Synopsis of the Play
Written by – Chitralaya Sriram
Dramatised and Directed by - Y.Gee. Mahendra
Swadeshi Aiyar from UAA troupe
V Muthukumaran | Mon, 25 Feb, 2008,03:25 PM
The Times Of T Nagar
Sunday , December 14, 2008
Tamil play has to wait for
56 years to see this epitome of perfection - Swadeshi
Aiyar. No, this is not about personality. Nothing to do
with current issues or political intrigues. But the core
focus of the two-hour play is the ancient and time tested
values of Bharatvarsha, that is present day India.
Presented by United Amateur Artistes (UAA) led by Y Gee
Mahendra, the play is the 59th production of the group
which is one of the oldest stage troupe in Tamilnadu formed
by the doyen Y G Parthasarathy.
An amalgam of science fiction and history woven around
Brahmin family, Swadeshi Aiyar adopts the concept of
Time Machine (a popular novel by H G Wells) to effectively
transport the audience to Mylapore of 1945 era.
Sankar Aiyar (Y Gee) is rooted in disciplinarian life
very much attached to orthodox values and customs, thus
earning the hostility of his wife Visalam, two sons
When they hatch a plot to pack him off to old-age home,
Aiyar luckily meets his chum turned NASA scientist Thothatri.
An eccentric persona, Thothatri on a secret mission
to India prods Aiyar to take his family on a sojourn
back in time with the help of Time Machine he has invented.
Jolted by rude shock and disbelief, the family members
berate Aiyar for pitch-forking them back in time to
1945 era and making them do with negligible comforts
in cottage house of then Mylapore.
Shorn of modern comforts like cell phone, TV and luxury
gadgets, the wife and the children are like aliens from
Mars trying to figure out what the people are up to
as they are gripped by the spirit of Freedom struggle.
Neat script laced with humour and pungent dialogues
make the spoof worth watching every moment of its time.
And the credit for the innovative plot and racy dialogues
should go to Chitralaya Sriram who has scripted the
play with professional acumen.Bowled over by the simplicity
of people from bygone era and their honest living, the
Aiyar family undergoes radical change of mind. Once
petulant and status conscious, his wife pleads with
Aiyar for remaining with 1945 society and not willing
to go forward to the present era.
His two sons and daughter too are changed now after
being exposed to life with traditional values. ‘But
even science cannot go against nature. This time we
go back to 2008 with values of 1945,’ remarks
Aiyar to his brother in-law in one of the scenes.
Mahatma Gandhi interacts with the Aiyar family and questions
him on the progress of India in 2008. The answers and
response he gets spark of hilarious scenes with audience
roaring with laughter. Though Sriram has penned the
dialogues with innovative thought, Y Gee has created
his magnum opus of his life in Swadeshi Aiyar. Besides
directing the play, he has taken up dual roles (Sankar
Aiyar and his grand father) to mouth witty dialogues
suffused with loads of humour and satire.
Later opening his heart out in the green room, Y Gee
says, ‘modernisation should not be at the cost
of traditional values. The basic idea and dialogues
are from Chitralaya Sriram. But I had to make lot of
improvisations to make it appealing to the audience.’
Further dwelling on the subject, the playwright says
the degeneration of human values is because of too much
attachment to modern comforts at the cost of mental
While Sriram took nearly three months to ready the script,
UAA did rehearsals for two months to stage the two-hour
play. Much effort and planning have gone to execute
the sci-fi play filled with humour. Medimix company
is the sponsor of this latest creation from the UAA
Deccan Chronicle -29/2/08
Indian Express 3/3/08
S wadeshi Aiyar, Y.Gee.
Mahendra's new play, attempts to spoof the modern ills
in contemporary society. The play begins in 1945 when
an 80-year-old man extracts a promise from his grandson
that he will stick to traditional values and customs.
Even after the old man's death, the boy keeps his word
and by the time it's 2008, he has earned the name Swadeshi
Aiyar. While he is traditional, his wife, two sons and
daughter are not. The clash between the traditional and
the modern forms the crux of the play.
Mahendra weaves a bit of science fiction into the plot.
A scientist friend helps Swadeshi Iyer travel in time
from 2008 back to 1945 where his family goes through an
eye-opening experience and learns "our" traditions
and customs first hand.
Mahendra is clever with words. He is even better at
slapstick. He is a master at using the space on stage.
His plot, though untouched by the wildness of postmodern
literature, is still solid.
