Their friendship was so strong that even death couldn’t rip them apart. Shiji Nath, an effervescent presence in the capital city’s film/art circuits, is getting a befitting memorial in the way he’d have liked it, had he been alive today. It’s a forum, Positive Frames, which would present a play, that in every way reminds one of Shiji and the good old days he shared with his dear and near ones. Thoma Kariya, Kariya Thoma is its maiden theatrical production to be staged in March.
Positive Frames existed when Shiji was alive, as a film editing studio in the heart of the city. The serene space on top of an apartment complex near the Government Secretariat was the place for creative discussions and get-togethers. “Evenings were meant for a gathering at our studio during the four years of its existence. An eclectic mix of talents would be found during those hours of meet up. Along with him, Mahesh Narayan, director of Take Off, and I were behind its making. Later, Shiji got a job in Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and we all became busy in our respective fields of activity, while Positive Frames shut shop. We come together again to revive his memories,” says Amal Rajdev, who has conceptualised and enacts the play with Jose P. Raphel.
Much beyond what he was as an employee with the Academy, Shiji is remembered for his vivacious presence during the conduct of International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). Commemorating him, his friend, actor and theatre activist Krishnan Balakrishnan wrote a piece where he mentions how well he handled what could otherwise have become the deadliest issues in crowd management during the mega film jamboree. He had a knack to connect with people and make quick friends.
The spark for the play came from nowhere else other than Shiji himself. His departure came literally as a bolt from the blue. It did not take much time for him to get diagnosed with a liver ailment and succumb to fate. “The play focuses on the triviality of human existence. Like the way he left us all of a sudden, this play also has a character Kariya, who does not want to die so soon, since he has many dreams unaccomplished. It is a sarcastic take on the arrival of death that also checks how it leaves behind a deep gash in the hearts of people close to the deceased,” says Amal.
This play is going to be staged in Thiruvananthapuram. “It is devised to be staged anywhere. Rehearsals are going on,” he says. Senior mediaperson Shyam will be scripting it.