Synopsis

“A tale that has been told over many generations, yet not yet told in full.”

A group of nomadic balladeers finds a story, an amazing one, one day as they sit and chat by a seaside. They are “Ramaya paatukaar”, the balladeers who sing with a bow. It is believed that the bow belonged to Ravana’s son and was thrown into the sea by Hanuman after he burnt down Lanka. The ancestors of the balladeers found this bow and since then, generations have been destined to keep singing stories. But on this day, the group chance upon a new story.

They were spellbound by the story of Hanuman, the celibate sage and mighty warrior, and his son Makaradhawajan!

Rama and Lakshmana are abducted from the secure cover made by Hanuman and held captive in Pathala (Nether World) by Pathala Ravana. Hanuman, who reaches the gates of Pathala, is stopped by a young monkey named Makaradhwaja.

The youngster successfully stops the mighty warrior from entering the Nether World. Impressed by his valour, Hanuman asks about his parents, only to learn that the young monkey with four hands is his own son.

While Hanuman was flying across the oceans, a drop of his sweat fell down and impregnated Makari, a mermaid. She was later caught in nets while still pregnant with Makaradhwajan. However, Pathala Ravana made him the guard to Hell after seeing his strength.

Though born without love or knowledge of either parent, Makaradhwaja has inherited immense strength. But he is emotionally orphaned and flawed. Even after knowing about his existence, Hanuman is unable to respond to him as father. For Hanuman, his duty and commitment to his masters is of prime importance.

Makaradhwajan, like the modern generation, is left to deal with his energy and potential as his father goes ahead to fulfil his own commitments and mother returns to her world deep inside the sea. Makaradhwajan, severed from his own past and future, is left to guard himself from his own present.

Director's Note

“I want my theatre to be an experience to which the audience can relate to.”
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  • Every attempt in art during the modern age should be directed towards re-capturing the roots. Because, the destruction of our cultural moorings mean the destruction of our own existence. This is something that has happened to us. We are unable to recall our dreams. We are now a generation without dreams.

    That is why, every art form, especially visual art forms like theatre, today bear the historical responsibility of not just arresting this cultural decay, but also that of tracking back the steps to one’s own roots. Very few other media hold the potential of initiating a cultural renaissance like theatre.

    New challenges demand new answers. The visual text of “Makaradhwajan” has been evolved out of the realisation that conventional tools might fall short of their abilities to counter the domination of foreign influence in our culture sphere. What this play has attempted is to a new theatre language, which is essentially Indian in tone and timbre.

  • Structurally, the attempt is to make the play work on the energy emanating out of the confluence of the visual narrative pattern of Yakshagana, a traditional art form of Karnataka, and detail orientation of Kathakali, the classical theatre of Kerala, when it is placed on the platform created using devices from Villadichaanpattu, a form of ballad found in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

    The story is drawn from Ramayana, one of the two Indian epics. But this anecdote, mentioned in passing in Ramayana, attracted my attention because of possibilities it had for mirroring the fissures and flaws in contemporary Indian society.

    Spotting this new space for interpretations is critical in developing contemporaneity for classical texts. My plays are always attempts in this direction and that is how I beat the traps of ennui, these amazing stories hide deep within.

    Another device that I have used in “Makaradhwajan” is evolving a new diction for physical theatre. Classical stories demand stronger narratives to bear their import. In this play, the poetic texture of spoken word is complemented with fluidity of actors’ postures and gestures. This is a deliberate effort made to reach out to audience beyond the linguistic and cultural differences.

    At the end of it all, I want my theatre to be an experience to which the audience can relate to. Story and structure are just the tools I employ to make this happen.

Treatment of the play

“Intelligent juxtaposition of classical theatre elements to evolve a new visual sub-text.”

Indian theatre has an unbroken history of more than 2,000 years. While the world was taking its first steps in theatre, we had Natyasastra, a complete theoretical premise for our performances. The unique strength of Indian theatre is this strong tradition. But, as it has always been with history, there were attempts in Indian theatre to forcibly sever links with the past. Post-independence, the long pantheon of Indian theatre personalities comprising Kavalam Narayana Panikker, Girish Karnad, Ratan Thiyyam, Badal Sircar and Habib Tanvir stalled this process and brought Indian theatre back to its glorious path. Prasanth Narayanan and his plays form the latest link in this long chain of renaissance in Indian theatre.

‘Makaradhwajan’ adheres to the theatre principles upheld by Prasanth Narayanan all through his career – that to explore the subtle nuances of contemporary life through the prism of myths and legends. His plays breach the simplistic binaries of tradition and modernity or urban and rural and transcend to a new realm of synthesis of myth and reality. Just like his other plays, ‘Makaradhwajan’ too creates a meta-reality.

This is done through intelligent juxtaposition of classical theatre elements and thus evolving a new visual sub-text, which is both indigenous and unique. This process also ensures the contemporaneity of the production.

In ‘Makaradhwajan’, Prasanth Narayanan evolved his performance subtext using elements imbibed from traditional theatrical art forms like Kathakali of Kerala and Yakshagana of Karnataka as well as ballad or folk song cultures like Sopanam of Kerala and Villadichanpattu of Tamil Nadu. In a way, the play breaks free of textual and linguistic constraints. It connects to the audience through visual and auditory sensibilities, letting each member in the audience to recreate the play on the basis of his or her personal experience.

The play is thus strategically positioning itself as an organic bond between the cultural kaleidoscope of South India and contemporary Indian realities - because, even while relying on these traditional art forms for its visual sub-text and deriving of the performance text from an anecdote in Ramayana, the core issue addressed thematically is rooted in dilemmas faced by an average modern day Indian.

