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Introduction—A 26 year journey!

Flashback

Twenty five years ago, a group of women living in and around Malabar Hills got together to give life to a script penned by Bombay Gnanam, a homemaker, in her spare time. All these women, bar one or two, were homemakers as well. None of them had any stage experience or in delivering dialogues or putting on makeup and clothes. They took the bold decision, backed by their husbands and families to take on both the male and female roles and Sindikka Vaitha Seedanam was staged.

This first play that addressed the evils of dowry, based on a real life incident, touched many hearts and families. It was their story and the dialogues resonated their own experiences and emotions.

It was a great success and formed the foundation for 18 more plays to be written, directed and produced by Gnanam spanning two cities and featuring over 200 different girls, teenagers, women and octogenarians to take part in this unique drama group.

After these 18 plays that showed a mirror to society, families, people and situations, Bombay Gnanam was motivated and inspired to focus on plays with spiritual themes and personalities.

MLDG is proud to say that we have for 25 years provided vibrant Theatre and it is all by a unique All Women’s Drama Group donning both men and women roles.

It has been 25 years of introducing, sustaining and promoting over 200 women actors.

It is 25 years of presenting clean drama focussing on social and current family issues.

MLDG has addressed many social issues like :

  • The evils of dowry
  • Immigration and break up of family ties
  • Inter-personal relationships in a family
  • Reverse of gender roles
  • Chauvinism
  • The difference in emotional bonds expressed by sons and daughters
  • Life in senior citizen homes
  • Suppression of innate talents of women
  • Generation gap
  • The concept of living together without marriage
  • Lack of communication between couples
  • Well-being and post natal depression
  • Widows remarriage issues
  • Surrogacy and parenting
  • Divorce and its effect on children
  • Gay rights and issues
  • Mercy killing
  • Extra-marital affairs and crime

Bombay Gnanam has written, directed and produced these plays under the banner of MLDG. She has trained the ladies and presents these beautiful plays with superior production values. All the plays staged by MLDG have been a blend of comedy and seriousness and thoroughly thought provoking. Every play has been received with tremendous appreciation and won awards in every theatrical forum.

SILVER JUBILEE SPECIAL PRESENTATION

‘Sri Bhagavan Naama Bhodendral’.

MAHALAKSHMI LADIES DRAMA GROUP CHENNAI was launched in October 1989 and stepped into its Silver Jubilee Year in 2014 with a totally unique presentation of a religious theme based play ‘Sri Bhagavan Naama Bhodendral’.

‘Sri Bhagavan Naama Bhodendral’ is a play that MLDG dedicated to the memory of Shri A Balasubramanian, whom we used to call as Baluli. Husband of Bombay Gnanam, he was our bulwark, our adviser, mentor and prime cheer leader and our Chief Priest who performed the puja before our plays were staged.

‘Sri Bhagavan Naama Bhodendral’ was Baluli’s idea, his passion and his dream. It was given shape by Bombay Gnanam and through this play, the group paid homage and tribute to our dear Baluli.

This play was not been easy to stage. It was a unique concept and required much, much more effort than a social drama needed. The story was based on the popular life of a great guru, the 49th Pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt. He was a guru who gave the simple solution to all the troubles and tribulations that beset us human beings...the chanting of the name of Sri Rama that can wipe away tears, give solutions to insurmountable problems and bring peace of mind to troubled minds. The creating of this drama and telling the tale of the noble soul greatly helped our members in their performances and personal lives.

As one of the 50+performances, the saint’s blessings helped us to stage his story in Govindapuram, Tamil Nadu where his Samadhi is situated. The play was staged as part of the yearly Aradhanai that commemorated his Jayanthi and the show was a great success with not even standing room left for audiences!! This itself was a miracle for us.

In ‘Sri Bhagavan Naama Bhodendral’ MLDG experimented with pre-recorded dialogues and lip syncing on stage by the artists. The story was written by retelling incidents from various sources...and as with legendary personalities there can be different versions about the details of their life. MLDG presented our version with great sincerity, faith and humility.

At the end of fifty and more shows, the audience invariably joined us in chanting ‘Rama Rama, Rama’ and celebrated with joy the life of ‘Sri Bhagavan Naama Bhodendral’!