Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Drama during the 1960s

In the context of the history of drama, the period from 1960 to 1970 was the period of commercial theatre. Organizations like Kerala People’s Arts Club, Kollam Kalidasa Kala Kendram, the theatre established by Kalanilayam Krishnan Nair in Thiruvananthapuram, P. J. Theatres of P. J. Antony, and Kerala Theatres of Kottayam revolutionized mainstream theatre in Kerala and received much appreciation from the public.

Kanchana Sita, the first drama in the trilogy written by C. N. Sreekantan Nair based on Ramayana, was staged in 1965. Thoppil Bhasi wrote a series of immensely popular plays for KPAC, viz, Aswamedham, Sarasayya, Yuddha Kandam, Koottu Kudumbam, and Thulabharam. Equally famous were the plays Doctor, written by Vaikom Chandrasekharan Nair, Kadalirambunnu, written by P. J. Antony, Ezhu Rathrikal written by Kaladi Gopi, and plays like Kayamkulam Kochunni, Elayidathu Rani, Umminithanka, and Taj Mahal written by Jagathy N. K. Achary for Kalanilayam. Writers like Ponkunnam Varkey, S. L. Puram Sadanandan, and many others were important players in the field of commercial theatre in those days.

N. N. Pillai was a dramatist who found fame and name in Malayalam theatre through his works like Atmabali, Prethalokam, Marananritham, Cross Belt, Njan Swargathil, Kapalika, and Vishama Vritham.

C. L. Jose had started writing plays from the 1950s and his works became very popular in the field of amateur theatre. The plays of P. R. Chandran, Paravoor George, and Kadavoor Chadran Pillai also easily struck a chord with the audience.

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