For the first time, Adukkalayil Ninnu Arangathekku, the historic play by V T Bhattathiripad, which had made an impact in the conservative Nampoothiri community, is all set to be staged outside Kerala. Ambili Kala Samithi, a popular drama troupe in Vattamkulam near Edappal, will stage the drama at Thunchan Memorial Hall in Dombivli West, Mumbai, on September 23.
Adukkalayil Ninnu Arangathekku was first staged at Edakkunnu near Thrissur in 1929. Ambili Kala Samithi, a regional drama troupe at Vattamkulam, recreated the play under the aegis of Kerala Library Council last March and the drama has already been staged in four venues in Ponnani and Manjeri.
Interestingly, in the new version, female artistes portray the women characters unlike in the old play where male artistes played the female roles. “Conventional style apart, the story is narrated without any change in the original script,” said director of the play Arangottukara Narayanan.
“The play goes around the love story of Thethi (Devaki), a Brahmin girl and Madhavan, a youth who arrived in her Vilayoor Illam for learning Koothu and through this, VT portrayed the old social structure and the degenerating Nampoothiri culture of the period, said senior artiste and Library Council state committee member T P Sankaran Nampoothiri. Thethi’s father fixed her marriage with Karkidamkunnu Viroopakshan Nampoothiripad, an old Brahmin who already had four velis.
T P Sankaran Nampoothiri is doing the role of Vilayoor Achan Nampoothiri, father of Thethi. V K Sharika, grand daughter of Sankaran Nampoothiri, dons the role of Thethi.
Interestingly, Sankaran Nampoothiri played Kunju, the friend of Madhavan and Thethi, when the play was staged in 1982 during the centenary celebrations of Malayalam drama. VT, Mullanezhi and Premji were the main artistes in that play. Nethan Neelakandan, who did the role of Thethi when the play was staged at Mezhathur in 1976, plays the role of Othickan in the new version.
“The play will be staged in Mumbai as part of the Onam celebrations organised by Mumbai Yoga Kshema Sabha,” added Narayanan. Abhijith Mekkad, Hari Shyam, Kuthulli Narayanan Nampoothiri, S N Kumaranellor, Sreeja, Beena, Sneha, P Kumaran and Dileep are the other artistes.