It looks the recent row pulled up by the staging of ‘Kitab drama’, that had placed the first prize at a district-level school fest, will not end soon as it has given up from the Kerala school festival at the ongoing art event.
The drama was rated the best at the Kozhikode revenue district school festival short while ago, however, it’s the second-prize winning play ‘Elippetti’ that may be vying for laurels at the state school event that started in Alappuzha on Friday.
‘Kitab’, directed by Rafeeq Mangalassery, was selected at first for the pan-Kerala competition; however, the Memunda Higher secondary school in rural Kozhikode, that had played it, has set to not send its team after some religious organizations blame some indications in it.
Soon after the drama ‘Kitab’, won prizes for best drama as well as the best actor (female), there has been criticism from numerous corners.
We discover that certain indications within the drama have hurt a particular community. However, it had been not intentional. We perceive the need to take care of the democratic and secular values in an academic establishment and therefore decided not to perform the same drama in future,” explicit principal Krishnadas P K and headmaster Remesan T V.
The non-staging of Rafeeq’s drama within the state festival would be like doing injustice for the children who performed in it, said Sivadas Poyilkavu, the director of ‘Elippetti’ that was staged by Thiruvangoor Higher secondary school at the district event. It had bagged second prize behind ‘Kitab’ then.
I feel personally disturbed when my drama is again dragged into a controversy over ‘Kitab’.
This year, two teams from other districts – Malappuram and Wayanad – also are staging ‘Elippetti’.
So, this might be the third team, once Kozhikode conjointly stages it. Denying chance to the students who bagged the first position in the district is an injustice. Those ten students were qualified to compete.
My children have enjoyed staging it within the most in the past year. We all wish that a new play should be staged. Rafeeq also is aware of that how much I supported and wish to see it staged in Alappuzha,” Sivadas said.
The parents of students have meantime approached the high court claiming their children can lose a chance to compete at the state level even after obtaining qualified.
The decision of the court is crucial since the event has already started.
Memunda School had represented the district for the past seventeen years and won top prizes at the state level too.
Meanwhile, several activists and writers including K Satchidanandan and S Hareesh voiced their opposition against not letting the staging of ‘Kitab’at the state festival.
In a joint statement, they condemned the interference of religious organizations on reformatory values and freedom of expression.
Unni R, the play’s original author, had disowned the drama, saying his concepts were distorted and the faculty play pictured a particular community in a bad light.
Rafeeq had complained that even those who raised voice for Hareesh’s ‘Meesha’ are silent on the ‘Kitab’ row. ‘Meesha’ is a controversial novel that had to be withdrawn from a leading Malayalam weekly after protests.
Photo credits: Breaking Character Magazine