Monday, May 24, 2010

Stage Drama: Marriage Made In Saloon

Finally went and saw the play live on stage. As I have mentioned in this blog quite a few times, I have listened to almost all popular Crazy Mohan and S. Ve. Sekhar dramas several hundred times over the last 10 years or so. I badly wanted to see a few plays on stage and 'Marriage Made in Saloon' was one of them. There are these images you form in your mind when you listen to dramas in an audio cassette. And you badly want to watch the play to find out how the director of the play visualized the scene. Crazy Mohan's drama are visually more pleasing and there is some choreography involved in making the actors do gestures and moves that look very entertaining.

Marriage made in saloon, is one of Crazy's more popular works. It is certainly among the A list of dramas that Crazy has created. Personally, I would rank it behind Meesai Aanalum Manaivi and Return of Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam. Marriage made in Saloon was so popular during its time that K. Balachander decided to make it into a movie "Poi Kaal kudhirai". The stage drama revolves around a 'bet' between 'bet' Padmanabhan and Maadhu. They keep this 'bet' in a Hair-cut Salone where they accidentally bump into each other. The 'bet' is that Maadhu has 1-year to make 'Bet' Padmanabhan's daughter - Janaki - fall in love with Maadhu. Failing which he has to tonsure his head and move around as a 'pandaram'. If he does succeed, Padmanabhan agrees to marry off his daughter to Maadhu. The "gentleman's agreement" is that Padmanabhan does not bust Maadhu when Maadhu tries to lie/cheat/pretend-tobe-someone else in the process of woo'ing Janaki.

The real hero of the drama in ‘Advocate’ Subbu who plays 'Saloon Kadai’ Muthu. Subbu is a fantastic actor and a total live wire who can get you into splits of laughter in no time. I so loved his voice and character in "Return Of Crazy Thieves". In this drama he has makes the audience literally burst their stomach while he sends them into fits of laughter. I have heard the dialogs so many times and in spite of that the quiz scene had me laughing uncontrollably. That scene alone was worth the price of the ticket. His voice is so unique and awesome that I am totally obsessed with “Maadhe.. naan dhaan unga appan vandhukireen…rrrrammmsaaamiii”. His instant voice modulations are beyond awesome. During the break, I made sure I had Maadhu-balaji introduce me to Subbu. I had asked him several hundred thousand times if Subbu was coming for that day’s play – that Maadhu said “ivan dhaan ba unnoda periya fan.. nee varuviyannu kettunde irundhaan”. I then had the “jenma saabulyam” of telling Subbu that I was his biggest fan. I am still cursing myself for having forgotten the Camera.

The other characters in the drama are Janaki’s maternal grandfather, Mythili (Janaki’s mother), Gopi (Janaki’s boyfriend), Chellappa as cinema-crazy brother of Janaki, Madhu’s friend Cheenu and Madhu’s father Ramanujam. Janaki’s grandfather and quiz master was played by Ramesh (the ‘I am ramanujam… I am ramanujam’ fame person from Meesai Aanalum Manaivi). ‘Cheenu’ was not played by Mohan, who is the most popular ‘cheenu’ (at one point he was the most popular among the drama troupe cast). I so missed Sumangali in Janaki’s role. Both Mythili and Janaki were new faces. Chellappa was played by a new and upcoming actor. While overall the drama was good. This was more because of the quality of the original script. The the execution was poor. Especially by the lady who played Janaki. She not only missed her lines (in that she used different words instead of the actual ones and made the lines sound less impressive ) but also called Chellapa as Cheenu (sacrilege). The she jumped off script and said “oh!.. sorry sorry.. its cheenu”. Subbu made the error of not deviating from the script when Crazy Mohan was improvising the drama. The original script has Crazy Mohan’s character as ‘bet’ Padmanabha Iyengar. Crazy had apparently changed the character to ‘bet’ Padmanabhan Iyer. This was obvious to everyone as he had come on stage with a big pattai on his forehead. Subbu still called him ‘bet’ Padmanabha Iyengar. After a point the characters began to start laughing at their own errors. They also edited out the scene where Maadhu dresses up as Hanuman.

Yesterday’s show was a double-bill with Marriage made in Saloon being the first drama and ‘Chocolate Krishna’ being the second one. I chose the skip the latter. Crazy and S. Ve. Sekhar aren’t today, what they were in their heydays. I would recommend ‘Marriage made in Saloon’ any day though. It is worth catching it on stage.

P.s: 'Kulla' Gopi, the dimunitive actor (who said the classic lines in MMKR "kameshwara ...mmm..mmm.." while scratching his armpit) was in this play as well playing his traditional role. He is now very old and from the looks of it partially blind. The other actors did a fantastic job of supporting him, keeping him in play and making sure he knew where he was standing and when his lines were up. But, just as it was with Crazy Venkatesh, it was very sad to see him age and wither.

23 comments:

Sriram said...

"nallaakidhu engleesu"

"indha aalu...indha paiyan. lol"

Subbu made MMS extra special. Has he acted in any movies?

I said...

Is crazy mohan iyer or iyengar? All his characters have iyengar names. but I have always seen him with vibhuthi/pattai outside drama life.

Gradwolf said...

Marriage Made in Saloon ranks up there. Remember Usha? She used to play amma roles or so. I think she appears in Engey Brahmanan even now. She was dad's colleague at Indian Bank, T nag branch and saw Marriage Made in Saloon as "Crazy relatives" [sic, I know]without tickets in Rani Seethai hall. And it's definitely up there with Meesai aanalum manaivi.

