'Bhagavante Maranam Veendum' - God dies again, is a play within the play, reflecting the times we live in.

Kalburgi to Gauri Play on writer KR Meeras story highlights killing of rationalists
news Theatre Friday, July 13, 2018 - 16:53
Written by  Cris

Kannan Nayar is pouring a lot of fevicol over a bundle of cotton. He would wrap it around his leg later on - the cast of an actor. Kannan is behind the large Ganesham auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram, preparing his cast, answering many calls about a play that will be staged there. 

Yes, the play will be staged at 6.30 today and tomorrow, yes in the evening, yes. 

Bhagavante Maranam Veendum – God dies again, is based on a short story by writer KR Meera, Kannan tells another caller. 

“The story was written at the time of Kalburgi’s murder,” he turns to say when he is finally free of calls. The director of the play – Hazim Amaravila, has some last-minute running around to do. So Kannan, one of the lead actors in the play, is answering all the calls.

“At the time KR Meera wrote the story, there was this news that KS Bhagawan was going to be the next in the hit list. So the lead character in the play is also called Bhagawan. Professor Bhagawan,” Kannan says.

But then the character is based on the ideologies of Kalburgi, not Bhagwan. Kannan plays Amara, the man who is given the task of killing Professor Bhagawan. “But in an accident, his leg is injured (that explains the cast) and it is the professor who treats him.”

They have tried to adapt the story to suit the current times. “That it is still continuing - the killing of rationalists, that even now people are killed. People like Gauri Lankesh,” says Hazim, when he gets a moment in between his many errands.

Another prop used in the play shows three faces on the two eyes and mouth of a face – Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh and Safdar Hashmi, who was killed during his street performances in 1989.

Hazim believes that people should be able to relate to art, it should reflect the times we live in. “When the murders keep happening, art will only get more powerful.”

He has designed it as a play within the play. A nataka samithi is putting together the play about professor Bhagawan. But even the actors (within the play) do not agree with each other, airing their differing political views. Some doubt if the play should be staged at all. 

The drama also addresses issues of discrimination – a darker woman denied the chance to play the heroine because of her colour, the killing of a Dalit woman who was promised to be married to Amara, the assassin.

There is also pressure from outside forces against the staging of the play within the play.

But Hazim did not have to face any such outside threats in real life. “As long as you are in Kerala, you are ok. You can do it. But when you go outside Kerala, it won’t be the same,” says the playwright who has earlier made two major works: Khai-me-re, based on Jean Paul Sartre’s short story The Wall and Swarna Simhasanam, scripted by the late Narendra Prasad.

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