Kids Theatre Review

Bharathi by Shraddha

Shraddha theatre group have done 15 plays in their four years of founding. The 15 plays have been across genres, all staged with the goal of promoting Tamil Theatre and encouraging the habit of watching Live Theatre with the youngsters. This week’s play, in celebration of annual Children’s Day in India (November 14th) is called பாரதி (Bharathi).

The title (Bharathi) of the play that I saw today is of a little girl with that name in the play, and is not named after the Great Tamil (Freedom struggle fame) poet Thiru.Subramania Bharathi (மகாகவி சுப்பிரமணிய பாரதி). Its a story that’s easily understood as one which is a fusion between “Alice in the Wonderland” and “Toy Story” for the Indian setting. In the story, we are taken along with the little girl (Bharathi) to visit her dream land. Bharathi spends most of her time after school alone in her house, waiting for her parents to come back from work. This happens almost every day and the girl to fight boredom builds her own world in her imagination. A world which is frequented by Akbar (the great Mughal ruler), Birbal (his trusted aide and confidant), Chatrapathi Shivaji,  Mickey Mouse, Angels (Stars, Fishes) and  Moon goddess. The world is filled not only with lovable characters, it contains those that are scarier to Bharathi too, including her strict teacher, Ice Cream vendor, bully classmate, scolding Father and a rude bus conductor.

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My son loved the play thoroughly. The stage effects were superb, especially the underwater world scene with Octopus, Flying Angels, Oyster and Glowing fishes. Many of the characters were little kids from Alchemy theatre group and the youngest of them (a cute little girl of say 4 years) was adorable. The lead character “Bharathi” was played by an Alchemy student Mahima, she was a natural on stage, handling long dialogues, dances all with ease.

The original story of the play was by legendary Marathi Playwright (Late) Mr.Vijay Tendulkar and it was titled “Bobbychi Ghostha” in Marathi. It was adopted to Tamil by Yadartha Sri K.Penneswaran about 15 years back. Tamil film music director Mr.Ramesh Vinayakam has composed the music and background score for Bharathi. To interest the generation of XBOX and Avatar 3D with a stage play and that too a dream world is a great achievement, credit goes to the Director Mr.G.Krishnamurthy and to all the actors on/off stage for the same.

I suppose all interested are welcome to watch the play in the dates below – Contact Shraddha’s Facebook page. The Hindu Newspaper’s review can be read here.

The play is happening Nov 14, 15, 16, 17 in Narada Gana Sabha and Nov 22, 23 in Vani Mahal. A must watch for parents and kids.

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Update 9/Dec/2014: Today Shraddha’s has published some professional photos of the play – Moon goddess, little stars, Akbar & Sivaji and underwater world.