It was just like the old days. Like all that he did, the stage adaptations of
his life, too, are turning out to be one-man shows. And the crowds like his stage
avatar, as much as they liked the real guy. Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu is one
guy whose persona refuses to diminish with time, if the ticket sales of this umpteenth
staging of Rasaranjini Theater Group's play, Prakasam Pantulu, are any
About the one-man show, Prakasam Pantulu will have to share the credit with another man. Chatla Sriramulu comes closest on stage to personifying the 'tiger spirit' of this leader. Though a number of actors donned the roles of other national leaders of the time, none could take on the veteran's charisma and command over the character. As for the reasons of the sustained appeal of the first Chief Minister of our state, the play offers some valuable insight.
For one, Prakasam Pantulu was a 'Gandhian', but much more practical than either Gandhi or the other Utopians of his time. On issues of a separate state for the Telugus, and the preservation of art, culture and traditions, he was an indefatigable activist, and even differed with Gandhi on practical grounds.
Interesting was the dramatic scene where there is a heated exchange between Prakasam and Rajagopala Chari (enacted by Sastry). The otherwise powerful and serious play, with a political palate, had some lighter moments too, like Prakasam amusing conversation with his daughter. This matured production by the actors of Rasaranjani conveys not only their passion for Telugu theatre, but also their patriotic spirit.
For many in the audience, witnessing this play time and again is like rejuvenating one's patriotic spirit, and getting inspired by a character so simple and direct, yet one which could create a movement for the masses that will be remembered forever. And when it comes from a veteran like Chatla, there is no question of letting this pass by. And this one's not just for the theatre lovers, but also for the motivated masses.