17 Jan 2012

Agni mattu maLe

I had heard a lot on how “Agni mattu maLe” as a novel by Girish Karnad is “against Indian Culture”, but had never got a chance to read it, thanks to Bahuroopi Festival at “RangayaNa” witnessed it live yesterday. It is a tale of deception and passion, very true. This was staged by naTana, under the able leadership of Mandya Ramesh. Everyone in the play is dishonest & has filthier intentions except two people in love, play has following characters

Raibhya – Old man who has two sons Puravasu & Aravasu
Raibya’s dead brother has a son – Yavakri
Vishaka – wife of Puravasu who before marriage was in love with Yavakri
Nithiley – love of Aravasu
Puravasu – Sage who is performing a yaga to get rain for the village
Demon – illegitimate son of Raibhya born out of Rakshasi mother

Play starts as someone seeking permission from “Puravasu”, to stage a play, where “Aravasu”, (one who carries the play along) wants to be a part of. Then there is a play-in-a-play concept (yes much before there was inception). Aravasu the Brahmin boy loves Nithiley the tribal girl, between the consequences of their love, Vishaka sleeps with Yuvakri (who just returned after meeting lord Indra after vigorous tapasya) found out by her father-in-law “Raibya” who gives shaapa to “Yavakri” that he will die in the hands of “Demon”.

Vishaka runs to inform Yavakri, but soon realizes that he tricked her to sleep with him just to irk his “Doddappa” & to kill him. Vishaka after knowing his misdeed spills the magical water he has to save himself from the demon & thus demon kills Yavakri. Aravasu is entrusted the task to provide final rights to Yavakri due to which he misses his chance to meet Nithiley’s father in time to seek her hand for marriage. She is now someone else’s fiancée.

Puravasu who is performing a yaga since 7 years for rain comes home after hearing his wife’s affair, when she confronts to him that her father-in-law is targeting her for his wrong intentions, he kills his dad. He asks Aravasu to do the final rights as he has to get back to the yaga.

Few days later when Aravasu visits the yaga, Puravasu tells everyone that Aravasu killed his father & makes sure his brother is beaten to death by the villagers. But he is rescued by Nithiley who has run from home to be with Aravasu. Aravasu’s only hope being Nithiley is also killed, by her husband for leaving him, & just when world comes crashing down on Aravasu, Indra arrives & says he will grant a boon. Aravasu is torn between asking Nithiley’s life or Demon’s moksha, but finally chooses the later. The play ends with villagers dancing to the rain.

I fell in love with “Aravasu”, both the character & the person who portrayed that character. The play lasted for 2.5hrs never losing its charm or boring the audience. Vanaranga is an open-air stage, but none cared the cold temperature. Its astonishing how none of these characters every made a slightest slippage, in terms of dialogues or flow of events in spite of being in different occupations all of them pursue their passion of theatre. 

Bahuroopi National theater festival is held in "Rangayana" for a week long, & the tickets are very reasonable too. Do make a visit if you are a movie enthusiast, none of the plays will disappoint.


ಗುರುರಾಜ said...

story swalpa confusing agide.. may be because you cut shorted 2-1/2 hour long play or may be due to similarity of names of all characters.