Long long ago, in 1978, Y Gee Mahendra wrote a play called Paritchaikku Neramachu. His father, Y G Parthasarathy, who was a legendary drama artiste, donned the lead role while Y Gee Mahendran himself ‘played’ his son.
Later in 1983, the play inspired a feature film of the same name. Directed by Muktha Srinivasan, the movie saw Sivaji Ganesan essaying the role of Y G Parthasarathy and Y Gee Mahendra reprising the role as his son. Paritchaikku Neramachu, considered a cult classic, ran in theatres for about 90 days. Actress Sujatha starred opposite Sivaji.
At a press meet held on Wednesday, Y Gee Mahendra announced to the media that he would be reviving the classic. His troupe, United Amateur Artistes, will stage the play for a few days this year. He also revealed that he would play the lead for the first time. Drama artistes, Anandhi and Raghav, will essay the role of Sujatha and Y Gee’s son respectively. “I’m inspired by my father and Sivaji Ganesan, who had donned this role before me. But I will make sure that I don’t imitate them,” said Y Gee.
Although the story is four decades old, he assured us that it would be relevant to the current generation. “I have tweaked the script a little to suit the audience of this age. It has a lot of emotions and sentiments – anybody can connect with the story.”
Recalling the experience of working with Sivaji Ganesan while making the film, Y Gee Mahendra said, “When I narrated the story to him, he teased me. He said he would let me know his decision the next day. I couldn’t sleep that night. But it was all worth it because he agreed.”
To slip into the role of Narasimhachaari, Sivaji Ganesan wore a turban, covered his face, and sat at the Triplicane Parthasarathy temple to observe the body language of Tamil Iyengars. “I could see that he loved playing the character. And I’m proud that I wrote the story,” said Mahendra.
Last year, at a press meet, actor Santhanam had agreed to act in the remake of Paritchaikku Neramachu. “Unfortunately, that didn’t materialise at all,” Mahendra declared. And despite not being a fan of remakes, he averred that the film has the potential to be “re-presented” to cinema goers.
Would Rajinikanth make an appearance in the play – someone in the audience posed a question. The actor had expressed his desire to be a part of stage-plays, recently. “I have always been asking Rajini to join me,” Mahendra answered, “But now, I think he is too busy with Lingaa. Who knows, he might change his mind and join us after that!”
In association with Shriram Properties, Paritchaikku Neramachu will be staged from September 14 to 18, at Vani Mahal at 7 pm.