Theatre Review

Thuglak Darbar

I am an admirer of the works of the legendary Tamil political satirist, Magazine Editor and Actor “Cho Ramaswamy“. I should’ve heard and watched his most popular satirical comedy  Muhammad bin Tughluq (முகமது பின் துக்ளக்) more times than I can remember, I know the dialogues by heart!

So, I was intrigued when I read about a new play “Thuglak Darbar” (துக்ளக் தர்பார்) written by Thuglak Sathya (துக்ளக் சத்யா) and went to watch the debut staging today at the Narada Gana Sabha. It was produced by United Visuals, Directed and Acted by T.V. Varadharajen.  

Muhammad bin Tughluq and Batuta are being sent to earth by Cho Ramaswamy and Sage Narada
Muhammad bin Tughluq and Batuta are being sent to earth by Cho Ramaswamy and Sage Narada

The story goes like this – “Cho” in heaven is worried about the upcoming Indian Parliamentary elections and along with Sage Narada devises a plan. It was to send Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq and Batuta, back to earth, where they are told to identify 40 honest people to stand in the election. Tughluq tries his best to convince both the ruling party and the opposition party in Tamil Nadu and fail. Following this, he kidnaps the majority of MLAs, boards them in a “resort” and goes to become the Chief Minister. What happens next – did Tughluq fulfil the assignment from Cho, or, did he become corrupt too?

Actor P T Ramesh acting as Cho Ramaswamy, introducing all the other characters
Actor P T Ramesh acting as Cho Ramaswamy, introducing all the other characters

The actor P T Ramesh who played as “Cho Ramaswamy” was phenomenal and has played the role to a T. The script was fine with enough touches of humour, which can be connected to present day politics in Tamil Nadu and laughed at, but nothing more. No new ideas. Considering its the debut staging, the actors have done a good job, I am sure after few more runs, they would be doing the script much better. The play could be trimmed easily by 20-30 minutes, making it crisper.

In the climax, P T Ramesh could’ve kept the mimicking of clearing of the throat to a minimum, though it was authentic to being “Cho”, doing it often was a bit insulting to “Cho” who had to do that often due to his old-age related health issues.

Scene showing a TV Interview with an Actor Sankar, who is mimicking Kamal Hassan and his non-comprehensible speeches
Scene showing a TV Interview with an Actor Sankar, who is mimicking Kamal Hassan and his non-comprehensible speeches
T.V. Varadharajen, acting as Muhammad bin Tughluq who has become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Next to him is the actress appearing as the chief secretary of Tamil Nadu Government.
T.V. Varadharajen, acting as Muhammad bin Tughluq who has become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Next to him is the actress appearing as the chief secretary of Tamil Nadu Government.
A scene where Tughluq as CM is receiving Rs. 10,000 Crores from the mega-alliance in Tamil Nadu, comprising the ruling party, opposition and the new actor party.
A scene where Tughluq as CM is receiving Rs. 10,000 Crores from the mega-alliance in Tamil Nadu, comprising the ruling party, opposition and the new actor party.

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