When playwright and director Sivadas Poyilkav met actor Appunni Sasi, the latter had been craving to do a drama after taking a pause from his busy movie schedules for years. Since appearing in his most famous play Thiranjeduppu, which was performed in more than a thousand stages, Sasi has been looking for a great play to be part of. “After Thiranjeduppu and Appunnikal, I wanted to play another good character in a drama. Though I had approached many, no one was ready as they thought the story would not match the standards of my previous plays. So it took so long. Finally, when I met Sivadas, we decided to do Chakkarapanthal.” It is a monodrama with Sasi doing four characters in it.
Chakkarapanthal is about the life of Chakkara, a woman who struggles to meet both ends meet. She is unmarried and wants to get married to a fine man, but society and her own problems are makings serious hurdles in her life. Sasi, who has already done more than 60 films, plays four roles in a remarkable way and he has been getting great feedbacks from everywhere. “A few days ago, we were in Muscat. The way they responded to the play was special,” says director Sivadas.
When asked how Sasi portrayed the characters, he says, “What makes an actor truly great? The actor’s job is to bring a scripted character to life. That is the simplest way to put it. Becoming a character is the paramount to anyone who loves to become an actor. Method actors are prime examples for them to zoom into. Sasi’s way of becoming each character in the play is something one should not miss. We had a show in Kozhikode where film director Ranjith was among the spectators. Ranjith told us that the way he became the characters and performed it on stage was commendable and that he would go a long way. You just cannot simply put it in words. Sasi was brilliant. We are planning to go back to Muscat for a camp. Hopefully, we will be able to entertain more spectators again,” says Sivadas.
Appunni Sasi’s love for theatre is endless and he opines that he adores every character he has done. He has been doing monodramas for a long time, but Chakkarapanthal would always stand out for the story and the way he portrayed each character in it. “I think for actors, it’s a challenge. The process of transitioning from one character to another is emotionally and physically exhausting. We get very less time to do that. So, this has been a special experience for me.” Sasi was seen with a Kozhikodan dialect in all his roles and he says in Chakkarapanthal, too, he used the dialect. “I have had no experience of people complaining about the way I speak and I think actually they love it. All the characters in this play talk in the same dialect and people have responded well to the simple but quirky dialect of mine. Surprisingly, Thiruvananthapuram was one of the places where I got the most positive responses, regardless of the way we speak,” he laughs.
This is the first drama brought out by Sasi and Sivadas together, and the latter claims that Sasi was ‘possessed’ by lots of characters, and he unleashed only a few of them on stage. Sasi will be performing the drama on January 11 at Koyilandy and at many more venues in the coming months.
Sasi says he considers both film and theatre as part of his life. “I have already done a lot in the field of theatre and directors like Jayaprakash Kulur helped me become the person I am now. But, as far as cinema is considered, I am still in the initial phase of my career. Yes, I have been part of more than 60 movies, but I still consider myself as a novice. So, I cannot say which one I love more. I would like to pursue both at the same time, which I have been doing for some years now.”...