KOCHI: No other drama has captured the essence of the Communist movement in Kerala like Thoppil Bhasi’s ‘Ningalenne Communistakki’, which was first showcased in 1952. Many years have gone down the lane, but the play continues to enthuse Communists in Kerala. It was evident on Tuesday at the Marine Drive helipad ground, where it was performed again in connection with the CPM state conference.
The drama written by the late Thoppil Bhasi for the historic KPAC troupe has played a prominent role in the progress of the Communist movement in Kerala. When it was screened again after a gap of five years (the drama was staged by KPAC in 2017 for the last time), that too in front of a nearly packed house, it has once again proved that it has that ‘X’ factor to attract even gen-x comrades.
“It is the historic value that makes the drama a unique piece of art. There is no contemporary relevance to the core theme which revolves around the hardships faced by farmers at the hands of landlords. The ‘Janmi-adiyaan’ (landlord-tenant) relationship that prevailed in the 1950s is irrelevant now. However, the present generation will get a chance to revisit those days of hardships and how Communist movement gathered strength in Kerala,” said KPAC secretary A Shajahan. He said Bhasi directed the play for the last time in 1991.
“He passed away in 1992, and since then, there has been no director whenever the play is staged. We are still conceiving it in Bhasi’s version without changing the settings. Thoppil Pradeep -- son of Bhasi’s brother Krishna Pillai -- actor Thamarakkulam Mani who plays a major role in the play, actors Rajendran KPAC and Johny are still in the troupe.
Hence, it is not difficult to maintain the originality of the play without affecting its soul. The original version of the play during the 1950s was of three-and-a-half-hour duration with 25 songs. However, later it was trimmed down to two hours and 30 minutes and the number of songs was reduced to nine,” he added.
The character of 12-year-old Meenakshi, which was once handled by late KPAC Lailitha, was enacted on Tuesday by newcomer Anjali. It was a novel experience for her to perform the play in front of party admirers. The songs including evergreen ‘Nammalu Koyyum Vayalellam’ penned by ONV Kurup proved once again that it has the firepower to ignite the spirit of CPM workers. The play also allowed various artists of KPAC, who were not able to reunite for a long time due to the outbreak of Covid, to come together and enact their favourite roles once again.