I saw an advertisement in the free edition of weekly news paper ‘The week’ about ‘Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra’ conducted by Patrick Bailey. I don’t know what symphony is all about although I have listened and enjoyed a couple of symphony orchestra including maestro Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasagam. Its week end and I am getting used to accept Thursdays and Fridays as weekends. I am now slowly gearing up to explore the life in Muscat. To start with I surfed the paper to find if any plays running in Muscat but in vain. I enjoy going to theater plays than music concerts
My father is very fond of theater plays but every where theater plays are slowly dying. Thirty or forty years before, it was more popular in India. He always had information about whose play is running in then called Madras and where. He is a fan of Manohar, YG Parthasarthy, Maouli, even the later generation SV Sekar, Crazy Mohan and Khathadi Ramamurthy. When, in late 1980’s cinema was in peak of its helm in Kollyhood, although theater play did not prove popular with cinema audience it went down very well. There was selected audience who enjoyed it more than cinema like my father and eventually I. My favorite are plays directed and acted by Manohar who revolutionized the drama in South India. My father took me to watch some of these in small saba in then called Madras and I became a great fan of Manohar and Maouli who made it big in Kollyhood and appeared in many movies. Latter even directed some good humorous movies in late 1980s.
Manohar’s stage and art direction in particular appealed to me and his overacting facial expression and body language which I tried to imitate before mirror. I even attempted to direct few mimes in school and college to get a name for myself from the inspiration I got watching his stage plays. The lesser known but very humorous stage play director and actor is Maouli. Forgotten now, few of his dramas and then his movies were quite a hit in its time. He quickly withdrew from the field before he could reach the mass in a grand manner. Latter the stage was occupied by YG Mahendran, SV Sekar and Crazy Mohan who are still popular among Tamil audience.
I have always been drawn to late Manohar, the director, actor, stage play writer, art director and the person. He for some reason ended up as a popular villain actor rather a character artist in Tamil cinema and I still wonder why? Well my child hood happiness I enjoyed while going with my father holding his hand to these stage play had long since disappeared. Its years I been to a theater play. Last time I went was to an amateur play ‘ Electra’ at Francis of alliance to show my friend Gokul, that there are things happening in Chennai apart from movies and cricket matches and it was five years before. I now have over 400 dvd movies but watching a play in stage is more fascinating anytime than watching a movie in home theater alone.
I closed ‘The week’ and open my window to look out the dusty mountains of Oman while those lovely old memories of child hood days going to theaters holding my father’s finger makes me long to watch Manohar in his famous stage sets for one more time.
But for few faithful fans, Manohar is still living so do the theater plays. I will look forward to attend one in future.