The absentminded scien tist, the ladies' club-going
wife, the cricketer son, the cell phone addict and the
daughter who does "combined studies" with
a Muslim are all clever but stereotypical characters.
Much laughter is derived from the interactions between
them and Swadeshi Iyer, who finds their activities bizarre.
So do we.
A long the way, Mahendra mocks at the way people use
cell phones, computers and the Internet, wear modern,
skin-showing clothes and adopt superficial fads. At
times, the play reinforces the age-old idea of patriarchy,
but so do many Tamil movies.
It seems Mahendra yearns for the purity and innocence
of the preIndependence era and wants us to turn time
backwards. At times, the play veers dangerously close
to being regressive and lacks gags.
Swadeshi Aiyar, presented by the United Amateur Artistes
under the aegis of Bharat Kalachar, is being staged
The Hindu 13th Oct.2006
Times of India 6/6/08
Bakthi Bharati Poojayashri Prof. Prema Panduranga Appreciation
Om Namo Narayanaya.
It was a pleasure watching Swadeshi Iyer – the
play and the character. You were the role you played.
As it was said of one of Arthur Miller’s hero-actors
– after a while the audience felt that the shadow
he cast was not his own! Your role as Swadeshi Iyer
combined in it all rasas like humour, pathos, anger,
frustration, wonder etc. The whole team built up such
a lovely concept – the audience learnt as it laughed.
The ethical tone was felt but never imposed.
Wishing you and India many more such productions to
keep values, invaluable values alive. Our paths are
different but our goal is the same. You reach the pinnacle
of values through drama and I seek it through discourses.
A joint programme for our joint venture. May Lord Venkateswara
bless you with all the best of life.
With prayers and blessings to you and your precious
Yours in the Lord’s service
VIP's At The
Rajini wowed by Swadeshi
Rajini is all praise for
Mahendra ( Deccan Chronicle )
Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali &
Directo R.C. Sakthi
kavigar subbu Aarumugam
kavigar subbu Aarumugam
kavigar subbu Aarumugam
kavigar subbu Aarumugam
kavigar subbu Aarumugam
50 th Show of 'Swadeshi
"PSBB Millennium Principal"
Dear Mr. Swadeshi Iyer,
It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday (14th September)
at the B K Auditorium. The 2 and ½ hours
spent in your company have turned out to be the best Sunday
evening spent in a long, long time.
You had us holding our sides with laughter over so many
anecdotes that it is still ringing in our ears! The élan
with which you deliver your punch lines is remarkable.
Without a doubt, it is your forte!
But the evening had more in store for us than mere laughter.
It made us sit up and realize that we haven’t
really reached a stage to be proud of our country or ourselves
today! Indeed, deep down, there was guilt in all of us
present for letting the present generation be so influenced
by everything western and anti Indian culture and tradition.
Truly we have forgotten the glory of our past in
our attempt to keep up with the modern times.
Our eyes turned moist and tears ran down on their own
accord when confronted with our so-called advancements
in comparison to those good old days, values and system
that were in place. It is sad that children do not consider
it necessary to pay respect to the elders anymore, that
they experience no patriotism towards their country as
they take it for granted, as they do so many other things.
They are too far removed from reality despite all the
reality shows that they are so addicted to. The more you
hit upon the various faults of the present day, the greater
the whiplash on us!
We were also fortunate to have met Gandhiji. But
our deep embarrassment about the current state of affairs
did not give us the courage to meet him in the eye. We
can imagine the extreme pain and disappointment he must
have over the present day country and the people he fought
for and got freedom for. How we wish we could have
really made him happy! Are we really honouring him by
having his image on our currency notes? So many questions
that you have posed for us to find answers for!
The evening was entertaining and an eye opener. More
importantly it turned out to be an evening where everyone
present walked out with a smile on his or her face despite
the eyes being moist, with a look of determination, to
make a difference, however small.
As teachers, having a direct influence on the minds of
the children, it has made us even more aware of our role
and responsibility in moulding the minds of the young
Thank you Mr. Swadeshi Iyer for bringing us back to 2008
with a jolt! We wish there are more of your ilk!
With warm regards,
Mrs. Sita Umamaheswaran
The PSBB Millennium School
9, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount,
th Show of 'Swadeshi Aiyar' 27-07 2008 The Hindu
50 th Show of
'Swadeshi Aiyar' 22-07-2008 Dinathanthi
Aiyar"-60 th Show 14-09-08
Amateur Artists theatre group headed by stalwart Y G Mahendran
brought three Tamil plays to the city
Y G M Play
in Times of India Friday 24 th April 2009