Do you remember Ayya Ammama with Kaathadi Ramamurthy? That is still cult in my opinion and beats all these hands down.I hope they redo it sometime. I owned a VHS once upon a time.

And what about Crazy Venkatesh? No idea what happened to him.

Gradwolf said...

we*

Munimma said...

I saw Choc Krishna 2 seasons back. It was worth it and the old Crazy was there for most parts.

janani said...

Marriage Made in Saloon is one of the best! "Rammsammiiii" is one of the best lines of the drama.

There is another character whose voice I like very much - the one who plays Munnusamy in this one. He also plays Kodhandam in Maadhu Cheenu and plays Madhu's assistant Sababathy in the video of Satellite Samiyar. He has a very distinct way of speaking!

blackaccord said...

Marriage made in saloon is one of the best of Crazy's works.. If I remember correctly, it was done with the original crew back in the 80s (Balaji, Mohan and Sumangali).. Then it was later redone in the 90s with another girl playing Janaki.. Looks like they've changed it again.. The timing and coordination that they had with the original crew can never be repeated..
I've seen the original back in the 80s on stage and I have seen the 90s play on dvd and i have the audio in mp3 format that I listen to very often.. Every character is a riot in this play... Subbu is at his best as the 'saloon muthu' and so is house owner munusami...

I, crazy is a liberal iyengar..mohan rangachari is his name.. Both him and Balaji sport a moustache too which is not common for conservative iyengars..

hawkeye, aadiniraivu nnu sollittu mathadhellam panra madhiri irukku :)

gradwolf, crazy venkatesh is no more.. check hawkeye's archives and he had a column on that..

blackaccord said...

BTW, Beware of madhu has to be one of the best stage plays.. It has madhu, cheenu, appa ramesh playing dual roles.. and cheenu comes as mottai in one of the roles... I don't know if they do this play anymore. Again this was a play which would make sense only when you watch it rather than listening to it..

The original troupe of madhu balaji, cheenu mohan, sumangali janaki, mythili, subbu, appa ramesh, kulla kopi, crazy venkatesh, kavithalaya krishnan etc was the best... It was never the same without the original group.. Same with S.v. Sekar.. His dramas were never the same without Sundha..

Mambalam Mani said...

are they doing a US tour?

Hawkeye said...

Sriram,

:-) i so love the "nallakidhu ingleesu"

I,

crazy practices smarthism (is also a sabarimalai visitor). He is iyengar per subcaste..

gradwolf,

did usha play mythili? which drama? I usually never pay ticket for maadhu drama and fall under 'crazy' relatves as well :-). though this one was an exception.

ayya amma appappa is a classic drama written by crazy. "indian economy" used to be my mantra for quite a while..

crazy venkatesh is no more.

munimma,

i got so many -ve reviews from hardcore crazy fans. so i decided to give it a pass.

janani,

aha satellite saamiyar "husband saar.. wife saar"

black accord,

you are lucky to see MMS in both 80s and 90s. I have the DVD but its the newer one. Most of MMS i caught when it wa remixed as "here is crazy" or "maadhu cheenu".

"beware of maadhu" was remixed in "here is crazy" which had YGM inerviewing Crazy and crazy narrating the drama. It had every body in 2 roles. awesome awesome timing, jokes and situational comedy.

you dont know how to reply to 'I'. liberal iyengars are those who deign to talk to smarthas. wearing pattai means iyengar no more ;-)

Hawkeye said...

mani,

im in desam

Nithya said...

Saloon Muthu, and the House owner totally rock. "Adhellam seri vaadhyar, indha Janakiya nadikkaradhu yaaru?", and "ippo puriyudhu, Janakiyoda amma, saaroda mootha samsaram" have me in splits everytime!

Was Sumangali the original Janaki? She was Janaki in Meesai aanalum manaivi, but this one i thought was someone else. Atleast the mp3 that I have doesn't sound like her.

Never knew Ayya amma ammamma was by Crazy. That one is way better than anything else. I thought it was by Kathadi Ramamurthy only.

blackaccord said...

nithya, lol.. that whole sequence was hilarious..

Also, 'adha pathiyellam ellam enakku kavala kedayadh'...

Gradwolf said...

Ok I did read and comment on the obituary post of crazy venkatesh. I got him confused with Venky who used to play Cheenu in the absence of IOB Mohan. Where is that Venky fellow or that isn't his real name?

Gradwolf said...

And yes, Usha used to play Mythili!

Gradwolf said...

Does someone here have a copy of here is crazy and/or beware of madhu? Or does someone know if it's available in Raj Video Vision?

I so love that series. Baburao tailors is that one right? Veshtila pocket thekkanum!

Krishna said...

aye enna nee, enga panra shave...
edhir pottukaran paaru...

Advocate Subbu is my favorite too...

Nithya said...

Talking of Muthu, one of my absolute favs is "neenga enna paathirukkave mudiyadhu, yenna naan only for gents". The way he delivers it with modulation is too much! LMAO!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice review, Hawkeye. Thanks for posting this and bringing back memories!

One quick question: I can't figure out who "Subbu" is. If you can point me to a photo by any chance, that'd be great! :).

Anonymous said...

Never mind, I found Subu here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U951hdhKfPw&feature=related

:).

AMIT said...

Its really a nice drama.

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jeevee said...

hi this is varadharajan ... i came across this blog quite accidentally and lo !!!! what a thread ... it was really cool ... i found discussions about a play which i have been looking for quite some time now ... any idea if DVD/CD version of "here is crazy/beware of madhu" is available? or can the plays been watched online?

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