Recreating Ravuri: Paakuduraallu, staged at the Rangbhoomi Theatre
Paakuduraallu, staged at the Rangbhoomi Theatre, is an adaptation of Dr Ravuri Bharadwaja’s novel written in 1978
Paakuduraallu, staged at the Rangbhoomi Theatre, is an adaptation of Dr Ravuri Bharadwaja’s novel written in 1978. By the end of Sunday, all the characters inhabiting 1970s sepia memory assembled on stage making one feel like they had gained valuable insight into the core of ‘the struggle of some South Indian actresses of the yesteryears’.
Characters and episodes from the novel were intricately illustrated on the stage. The ambience captured sepia time, memory, Telugu etiquette and sexuality of the 1970s. The director made sure that the characters established the crucial scenes of the market, culture, and drama of Tollywood production houses and bought them alive with engaging sound. House was packed, and people stood in a cramped auditorium and stayed unmoved until the show’s end.
Theatre artist Bhavana Vazhapandal, who played the protagonist Manjari, stole the stage with her charisma. She was astute with implacable gestures and apt facial expressions, and so was the quality of her tonality, undulating with the mood, as demanded by the scene. No less was the character of Tamil writer Selvam, Manjari’s die-hard fan, played by Bhrugesh Ramigani. For a viewer, it was not just them, although they spent more time on the stage — it remained as if panoramic eyes shifted from one corner of the screen to another; each scene was absorbed by the audience, for it was showcased in the intensity as if living.
“The story itself is fascinating and larger than life; there is both curiosity and aversion as the plot unfolds,” says Nasreen Ishaque, the director of the play and Nibha Theatre Ensemble, the group that staged the play. “The title signifies the rise and fall of people in the film industry, games, traps and tricks people put up to sustain in the industry and retain stardom for as long as they can.”
It was also a task for the director, for the novel is too long, and parts of it are controversial, a few spoken about too much and a few not spoken about, a few misinterpreted and ignored. “It has given me immense scope to explore several angles and pick. I picked what’s most enticing and apt for visual storytelling,” she added: “We are planning to stage the same show at Ravindra Bharati soon.”