චරන්දාස් Charandas

 

Sinhala Play based on Charandas Chor the Indian play created by Habib Tanvir                          

Charandas – Sinhala and Tamil

150 minutes

Winner of 9 Awards at the State Drama Festival of 2006 for both Sinhala and Tamil Productions. 

This was the first time in Sri Lankan Drama history a one play participated in this state festival with two versions in both local languages. 

'Charandas' the thief is a man without a roof over his head and with no relatives.  He is a common thief amongst the ordinary folk as he is a thief who steals from the rich, especially the heartless rich, and helps the poor with the pickings. To avoid the policeman chasing him Charandas runs into a shrine and is forced by the sorcerer of the shrine to give five pledges i.e. “Never to lie, never to eat from a golden plate, never to lead a parade riding a tusker, never to marry a queen and never to become a king of the country.  A god-fearing thief, Charandas is deeply gripped by the pledges he made but continues to steal from the rich and making it a point always speaks the truth.  These extraordinary characteristics make him popular and famous. 

One day he breaks in to the house of the Chief Minister Wattaka, and steals precious items.  Chased by the persistent policeman Charandas runs into the midst of an interview conducted by the King to select a guardian for the Royal treasury and is caught red-handed with the booty and the case is taken immediately before the King. During the inquiry Charandas speaks the truth and it is revealed that the Chief Minister had been stealing from the King and also that the Minister was having an illicit affair with the queen. 

The King imprisons the Chief Minister and the Queen.  In appreciation of true speaking character this now uncommon thief the King makes him the guardian of the Royal treasury.  With the advice of Charandas, the friend of the poor, the King declares several relief measures to the poor. Ministers and the chieftains of the King do not approve the friendly association between the King and the thief Charandas and poison the King.  Alleging that Charandas was responsible for the murder of the King the ministers put him in jail and bring back the Queen into power.  She frees minister Wattaka from the prison and orders beheading of Charandas. The public rise in protest against the coup of the ministers against the King and Charandas and lay siege to the Palace.  To avoid the wrath of the people the Queen frees Charandas from the death sentence.  In order to avoid the fury of the public, the queen plans to offer Charandas a ministerial post after parading him atop the royal Tusker and seating him for a royal banquet with the queen.  Remembering his wows to the god Charandas refuses to eat from golden bowls and parading the streets on top of the royal Tusker.  The enraged queen then orders that Charandas be jailed again and tortured until he obeys her orders. The revolt of the people against the queen intensifies, soldiers defect by the thousands. 

The kingdom becomes insecure.  Realizing that the only savior for her from her dilemma is none other than Charandas, the cunning woman secretly gets Charandas into her royal sleeping quarters and begs him to marry her.  Remembering his pledge to the god never to marry a queen, Charandas boldly refuse her request.  Enraged and chastened by the refusal queen then orders to destroy Charandas and kill all his supporters surrounding the palace.  Charandas is taken to be beheaded.  Even though sympathizing with Charandas, the torturers are preparing to carry out their duties.  At the last moment the people charge in and free Charandas. They inform Charandas that all the ministers have been taken into custody and the queen had committed suicide jumping into the crocodile pond.  The people escort Charandas to the Palace and ask him to accept the throne and become their King. Charandas refuses the offer remembering his promise to the god that he will never become a king but agrees to ‘rule’ without being a King or being imprisoned in palaces and Royal Chambers.

Cast

Charandas - Jayantha Muthuthanthri

Policeman - Manjula Ranasinghe

The King, Sami and Gahala(1) - Suneth Shanthapriya

Queen - Arosha Tharanganie, Ronika Chamali

Samindar, Judge, Chief Minister Wattaka and Leader of the rebellions Nishantha Kularathne

Drunker, Torturer, Teacher of arm Fighting, Cleaner of Upstairs and Gahala (2) - Sumudu Mallawarachchi

Gambler and Army General - Sam Paul

Samindar's Wife and Suramya - Veruni Theresa

Tekku, Smoker and Clerk - Palitha Abelal

Farmer - Dinesh Livera

Preast - Praneeth Jeewantha

Wife of Chief Minister Wattaka - Malithi Kumari

Ministers - Palitha Abelal, Dinesh Livera, Praneeth Jeewantha

Swordsmen - Praneeth Jeewantha, Palitha Abelal, Muniyandi Kalidas, Sumudu Mallawarachchi

Decipals  of Sami - Muniyandi Kalidas, Thyagaraja Sivanesan, Ajanthan Shanthikumar

kings men - Ajanthan Shanthikumar, Muniyandi Kalidas, Rasaiya Lohanandan

Stage Managers -Veruni Theresa, Ajanthan Shanthikumar
Assisted Dinesh Livera, Sam Paul

Make up - Palitha Abelal

Lighting - Ajanthan Shanthikumar
Assisted - Praneeth Jeewantha

Ochestra
Tharindu Gamage,Sokkalingam Krishanthan, Sineth Devinda,Rasaiya Lohanandan,
Praneeth Jeewantha, Ronika Chamali

Music Conducted by - Sumudu Mallawarachchi

Music Director - H.A.Perera

Executive Producers for Janakaraliya - Dilip Rohana, Amitta Weerasinghe

Story and Script Adapted by Parakrama Niriella