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Mega event attracts packed house

KAUSALYA SANTHANAM

The Tamil drama festival organised by T. V. Varadharajen evoked great response.

PHOTO: K. V. Srinivasan

COMEDY: `Mega Serial'

"Nagaram Muzhuvathum Nalthorum Nadagam," the Tamil drama festival organised, in Chennai, by T. V. Varadharajen of the United Visuals has proved to be a great success.

The troupe decided to celebrate its 25th anniversary by holding a 25-day festival from July 22. But instead of just staging their productions, Varadharajen invited various groups to participate in the event.

A play was presented by a different troupe each day and senior theatre artistes were honoured.

``The response was better than I expected," says an elated Varadharajen. ``By choosing different venues and areas in the city, we were literally able to take drama to the people. We wanted to make it known that there are more than 25 troupes in the city.

The support by our sponsors and the media made the event possible. We chose the month of Aadi because there are no weddings or school admissions during that period. The crowd picked up after initial uncertainties."

Meticulous

Pushkala Iyer, a management consultant, who did not miss a single play, says that the festival was meticulously organised.

``The members of United Visuals sporting `Ungal Nanban' badges made everyone feel welcome and respected and not as if they were attending a free show."

Though the audience mostly consisted of the middle aged and elderly, there were youth like Parameswaan who thought it worth their while to come to Vani Mahal from Porur to view comedies.

Another festival regular Radha Swaminathan, a bank officer, said she greatly preferred the dramas to TV serials. ``My companion was my mother-in-law who was thrilled to see old timers such as M. Saroja being felicitated."

A seminar was held on Tamil drama at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan as part of the festival.



LAPPING IT UP: The audience at festival venue.

Justice Bhaktavatsalam, R. S. Manohar, V. S. Raghavan, S. Ve. Shekher, Kathadi Ramamurthy, Koothapiran and Ramanujam of the Kartik Fine Arts, were the main participants.

The need for good scripts and presentation was pointed out by Raghavan.

Manohar spoke of the need for professionalism and punctuality on the part of the troupes. Shekher felt that audiences were ready to pay well to see a good play.

Mr. Bhakthavatsalam elaborated on his experiences as a senior drama artiste while Ramanujam suggested a newsletter be published on Tamil drama.

There were suggestions from members of the audience as well. What was truly significant was that a majority of the plays drew packed houses.

The Narada Gana Sabha Hall was crammed with viewers on the last day when United Visuals staged ``Mega Serial."

The festival was definitely a mega event. Many theatre lovers expressed the hope that such a festival would become a part of the city's cultural calendar. Varadhrajen hopes so too.

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