`Taramati’ stood out for its technical details and the evergreen theme.
Qadir Ali Baig was a legend among the theatre stalwarts of Hyderabad. His untimely death created a vacuum and it was fitting that a theatre foundation on his name was launched. Mohammad Ali Baig, conceptualised, produced and presented a play titled Taramati, which was staged for two days at the Taramati Baradari at Gandipet. A lot of technical work went into the production given by such names as M.S. Sathyu who created sets and designs, Kartik Ilayaraja (son of legendary Ilayaraja) who composed music and script and lyrics were written by Ashok Lal. Keeping in mind the period of the story, Kartik set tunes to match the situations and also created background score for the drama to run. Kartik followed the Hindustani idiom in composing tunes for about seven songs in ragas like Yaman Kalyan and Hindolam. Lakshmi Devi Raj looked after the costumes to suit the Qutub Shahi period. The theme is a bit akin to the story of Quli Qutub Shah and Bhagmati that is most popular reflecting the Hindu-Muslim unity. The story is set in Golconda between 1756 and 1772, when this empire was under siege of Aurangazeb. Hayat Bakshi Begum (Rashmi Seth) was the ruler and her son Sultan Abdullah was to take over from her. But Sultan is romantic and man of love with good taste for literature and arts. When his mother was worried about her son’s future, Taramati, a village girl enters his life. Self-respect is her armour and she keeps the prince at bay initially. She is aware of the love story of Quli Qutub Shah and Bhagmati. Sultan’s concubine Premamati provides shelter to Taramati. It so happens that the prince listens to her beautiful voice one day and gets led by it into her presence. Unaware who this man is, Taramati keeps away from him. But once she learns that he is the prince, and lover of her music, she yields place for him in her heart. The prince wants her to sing in his court, which she declines. But soon they become lovers. A highly intelligent girl that she is, she succeeds in changing the heart of the Sultan and also the history of Hyderabad.Tumhe In Chand Taronse- Aap Hi Chand Aap hi Tara, Kaisi Awaz Hai and other songs like Koi Kasam Meethi were palatable in Kartik’s composing. The other characters like Premamati and Shailaja and the mother of the Sultan were all played up to build the emotions, and become catalysts in uniting the lovers. Madhu Swaminath played the title role of Taramati and added the charm required for the role both as a self-respecting woman and later as lover of Sultan. Tarun Dhanrajgir played the role of Sultan Abdullah adding dignity to the role that attracts his heartthrob, Taramati. Sampada was played by Shailaja. Smrithi Thapa played the concubine of the prince. Madhusri and Shalini lent playback voices. This was an interesting drama. It is better if it is brought to city’s auditoria like Ravindra Bharati and staged for larger audiences, because of the message of unity. G.S