Monday, February 07, 2005


Back to the present:

Upon hearing about the trial at the “Illom”- Vineeth is panic stricken. He cannot imagine the aftermath if Mohini were to succumb to the mental torture of the jury and divulge his name! Vineeth is terrorised, and fear haunts his soul- he is unable to concentrate in his art- he resorts to alcohol- Under the influence of alcohol, he makes a fool of himself on stage again and again, and soon, the audience do not want him to perform.

One day, as Vineeth sits utterly dejected, he meets another senior artiste- Prem kumar- who used to be a much sought after actor during his hey day- but today, his plight was pathetic- Today he was ostracised, shunned and he was never invited to perform. The senior actor wandered aimlessly often fully drunk- like a lost soul-

(Here, the allusion is to a real life incident of yore- There was one aristocratic lady by the name Kuriyedath Thathri- and she was driven to prostitution as an act of rage and revenge against her husband who neglected her and the society at large- She wooed all the men in Society from all strata- and finally when she was brought under trial, she threatened to reveal the names of her “clients’- and she did expose about 64 “gentlemen” of society who were subsequently excommunicated- finally when Thathri was about to reveal the 65th name, it is said that the King himself ordered the trial to be brought to a close- it is suspected that the next name to be divulged would have been that of the King himself!!)

Now, this senior Kathakali artiste was supposed to be one of those excommunicated, subsequent to the infamous trial- He was banned from giving public performances- he was shunned- and it had driven him to liquor addiction- He was in dire straits, and now he spent his days wandering the roads- begging for roles and money to drink- One day, a rich man offers this senior artiste a role in a Kathakali performance and the actor is overjoyed! He dons the costume- the artiste in him emerges out of his human persona and merges into the ethereal larger than life role he is about to perform- He gives out a shriek of delight in keeping with the Rajassic character that he has donned- and the viewer’s hair stands on end! Suddenly the rich man comes to him, looks him over, gives a cruel smile and says that he could not permit the artiste to go on stage- The transformation is amazing- from the crescendo of ethereal dignity and splendour- the actor crouches and stoops to shock, dissapointment and the depths of misery and pathos….this scene is brilliant- the picturisation, acting- everything is mesmerizing- the sobbing actor looks pathetic in his larger than life costume- and the viewer is rendered speechless! ( This role was performed to perfection by the late Premkumar the son of another veteran actor- late Premji- )

Vineeth is a mute witness to the entire series of events, and he sees his future reflected in the other senior artiste’s predicament!

Vineeth makes a fateful decision- he decides to meet Mohini! In the cover of darkness, he tiptoes to where Mohini is held captive- he peeps through the window covertly- Mohini comes to the window eagerly- Her eyes light up on seeing him- she speaks for the first time since her ordeal- She tells him that she knew he would come to rescue her, that he would take her away from this hell and make her his- Vineeth looks at her wretchedly- He tells her that he had not come to take her, that he could not- he pleads, begs her not to take his name during the trial- that his life and career would be destroyed if she took his name. Once again- the acting is exemplary. Mohini’s eyes do all the emoting- first the delight in her eyes melts into disbelief, and evolves into sheer contempt for the person imploring before her…( I understand that Mohini was considered for the National award that year for this role but lost it to Dimple Kapadia in Rudaali ). Mohini assures Vineeth disdainfully that she would not take his name and bid him go his way…
Vineeth recoils in shameful misery…

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