a task! But we managed to pull it off with the help of Sivaji sir of Shraddha.”
Though Devan did not see Kathadi Ramamurthy, his creation was made just for this artist, opined a member of the audience. Naanu said, “You can’t see the normal Kathadi sir when he plays Sambhu. The dialogue delivery, body language and the look… everything is different! Had Devan been alive today he would have exclaimed seeing Ramamurthy sir — ‘Here is my Sambhu!”
A classic staged without dilating the original nor modernising it was a hit among the audience. “That’s the key. We didn’t change anything and used references that were prominent in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. It’s like walking down the memory lane,” said Naanu. After the recent success of their play Neeya Naana, the production house is marching towards their golden jubilee that coincides with Kathadi Ramamurthy’s 60th year on stage. “The celebration will be from 21st October to 23rd October,” said Naanu.