Published independently on Amazon Kindle, Indian Puranic Plays by P. Thulasimani is a collection of four dramas. These dramas are originally taken from Tamil literature. P. Thulasimani translates them in English for a wider reach of audience, so as also to keep alive the vestiges of the great work of Sambandham Mudaliar, the doyen of Tamil dramas. Thulasimani retouches them to make them light and entertaining. Written in simple English, all the dramas are rich and deep rooted in the Hindu Holy Scriptures. For this reason, they are called Puranic Plays.
Mainly most of the dramas emanate either from Puranic sources or arteries of epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Yayati play is taken from Mahabharata and Harichandra from Ramayana. Yayati, Harichandra, and Chandrahari are written in Tamil by Pammal Vijayarangam Sambandham Mudaliar (1873 – 1964). Sambandham Mudaliar penned down nearly one hundred plays. For his literary contribution, he was awarded with Padma Bhushan.
The last drama Upakosa was taken from ‘The Katha Sarit Sagara’ by Somadeva Bhatta. A close look reveals that all these plays reflect the society of that era. A read through the plays will acquaint readers with mechanism of curse used by gods and saints, astrology, belief in fate, caste system, and moral choices and much more. The drama Yayati retells the tale of one king who wanted to surpass the curse and influence of fate. This drama throws light on marriage, significance of women power, and the justice system of a king. Second play Harichandra fosters the power of truth, which inspired Mahatma Gandhi in India’s independence struggle.
Many readers of Indian Itihaas and mythology will be familiar with some characters mentioned in the plays; however, reading this book will make you totally aware with all of them. The plays are nicely crafted, characters are in control, and the pace is optimum. One should pick up this book for a deeper dive in the Indian stories and plays springing from rich epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Vedic contents.
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About Sambandham Mudaliar:
Pammal Vijayarangam Sambandham Mudaliar (1873 – 1964), is the doyen of Tamil dramas. Pammal was his birth place. Vijayarangam was his father. Mudaliar is the surname indicating his caste. Sambandham Mudaliar wrote nearly one hundred plays. He was duly honored with the award of Padma Bhushan. He was influenced by William Shakespeare. He translated some of the plays of William Shakespeare. Sambandham’s involvement developed Tamil theatre as a respectable art form that gave rise to the epithet of him being the founding father of Tamil theatre. His works in Tamil are now available in the public domain.