The number of attempts made to recreate R.K. Narayan’s imaginary town Malgudi is a measure of how much we love the south Indian town, its people and the stories woven around them. The television version first made in 1986 by the late Shankar Nag was a rage. Now, Bangalore-based WeMove Productions has picked five funny stories from Narayan’s book and adapted them into a play Malgudi Daze.
Director Abhishek Iyengar, who also wrote the screenplay, points out that having grown up on Narayan’s works, it only seemed natural that the group would one day transport his words to the stage, but the task of converting it into a play’s format wasn’t a cakewalk. “We re-read the book in great detail and have tried to include his descriptive narration in the form of dialogue, body language and expressions,” says Iyengar, who started work on the project with his group in mid-2009.
WeMove Productions conducted a poll among family and friends on what they remembered most. The answer, almost unanimously, was Swami and Friends. “So we decided to steer clear of what everyone was so familiar with and picked out five plots that people haven’t seen in the TV serial and don’t distinctly recall,” says Iyengar. Casting for the play was the easy part, mostly because all of Narayan’s characters were reflective of the common man. “We have kept the play in English so as to bring out the essence of the book,” says Sriharsha Grama, the co-director.
Scene from the play Malgudi Daze.
Malgudi Daze has a live soundtrack, with the music, composed and performed by Vasu Dixit, who is known for his association with the folk rock group Swarathma. The music received positive reviews in the play’s first show in April. Malgudi Daze is the ninth production of the group that has so far created five Kannada plays and four in English.
The play will be performed in Bangalore at KH Kala Soudha, Hanumantha Nagar on 29 May. For tickets priced at Rs100, call 9886062324/9980169269.