P.Kesava Dev the playwright.
Kesava Dev said, “I do not write to enrich my literature. Literature for me is my sincere and earnest attempt to examine the complicated issues in life”. Kesava Dev who is acknowledged, as the foremost exponent of progressive Malayalam literature became a play write during the early stages of his literary career.
The themes of his plays and dramas range from a small talk of common men, their needs, hopes and aspiration to promiscuity and political corruption. It must be remembered that these plays were staged many a times,Dev himself playing the lead role on stage at the time when only the “Raja Part” gained applause from the audience. Kesava Dev converted drama from mere social entertainment to a powerful means for social awakening where serious and fundamental problems pertaining to the society are analysed.
“Eruttintte Maravil” and “Thondukari” have poverty as the core theme. In “Orumuri Thenga”, Dev relates how a small problem between the neighbours flares up. “Ona Blouse” also carries such a theme. “Kollanum Kollathiyum Onnu” is one in a domestic setting. ‘Munnottu’ written around 1947 reflects the emerging political situation in the country. The theme of “Pradanamanthri” is political corruption.
Though Dev was a fellow traveler for a number of years he could not compromise with the dictates of Calcutta thesis. He lost faith in Communism and his plays “Njanippa Communisttavum”, “Mazhyangum Kudayingum”, “China way” are popular political satires.
Kesava Dev cannot be considered as serious playwright. Dev as a dramatist comes only after the novelist and short story writer. But, as he himself has written, these plays serve a purpose and they are well known for their powerful and fast moving dialogue and when well directed will be worth watching on the stage.
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