Ramanujar (ராமானுஜர்) is a new Tamil Play by Shraddha Theatres, a theatre group in Chennai. The play written by Sahitya Academy awarded author Indira Parthasarathy, is a biography on one of the most important exponents and Acharya (Guru) of Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism– Sri Ramanujar (ஸ்ரீ ராமானுஜர்). This year (2017), marks the 1000th year of the saint – throughout the year many organisations have been conducting programs remembering Sri Ramanuja’s life and his teachings. Last two years, there was a TV Series too on “Ramanujar” written by former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Kalaignar Karunanidhi.

Shraddha’s play on Sri Ramanujar, runs for two-and-half-hour and is directed by G. Krishnamurthy. Probably after many decades, a Tamil Play on stage is accompanied by a live orchestra – pasurams were set to music and rendered by Janani, Jus’drums Murali Krishnan did the percussion and flute by Poornima.

I liked the play. The script was contemporary, scenes were crisp with short dialogues. It covered the key happenings in the life of Sri Ramanuja – renouncing his family life & taking up sainthood, succeeding as Acharyan after Sri Alavandar, learning after much hardship and then immediately reciting out openly the hitherto kept secret of salvation (the holy mantra of Om Namo Narayanaya), reforming of the administration of Srirangam Temple, escaping from Chola emperor’s misguided arrest warrant, curing the illness of the king’s daughter there, recovering the Utsavar idol (Chella Pillai) from Sultan’s daughter (who later became Thulukka Naachiyaar), establishing the temple in Karnataka’s Melkottai (Thirunarayanapuram),  and ends with Sri Ramanuja coming back to Sri Rangam and thanking the sacrifice made by Koorathazhwan (Kuresan).

Sri Alavandar

Sri Kuresan and his wife Andal joining the mutt

After Arayar inviting him to Srirangam

With King’s personal guard and his wife

After curing the illness of a Jain King’s daughter

Establishing a temple in Thirunarayanapuram

After writing Sri Bhashyam

Artists of Ramanuja

Footnote: Writer Era.Murugan’s blog post on this play.

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