MODERN MAITHILI DRAMA
Manipadma wrote “Kanthahara”, it is a drama based on life of Vidyapati.
His “Jhumki” brings effect of drama and suspense to the forefront onto the stage. The Sahni Tola which was at first depicted as inhabited by criminals later turns out to a place where the oppressed ones reside. A police officer marries the woman gang leader and the Zamindars turn out the real villains.
Gangesh Gunjan’s Budhbudhiya proclaims being first Maithili street play. It is a path breaking Maithili drama so far as treatise of contemporary problems is concerned.
Mahendra Malangiya's plays were not popular among the village drama societies, although some urban drama units did choose to play these in drama festivals. Malangiya depicts rural life unsuccessfully (humoristically!). He through MINAP (Mithila Natyakala Parishad) produced his own plays in and around Janakpur. His one-act radio plays became popular. The major drawback of his plays is poor selection of dialogues, that he depicts as belonging to the masses. There are small repetitive sentences aiming cheap popularity. People watching his plays are from the socially elite (!) but poorly educated sub-strata of the community and therefore he hurls derogatory language aimed towards the so-called backward classes. The subject selection does not aim timelessness. His drama “Okar Anganak Barahmasa” has casteist leaning. The main character in “kathak lok” uses an invented creol (a mix of hindi and maithili!!), hurls derogatory language towards the so-called backward classes, aiming cheap popularity. The (social) superiority complex has corrupted the style and language of most of his plays. This aspect has been challenged by the modern dramatists of Maithili Language viz. Sh. Bechan Thakur and Sh. Jagdish Prasad Mandal.
Udaya Narayana Singh Nachiketa is the most effective dramatist of Maithili so far as treatment of the subject, the language used and the effects on stage are concerned. Distancing himself from pseudo popularity, all his plays are straight in effect. With these plays Maithili drama enters into 21st century in a grand manner. His “Nayakak Naam Jiwan” strikes bluntly the society’s quest for wealth. “Ek Chhal Raja” brings to fore the feudal psychology, the earlier feudal ones giving way to the newer ones. “Pratyavartana” meaning rolling back, is a story of a Doctor who is fascinated by village life, but is disenchanted when he faces the reality. And then comes the Maithili Literature Movement “Andolan”, here the real stalwarts are ignored and the pseudo one are respected. In Nachiketa’s “Ramlila” Ram behaves as if he is Ravana.
The most effective and widely played dramas are those by Sh. Lallan Prasad Thakur. His “Barka Saheb” depicts conflict between the East and the West, “Mr. Nilokaka” dwindles between the old and the new. "Longia Mirchai” exposes relationship between wealth and modernism and “Baklel” exposes fallacies in the modern educational system.
(Snippets from “A Survey of Maithili Literature Vol.II” by GAJENDRA THAKUR)