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    The latest from Theatre Nisha, Vrikodara, hinges on Bhima and his retelling of his life.

    Ita��s been a while since Theatre Nisha staged a Tamil play in the city. Today they are remedying that, with their latest production Vrikodaraa��a play that has been in the making for over five years. a�?Ia��d met actor Saravanan while directing a few of Koothu-P-Pattaraia��s plays and wea��d discussed working on (Malayalam writer) Vasudevan Naira��s Randamoozham. But since many had already tackled the subject, we decided to look at a new conflict,a�? begins director V Balakrishnan, explaining, a�?We wondered, what would Bhima narrate if asked to describe his life’s journey?a�?
    With that as the starting point, the duo did extensive research, creating a script inspired by Randamoozhama��s narrative, but drawing the conflict and characterisation from sources like Vyasaa��s Mahabharata and Bhasaa��s Madhyam Vyayoga. Vrikodara (meaning a�?the wolf bellied onea��, a reference to how Bhima has a ravenous appetite, but is all muscle) begins with the Pandava doing shradham for the dead and looking back at his life. a�?With the Mahabharata, it is impossible to say one has written something new. But wea��ve tried to bring in fresh perspectivesa��like how, for Bhima, swearing to kill Duryodhana was not as important (their conflict was decades old) as the fact that his son Ghatotkacha would not get his inheritance,a�? says the director.
    While the sets are minimal, the music will be rich and varied. a�?For the first time, we will use a Carnatic piano (performed by Srivaralaxmi Maya), while percussionist Vishwa Bharath will accompany on a variety of folk instruments, like the urumi, thappu and thudumbu,a�? he says. They are also proud of a a�?reimagined gadhaa�?, which, unlike the decorative ones wea��ve seen on TV, is more functionala��a�?heavy on one end, with edges to use for stabbing, and a long rod to use much like a silambam speara�?.
    Today (7 pm) and tomorrow (3 pm and 7 pm), at Alliance Francaise. Rs 100. Details: eventjini.com

    a��Surya Praphulla Kumar

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