Shakthi, a Thriller Play by MAHAM Chennai

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Powai Fine Arts presented Shakthi, a thriller play in Tamil, on 17th may 2013, by MAHAM Enterprises, Chennai, headed by Madhuvanthi Arun. This play is the maiden venture of MAHAM, the first directorial venture by Madhuvanthi and her Co-director, Sureshwer. It is also a tribute to her father and grandfather on the completion of sixty years of cultural service through their drama troupe, United Amateur Artists. It is based on the 1950’s classic movie “Wait Until Dark”. The ninety minutes non-stop play on a revolving stage, that depicted authentic 1970’s set up, was staged at the Hiranandani School (New) Playground where the wide open space and natural darkness provided the right ambience.

Going to the theatre involves, for the viewers, a double trip: first, to the stage world of make up, costume and illusion, and thereafter to the imaginary world through which the actors move. On both counts, Shakthi proved to be a grand fare. The set designed by Padmashree Thotta Tharini, music by the Kolaveri-fame director Anirudh, the seasoned back stage support group, all ensured that the first trip firmly held the audience in place. The imaginary world, the play took the audience through, involved Shakthi, the main character, a blind, helpless, fearful but quick thinking woman who emerges powerful as the symbolic Shakthi, the slayer of evil. The play, by its very character, rests solely on shoulders of the main character, Shakthi. Madhuvanti depicted Shakthi with great acumen portraying, her fears, shock, decision to fight off the gangsters, her despair, fear in the face of a death threat, sudden rise to a position of strength by virtue of being blind in a dark house only to revert back to her vulnerable position and the final victory. Madhuvanti lived the role and carried the audience with her. The supporting cast fitted perfectly in their place and enhanced both Shakthi’s role and the overall effect of the play.

A third dimension that emerged from the viewer’s side was the emotional connectivity and a nostalgic trip back in time. Many in the audience recalled their experience of watching the classic movie way back in their youth and felt that the play was in many was a kind of reliving of that personal moment.

By staging Shakthi, PFA broke new grounds in its quest for enriching the cultural landscape of Powai. It was a proud and defining moment for PFA.


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