It would not be hyperbolic to describe Soorya Krishnamoorthy as a byword for art. A name familiar with the connoisseurs of art and culture in Kerala, he is the founder of Soorya Stage and Film Society. Soorya has its Chapters in 36 countries and around 60 centres in India. He has popularised drama and other artforms through Soorya.
Currently, Soorya Krishnamoorthy is the Chairman of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academi, and Festival Director of International Theatre of Kerala. In a free-wheeling conversation, he talks about Soorya and his latest ventures.
Q: Tell us about “Chaayakada kadhakal” and its birth. How did you land in such a concept?
Ans: “Chaayakada kadhakal” is the first realistic cartoon drama series in Malayalam and in Indian theatre. Characters, characteristics, venue, stage settings, backdrop and narrative style (realistic) are all same. But stories will be different with a single director at the helm.
Q: About your unique style….
Ans: I like to bring in innovation in my creations. The first light and sound show in Malayalam and the first mobile light and sound show are of mine. I have also conceived new theatrical artform ‘Theatre of freedom’. I find real thrill in such innovative and creative ventures.
“Chaayakada kadhakal” is an attempt to take my audience to the days of nostalgia where lot of goodness and innocence existed.
The programme depicts the beauty of those bygone days.
Q: Do you see revival of drama in Kerala?
Ans: Yes. The theatre of Kerala is in its golden age. I can do a lot of reforms as the Chairman of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi for its promotion. For the first time in India, we have introduced Rs 1 lakh subsidy for dramas. Mediclaim of Rs 1 lakh each year, an insurance of Rs 2 lakh, nine ensured stages for each drama and payment up to Rs 3 lakh are some of the major decisions. Besides, a separate section for short amateur dramas was introduced and the pravasi dramas were encouraged.
Q: Why a city like Kochi lag behind in appreciating arts/classic art forms compared to Trivandrum? Capital city is familiar with Soorya Fest, but why not in Kochi?
Ans: Kochi too has Soorya Festival, but only for limited 10 days. I think the organisations here should come forward. Now only Kerala Fine Arts Society takes the initiative.
Q: How do you remember the late Kavalam Narayanapanikkar?
Ans: Around 39 years ago, I wrote a script on temples, temple rituals, and temple arts of Kerala, titled “Thamaso ma jyotirgamaya”. I never had the confidence to direct it. But Kavalam sir gave me the confidence to direct my first stage show. I must have directed over1000 programmes in these 39 years. I gratefully remember his contribution in my life.
Q: Tell us about your future projects?
Ans: Ganesham Soorya Naataka Kalari and Ganesham Chitra Kala Chumaru are the two new ventures. Here, any amateur drama group can present dramas. Auditoroum, light, sound, generator, diesel charges, 250 chairs, rehearsal space and a night’s stay in dormitory are given free of charge.
To cultivate the habit of buying tickets for watching dramas, Rs 20 will be charged for tickets. The entire collection will be given to the theatre groups for food and travel expenses.
My favourite top five films
> Pather Panchali
> The last Emperor
> 7 years a slave
> The President