See todays Mathribhoomi Front Page. The article written by Renjith, the famous film director - the director I love most after Padmarajan
I met the lead charter in the article of Renjith at the stage of Town hall , Palakkad -- the venue for HS and HSS drama Competition in Youth Festival - Time at around 1.30 am two days back. The Town hall, not acoustically designed, compounded by the inexperience of the light and sound contractor --- was witnessing noisy scenes that led to the arrest of Sasi the Famous film director-- just because of the bad acoustics. The dialouges were not at all audible. And the drama lovers has almost forced us to stop the drama competition altogether, in its midst. I visited the venue on 20th Jan, Monday - the first day and found that it was really not possible to conduct any drama competition there. The first two days, problems were averted , thanks to the efforts of Superindent of Police and a man of practical wisdom , Sh.Somasekhar IPS, who forsaw the brewing trouble and took stern actions in controlling the crowd.
What other alternative? Every venue is full with programme upt to 10 or 11 pm every day. Sivakumar, the leading camera man of C-DIT, my right hand man , in this crisis hours and in the establishment of VICTERS channel in 2005, when I was the Executive Director of IT@SCHOOL, was there doing all permutations and combinations on the mike system during the night of 20th. On 21st, it was Sanskrit Drama - with lesser audiance and much lesser people understanding the dialogues. But I got feed back from Mathew, the Pathanamthitta Deputy Director of Education, the Stage Manager, who met me on 21st evening and warned about the possibility of disruption of Drama competion for HSS on the next day -22nd, a more serious one for the drama lovers. The special branch also warned me. I discussed the crisis with my collegues in the department and the organising committee on 21st evening, during our daily review meeting. After discussion, I prepared myself to go to the venue on 22nd morning in case of disruption, with our PLAN B , to announce that the Drama will be shifted to Main stage and some times it may start only at 12 midnight and run through the morning of the next day. Or we will award A Grade to all and cancel the event - much to the disappointment of good audiance of Palakkad.
Sivakumar and I went to town hall by 1 am on 21st night (22nd morning hours, when the HSS Drama is scheduled to commence by 9.30 am), after the Sanskrit drama was finished.I saw there a group of youngsters making all kind of trial and error with their proeprties for performing the drama the next day. Sivakumar called the Light and sound guy. We replaced the sound mixer unit, changed positions of the speakers, cut some big speakers. I asked the man who was leading a team on the stage--- arranging the stage--- for next day's competition, to deliver some dialogues. He delivered. I stood in the hall at various locations and listened. We found that the mike (a highly sensitive "Shure" one ) is not picking up at distances. We tried to add more mikes. Then came more or less an abuse, but a gentle abuse by any standrads, from the leading man on the stage, against me , directly to me. It was apparent that he knew that I was some one, some way connected with the conduct of the Youth Festival, and seemed to have appreciated that two persons took the pains to come and inspect the stage at this wee hours. The gang might have appreciated our sincereity or our helplessness also.
The man on stage gave some valuble inputs on how to arrange a stage for Drama. He informed , the standrad dimensions for a drama stage are 24 X 12 feet, but here is a stage with 40 Ft width . This creates problems in the timimg of entry of the actors and that more the actors move farther away from hanging mike, the sound become inaudible. He gave me so many technical lessons in the next one hour. I remembered the days when we designed the VICTERS studio in 2005, with the help of professionals from Asianet, who gave such inputs. All such information were valuble to me. I understood the reasons why director Sasi and Priyananadan, protested. I understood the frustruation of students who were practicing for 3-4 months and protesting spontaneously after seeing their efforts turn futile, because of unscientific organisation for the event. Finally I asked, "what should I do". And he said, Can you reduce this to 24 X 12 ft size, the standard for these kind of ametuer drama. I said I will arrange. Frankly, till that time I thought that it is all a protest by an intoxicated crowd.
I called Dinakaran Mash, the Pandal Committee convener, who came within 10 minutes along with son of Yusaf, the contractor. I enquired them wether they can make the modifications needed by the man on the stage. Every one was aware of the problem. They said, they can arrange the materials, but not have enough man power at this hour. The man said, "no problem -- we will help them". The stage witnessed a great team work in the next four hours. Sivakumar forced me to go back to my room and I left by 230 am. He stood thorugh out, with out a wink of an eye , for me - on my behalf. It was a real real team work.
The morning, I received a message from an unknown number
" Sir we have finished the setting of the stage by early morning. I will never forget you in my life as your intiative supported us a lot" It was from the man on the stage, to whom I shared the number before I left. He confided to me when I left that he never knew that he was speaking to the DPI and said sorry for the harsh words, he spoke.
On 22nd Morning, I called Mathew the DDE, and asked me to give a feed back after the first drama is over. It was by 9.40 am when Mathew told me" Sir it is going smooth, so far no problems". The crowd can hear the dialogues. I called Mathew every hour till noon, till I got myself convinced that every thing is on track.
Today by 11 am , the man on stage called me. He was very excited to inform me that he got grades much above the first prize winners from Kollam district and that too after his team coming here on the basis of an order from court, after being denied an appeal by the department. He was so excited and was profusely thanking me . I told him I should thank you man, because you saved me from a major emabarressment. And I asked him a favour-- to be my technical director, when I arrange a stage for the next years drama competition, and he readily agreed. I told him that I will be saving his number and we need to discuss on preparing the guidelines for stage arrangement, before next season.
I have never seen one who is so passionate about the drama or for me , in any kind of art. I asked him" Hey man , what is your back ground. He advised me to read todays Mathrubhoomi and the article wriiten by Renjith- who know him for quite some time. I read the paper by 4 pm today. I smsed him
" Great. Just read it"
He is MANIVARNAN - A CC Goonda - confiscicating vehciles in his "Poorvasram"- who reformed himself, sheerly because of his love for art.
Here is the article.