The members of Crazy Mohan’s drama troupe will perform a special tribute show of the late playwright’s Crazy Premier League, on June 30. The show will be presided over by Kamal Haasan. Silverscreen spoke to actor and Mohan’s brother Madhu Balaji about the show and how it came about.
A couple of days after Crazy Mohan’s sudden demise on June 10, his brother and actor Madhu Balaji received a call. The family, both the one at home and on stage, was heartbroken, could not comprehend Mohan’s death, and was in a state of shock.
Kamal Haasan, a dear friend of Mohan and his long-time collaborator, was on line, wanting to know how the troupe was coping and what the members were planning to do. Balaji told him that they were yet to think of anything, and that they would probably take a month to regroup. “He would have none of it. He told us that it was not right, and that a tribute to Mohan must be organised immediately.” Shortly before his demise, Mohan had got in touch with Kamal asking him to be present for the 100th show of his hit show Crazy Premier League, but the star-turned-politician was busy with politics and Bigg Boss 3 that he is hosting. “Kamal said we should perform a show as early as possible, and we fixed a date,” Balaji recalls.
The star asked Balaji to check auditorium availability and told him that he would henceforth be their trustee. “He said: ‘I will sit in the first floor when you are performing. I will take care, I will be with you all’. That gave me a surge of energy. I booked the morning 10:30 slot at Narada Gana Sabha for June 30.”
Besides Kamal, others present will include Mouli, Nithyashree Mahadevan (invocation song), Gayatri Girish (she worked a lot with Mohan for six months for the Ramanaayanam series based on his verses), Nalli Kuppasamy Chetty who has been with Crazy Creations for more than three decades.
For July, the troupe had already been booked for 10 shows in places such as Mettupalayam, Coimbatore and Pune. Many of the organisers were worried, wondering what would happen to the shows. “I asked them for two days’ time, and after Kamal spoke to me, confirmed that we would come and perform,” says Balaji.
So, in Balaji’s opinion, what makes the Crazy Creations’ troupe tick? “I think that because Mohan wrote without vulgarity and politics, and about general themes, they have stayed relevant. If you create one with specific references, then, it won’t last the course. And, Mohan was particular that children should bring in their families to the show. Hence, the clean comedy. He felt it should be like a trip to the circus, a Rajini film. And, overacting would be frowned upon. Sometimes, when you’ve done a play for long, you tend to add your own lines, overdo an expression or there might be a slip of the tongue. But, if you did that, you’ll hear Mohan call out ‘Niruthudaa’ loudly from the make-up room. He was like a child, and his comedy was clean. That will never go out of fashion.”
And, to those worrying who will take on the roles that Mohan played, Balaji says that the late playwright believed that a “drama is to be seen and heard, and whoever does well will get the love of the audience. Sometimes, when Mohan was busy with writing for films, we have had other people play characters that he did.”
The team hopes to travel to the US later this year or early next year, for a set of shows. “Our regular organisers there have been saying we need to conduct a tribute tour. Let’s see,” says Balaji.
Among the many people who have called and offered their condolences, what amazed Balaji most was the number of children and teenagers whose lives Mohan had touched. “He loved children, and whenever he went to a place with kids around, he would sketch them, and strike a bond with them. They had written such heart-felt tributes. I knew he was popular, but never knew he had this kind of fan-following. It’s gratifying to see them showcase their love for him, thus.”
Crazy Premier League will be staged on June 30, 2019 at Narada Gana Sabha, from 10:30 am.
“From 10:30 am to 11:15 am, people will pay tribute to Mohan and speak about him. Kamal will also speak that morning. Then, we will stage the play. We will carry forward the legacy that Mohan has left behind. We hear that 120 seats have been already booked. This show is a great way to remember him by,” says Balaji.
Feature image credit Lehren.com