CHENNAI: Silappatikaram, touted as one of the five greatest epics of Tamil literature for its take on love, revenge and justice, is ready to take stage again, in the form of a dance-theatre production by Karpanai Kudhirai, a Tamil theatre group. But this time the literary piece will be weaved along a fictional story line — ‘Veerabadhranin Kadhal’, a story about Veerabhadran, a man who also loved Kannagi. Vedarun Rajkumar, the writer-director of the play, talks about the production that has many layers and a dense network of characters.
The two-year-old group that has staged two original productions, in an attempt to add a new angle to the existing Silappatikaram story (Kovalan, Kannagi and Madhavi), introduces a new character — Veerabadhran. Why? We ask and Vedarun explains, “We always have certain ideas and questions in our mind when we read this epic and want all of them answered. Veerabadhran, who also loved Kannagi, is a personification of all the answers that we seek.”
The life of all four characters, cross in unexpected ways leading to a dramatic climax, reveals Vedarun. “The highlight of this production is that the story is told through a theatre group that performs in the sixth century. So, it’s a story within a story and how the lives of these groups of artistes are intertwined with the main characters,” he shares.
Calling the plot, ‘a man’s search for himself’, Vedarun adds, “I wanted it to be about the life of an artiste and his journey. What better setting to explore the artiste than that of Silappatikaram! It has everything from love, friendship to infidelity,” he says.
Clarifying that the group does not intend to critique the epic, he says that theatre is the place for questioning and the group leaves it open-ended for the audience to answer it. “We are not trying to answer any questions…but ask questions in our mind. It’s just a humble attempt to understand the relevance of this story in today’s world,” he elucidates.
With a mix of amateurs and professionals in the group, the team has been rehearsing for over six months to showcase a perfect mix of dance, music and poetry. “From auditioning for dancers to setting the costumes, music and choreography, it has been an amazing journey. We hope people enjoy the show and hopefully we will get to translate the production in other languages soon,” he adds.
Karpanai Kudhirai will stage ‘Veerabadhranin Kadhal’ at the Music Academy mini hall, TTK Road, on June 17 from 6.30 pm onwards. For details, visit: www.bookmyshow.com