Event Info

11th March 2019 | 6:00 PM
Shri Ram Centre
3 Hr (20 Min Interval)
  • Language: Tamil
  • City / State: New Delhi
  • Directed By: Koumarane Valavane
  • Produced By: Indianostrum Theatre
Event Concluded

Chandala, Impure

Chandala is an adaptation of Romeo & Juliet in Tamil in the context of the ruthless Indian caste system. There is the overlying symbolism of a demon, who sitting on a sacred throne, feeds only on hate and divides the world into four chief varnas or castes and creates a fifth one- the ‘chandalas’ who are deprived from everything as they are perceived as impure.


Abinaya Ganesha: Meena / Poster boy/ funeral dancer / Janani's friend / Ritual assistant
Anjana Balaji: Janani / Sweeper / Chorus dancer
C. Santhosh Kumar: Deena / Chorus Dancer
Dharanidharan U: Aaya
David Salamon: Gana
G. Mani Bharathi: Mas
Priyadarshini Chakravarty: Shakthi / Mother / Sweeper / Flower lady/ Chorus Dancer
Purisai Kannappa Sambandan: Father
Saran Jith: Cupid / Mama / Chorus Dancer
Vasanth Selvam: Jack


Koumarane Valavane: Director
Joseph Bernard L: Set Construction
Kumar K: Light Operator
Ruchi Raveendran: Sound Operation
Priti Bakalkar: AV Projection Operation/ Executive Producer
Rathinavel: Subtitles Operation
Natraj: Production Assistant

The choice to do Romeo and Juliet was triggered by quite a few honour killing incidents in Tamil Nadu. Among these stories, one story that has left a deep impression on us is of Shankar and Kausalya. Shakar, Kausalya’s lower-caste husband, was killed in broad daylight by her family. Kausalya took her family to the stand to bring justice to Shankar and she is now an activist-crusader against caste-based hate crimes. Sometime back, I came across a ritual followed by certain upper-caste communities in Kerala which relates to the purity of a woman dying a virgin. Disturbed by the details of the ritual, I wrote a short story The Scale of Purity. These stories were still on our minds when Indianostrum Théâtre was commissioned by Festival des Francophonies en Limousin. We thought of transposing the universal love story of Romeo and Juliet on to the Indian caste system. As we started working on it, we came across more examples of love affairs which had fallen prey to the caste system despite efforts of our leaders like Gandhi and Ambedkar to abolish the terrible system from our society. It seemed as if the caste system is a shape-shifting monster which keeps adapting itself to situations in our time, even as laws are being put in place to eradicate this evil.

Through our play, we are trying to explore the caste system from the point of view of the contemporary Indian youth - how they are coping with it, their aspirations, values and how they are affected by their place in a community and the place of the community in society. We also examine the role of the community in an individual’s life and vice versa. The characters from this play are very much based on the documented lives of real people and situations. We attempt to explore how our means of entertainment like cinema are affecting the “idea of love” in the minds of our youth.
- Koumarane Valavane