The socio-political positioning sets apart ‘Makaradhwajan’ and on the part of Increation Repertory Company, we feel that it is our prime responsibility as creative artistes to engage in meaningful interaction with our social milieu.

Makaradhwajan, like the modern generation, is left to deal with his energy and potential as his father goes ahead to fulfil his own commitments and mother returns to her world deep inside the sea. Makaradhwajan, severed from his own past and future, is left to guard himself from his own present.

Team ‘Makaradhwajan’

“This is Who We Are”
Makaradhwajan

Anoop SKM

Hanuman

Ajith Singh Palawat

Makari

Parvathy Nambiar

Ramaaya Paattukar

Margi Suresh
Ramakrishna Sarma
SS Sreenath
Sreekumar Ramakrishnan
Sarath Damodar
Dinesh Kumar KP
KK Sankaranarayanan

Music

Ratnakaran

Vocal

Remya Arun

Chenda

Margi Venugopalan

Mridangam & Tabla

Nellayi Srinivas

Violin

NK Moorthy

Timila

Kalamandalam Abhi

Kombu & Tabla

Padmanabha Das

Floor Controller & Production Manager

Bhagyanath

Media Coordination & Art

Anand Haridas

Costumes & Properties

Mochitha

Project Designer & Stage Manager

Shalini Aiyer

Light Design & Execution

Reji Syne

Written and Directed

Prasanth Narayanan

Profile of Prasanth Narayanan

“I want my theatre to be an experience to which the audience can relate to.”
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    Prasanth Narayanan
    Playwright / Director
  • Prasanth Narayanan successfully blends the best of classical and contemporary theatre streams. He is trained in Kathakali and modern theatre and has a rich oeuvre of plays. He was born to a family of writers, his grandfather and father being renowned authors and scholars of Kathakali literature. Taking after his father Vellayani Narayanan Nair, a famous Kathakali playwright, Prasanth started his literary oeuvre with an ‘Attakatha’ (text for Kathakali performance) titled “Bharathantam” at the age of 17. This was the first-ever Kathakali aattakatha based on the character ‘Gandhari’. This script has been performed at more than hundred stages across Kerala. In 2006, he wrote another aattakatha titled “Medea” for an Indo-German project.

    He had his training in Kathakali under Kathakali maestro Chandramana Govindan Namboodiri. He later joined the School of Drama under the Calicut University, Kerala for advanced training in modern theatre. During this period, he acted and worked with stalwarts of Indian theatre like B.V. Karanth, S. Ramanujam, K.G. Krishnamoorthy and Vayala Vasudevan Pillai.

    Till date, Prasanth has written 24 plays – the important ones being “Vajramukhan”, “Chaayamukhi”, “Manikarnika”, “Makaradhwajan” and “Chitralekha”.

    His play “Chaayamukhi” participated in Bharat Rang Mahotsavam, organised by the National School of Drama in 2005 and was staged in different venues across the country and abroad. Actors Mohanlal and Mukesh played lead roles in the play.

    His new play “Makaradhwajan” was premiered at Vyloppilli Samskrithi Bhavan by Increation Repertory Company in August 2014, with assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

    Prasanth represented India at the ‘India Festival 96’ conducted at Bangladesh, worked as Art Director for Kavalam Narayana Panicker at ‘Kalidasa Festival -’96 at Ujjaini, and then as Assistant Director and Set Designer for Kavalam Narayana Panicker for his play “Chayashakunthalam” for the NSD Repertory Company in 2013.

    Prasanth was selected for the 'Rangaprathibha’ Festival 2006, conducted by Kendra Sangeetha Nataka Akademi; as ‘Best Script Writer’ by Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi; 'Best Theatre Activist’ by Kaniv-Kollam; for ‘Kanal Purasakaram’ by Kanal Saamskaarika Samithi; ‘Durgadutaa Purasakaram’ by Thapasya; “Best Actor’ award by TELK-Angamali; and ‘Best Director’ award by Keli-Kollam

We are in News

  • " very many tales have rolled out of the ramayana and made new ramayanas. one of these, prasanath narayanan picked, to write a story about.. "
    Deccan Chronicle - Aug 27, 2013
  • " The play i being stagged by increation repertory company..kerala's first theatre company. "
    The New Indian Express - (Aug 27), 2013
  • " The internal conflicts of a brave warrior, who places his duty before his blood ties, came alive...as makaradhwajan..unfolded "
    Decan Chronicle - Aug 28, 2013
  • " The internal conflicts of a brave warrior, who places his duty before his blood ties, came alive...as makaradhwajan..unfolded "
    Decan Chronicle - Aug 28, 2013
  • "Makaradhwajan', a play based on a lesser known anecdote in Ramayana and retold to reflect the contemporary realties, was staged before a packed audience..."
    Deshabhimani - Aug 28, 2013
  • "The high point of the play is when hanuman reveals his viswaroopam. Accompanying the chenda, timila and mrudangam in the background, is a sudden burst of crackers."
    The New Indian Express - Aug 29, 2013
  • "Every individual is an independent viewer in different levels..every art from communicates to these individuals cordially..the erosion of culture will destroy the human society itself..this is the motivation behind makaradhwajan..."
    Metro Vaartha - Sep 4, 2013

Contact Us

“This is where we are”
Reji Syne
Creative Director
rejisyne@increationmedia.com
+91-9847-061231
Anand Haridas
Head - Corporate Communications
anand@increationmedia.com
+91-9447-012992
Surya Nair
Head - Strategy Planning
suryanair@increationmedia.com
+91-9895-328427
Increation Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd
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