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Built on buddhist philosophy

 Vasavadatta, the celebrated courtesan of Madhura, lies in her tattered silks, her body a mutilated mass of limbs and legs. As she awaits a long, painful death, Upagupta, the elusive monk, pays a visi

Published: 22nd September 2017 10:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2017 07:25 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI:  Vasavadatta, the celebrated courtesan of Madhura, lies in her tattered silks, her body a mutilated mass of limbs and legs. As she awaits a long, painful death, Upagupta, the elusive monk, pays a visit. As the woman, once a favourite of kings and courtiers, breaths her last, he stays by her side helping her to find  everlasting peace. It’s a moment that has inspired a volley of artistic works and the latest to the list is P A M Rasheed’s Nirvanam Vasavadattam. “Seventh production of the Theatre of Good Hope, it revisits the famous story of the hermit and the courtesan. There has been many adaptations of the epic story, and ours is an independent take,” says the playwright.    


Nirvanam Vasavadattam employs the ‘play within a play’ technique and has its plot centred on a playwright. “At a time when Tamil plays are rampant he wants to come out with a Malayalam production. He is not happy with the loud, boisterous trait of Tamil theatre, yet he can’t find a subject suitable for a Malayalam play,” he explains the basic premise.     In the play the hero gets his first spark from a random conversation with his wife. “She asks him ‘ennodu karuna kanikku’ (show some mercy) which leaves him thinking about Kumaran Asan’s accliamed poem. He has been contemplating on Duravastha and Chandalabhikshuki, but is not happy with the output. In the play we have recreated some parts of both the  renowned works,” he adds.  


Basheer says the age-old story can be placed in all milieus as it contains a timeless message. “It shows the fleetingness of beauty, power and riches. At the end no material possession could save Vasavadatta from her fate,” he says. Nirvanam Vasavadattam is also a play strongly rooted in Buddhist philosophy. Upagupta, who rejects Vasavadatta in all her youthful glory, goes to her when she lies dying, when the world forsakes her completely. In the past he kept repeating the lines ‘it’s not the time’ and he reaches her during her last moments with boundless compassion.

”The play shows that all the vanities of life are so transient and at the end its only love and kindness that thrives,” he says. The play which has Malu S Lal, Gireesh Sopanam and Munshi Aiyyappan playing the key roles, will be staged  in the city on Sunday.

P A M Rasheed’s Nirvanam Vasavadattam employs the ‘play within a play’ technique and has its plot centred on a playwright



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