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Friday, August 19, 2016

Tune in to Theatre - All Kerala Radio Drama Festival of AIR


The annual All Kerala Radio Drama Festival of AIR, beginning August 21, has a stellar line-up of mainstream actors. The prime source of entertainment before the advent of television, the radio and All India Radio (AIR) still have a devoted following. One programme of AIR that has had a steady listenership over the decades has been the channel’s annual ‘All Kerala Radio Drama Festival.’

For the fête, every year, different stations of AIR in the state adapt classics, popular novels and short stories. “Radio plays have been on air since the early 60s. That was a time when almost all the leading actors and actresses in Malayalam cinema ‘acted’ in these plays. Radio was the sole entertainment option then and the stars evinced a lot of interest in doing the plays. It was a matter of prestige for them,” says R. K. Gopal, director, Thiruvananthapuram station, who is also a radio drama artiste. Thanks to the programme, several artistes became household names, with some of them even making it big in cinema.


A huge draw of these plays is that stations usually rope in established names from the world of cinema for their productions.For this year’s drama festival too there is a starry line-up with actors like Lal, Govind Padmasoorya, Siddique, Sajitha Madathil, Kochu Preman, Sona Nair, Kollam Thulasi and Sharat Das, among others, in prominent roles. “In the earlier days actors recorded the plays together in the studio. Now their voices are recorded as separate tracks and then mixed. They all are busy with their film commitments and it is difficult to bring them together,” Gopal says.

The first-timers this year are Lal and Govind Padmasoorya (GP to his fans) who play key roles in the radio play ‘Aarachar’, based on K. R. Meera’s award-winning novel, Aarachar, presented by Thiruvananthapuram station. “Every year we try to feature a new voice. Acting in a radio play is purely an acoustic performance that depends on dialogues, music and sound effects,” says N. Vasudev, programme executive, Thiruvanthapuram AIR who has directed the play. Last year Suresh Gopi and Jayaram debuted as radio drama artistes in his play ‘Akale Akale Aswasam.’

Lal who stars as Phanibhushan Grddha Mullick, the 88-year-old executioner who takes pride in his job and wants his daughter, Chetana (played by voice artiste Devi), to take up the profession, is thrilled to bits about this new role. “It was exciting and challenging. When you dub for a movie there are a lot of limitations. Very often the dubbing fails to match up to what we did in front of the camera. You have to be careful about lip sync and many other factors. But on radio there are no such problems, you have the freedom to say your lines,” says Lal.

For GP, handling the role of Sanjeev Kumar Mishra, the ambitious and shrewd journalist in the play, was no cakewalk. “I have never seen a drama, have never acted in one and have not heard a single radio drama. It took over an hour for me to learn how to do it and the recording went on for about six hours! I was intimidated by the presence of such fine voice artistes such as Devi and Anandavalli in the studio. The experience was more like a workshop and I am sure that it will definitely help me as an actor,” says GP.

Meanwhile, Kochi station has got actors Siddique and Sajitha Madathil as the leads in its play, ‘Sahasrayogam’. Siddique is a veteran of sorts having done seven radio plays till now.“For me doing a radio play is like an exercise in improving my dubbing skills. You are creating a character in the minds of the listeners through your voice and that is the beauty of it,” says Siddique. He has voiced six characters in an earlier play, 'Vithakkunnavante Upama'.

Actor Kochu Preman is acting in the play ‘Avadhi Devo Bhava’ presented by Ananthapuri FM, which is a humorous take on how government employees look forward to public holidays.Another highlight of this year’s fête is that Thiruvananthapuram station is broadcasting a play from its archives, ‘Ithilkannikal’, written by N. Krishnapillai and directed by T. N. Gopinathan Nair. Originally aired on February 9, 1969, the play has the voices of Sathyan, Prem Nazir, P. Bhaskaran, Adoor Bhasi, Jose Prakash, Sheela, and T. R.Omana, among others.

The seven-day All Kerala Radio Drama Festival begins with a curtain raiser on August 20. August 21: ‘Aarachar’ (AIR Thiruvananthapuram); August 22: Oru Mayilpeeli Pranayathinte Ormakku (AIR Kozhikode); August 23: ‘Pattabaakki’ (AIR Thrissur); August 24: ‘ Uravakal Vattunnu’ (AIR Kannur); August 25: ‘Sahasrayogam’ (AIR Kochi);August 26: ‘Avadhi Devo Bhava’ (Ananthapuri FM); August 27: ‘Ithilkannikal’ (AIR Thiruvananthapuram). The plays will be aired at 9.30 p.m. with a repeat broadcast the next day at 11 a.m. You can also listen to the plays on the website www.allindiaradio.gov.in or the app allindiaradiolive.99.

Source & Credit: http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/mainstream-actors-on-being-part-of-all-kerala-radio-drama-festival/article8998543.ece

Forwarded by:- Jainendar Nigam, PB, News Desk,prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

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