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A dying language gets a stage

By July 4, 2018No Comments

Source : The New Indian Express

The first Konkani play ‘Ravu Mammale Vohraan’ will be staged at Changampuzha Park on Saturday evening

KOCHI:There would be few better tools than art to revive a language that is on the wane. And, what if it is a play that focuses on the weakening familial bond. Ravu Mammale Vohraan (The procession of Ravu), possibly the first-ever Konkani social drama to be made in the state, has a relevant message to convey.
Directed by civil police officer Chandrababu Shetty, the drama which focuses on the Konkani culture, will be staged at Changampuzha Park on Saturday at 6.30 pm.

“Surveys show that there has been a steep decline in usage of  Konkani, the second most spoken language in the city after Malayalam. If not given importance, by next generation, it will die,” said Chandrababu, a Kochi-based Konkani speaker who also scripted the play.

He says though various Konkani plays on devotional themes used to be staged in the temple, this is a one of its kind to be performed on a public platform. “Our play is inspired from popular drama ‘Mathayiyude Maranam’ written by MLA John Fernandez. With his permission, we adapted the storyline and gave it a Konkani touch,” he added.

A man’s spirit talking to his caretaker at the mortuary after his children fail to turn up forms the crux of the play. While the original one was only 30-minutes long, Ravu Mammale Vohraan’s duration is 75 minutes. With only two characters, the drama brings to life traditional Konkani songs and culture along with a bit of humour.

Along with Chandrababu, all the people who worked in the play belong to Konkani community. “I am sure that the audience will connect to our play. It will boost the language. We have already confirmed four bookings before the premiere,” he said.

Chandrababu expects to stage the drama in different parts of the country and reach the maximum audience. “This drama does not require a huge stage or infrastructure. It can be played even at a courtyard. Just like dance or music, we wish such dramas also become a part of our celebrations,”  Chandrababu said.
He expects not just Konkani-speaking community, but all kinds of people to enjoy it. Chandrababu noted that there will be a small briefing in Malayalam before the play.

Chandrababu’s previous work was Konkani Poomaram, a cover and video of the hit song ‘ Poomaram,  in Konkani language.  It had the concept of a 40-year-old man not being able to find a bride and was quite popular in social media.

“Due to my job, I get limited time to engage in such activities. But I try to do my bit whenever possible,” he said.

A member of Konkani language Advisory Board at Kendra Sahithya Academy, Chandrababu hopes to continue his efforts to restore the language through more such initiatives.

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