‘Crazy Thieves’ all set to return

Palavakkam might be very much a part of the city today. But 40 years ago, it was a place even thieves dreaded to tread. Taking us back to those days is actor-director S.Ve. Sheker, who is reviving his play ‘Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam.’ The story is about a bunch of thieves who break into a home and stay there for sometime.

STAGING A COMEBACK: S.Ve.Shekher and his team rehearsing the play ‘Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam’ at his residence on Thursday. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

“The storyline, inspired by the Tamil movie Naanal was quite simple. But ‘Crazy’ Mohan, who was just Mohan then, wrote some 800 pages of mind-blowing script which we whittled down to 80-100 pages. After listening to the script, Komal Swaminathan said if the play became a hit, it would set the format for the plays in the future,” recalled Mr. Sheker.

This was the first play to be made into audio tape format.

Launched at a time when there were 120 sabhas and 124 troupes in the city and Sundays would mean three shows of any play, ‘Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam’ had to be stopped for want of slots after 24 shows.

“That was the time when greats including, Cho, S.V.Sahasranamam, Manorama, R.S.Manohar and Suralirajan were very active on the stage. By chance we were invited to the Kumudam office to perform for their staff. They were very impressed and asked for the script to be serialised. When sabha secretaries read the play, offers started pouring in once again,” said Mr. Shekher, whose troupe Nataka Priya is currently rehearsing the lines every evening at his residents.

‘Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam’, which first previewed on April 11, 1976, would be staged at 7 p.m. on September 6 at Narada Gana Sabha.