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By A medley of theatre, dance and music Sreyoshi Dey
  • Published 27.09.13
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The Park’s New Festival, Edition VII, curated by Prakriti Foundation which has been touring across six cities in the country, camped in Calcutta as its final stop on September 17. The three-day festival started with the Chennai-based theatre group Stray Factory staging a string of five short plays — The Lost Audition, Maya from Madurai, Chairpersons, P. James for President and My Name is Cine-Maa — for the evening titled ‘Osama, Cinema and a Whole Lot of Black Money’ at Galaxy, The Park.

Founded by Mathivanan Rajendran, the Stray Factory has brought together individuals from various walks of life –– engineer to television producer, lawyer, painter and sales guy –– bound by their love for theatre. From an actor auditioning to play Osama and the story of a drug addict, to politicians and their power play, Stray Factory put forth a performance worth a standing ovation.

“We were told that Calcutta has a very arty crowd. Bengalis have very strong opinions and tastes. So we really wanted to give it all that we had,” laughed writer-director Rajiv Rajaram. The second day of the festival had in store the Bangalore-based NH7, a contemporary dance trio comprising Deepak Kurki Shivaswamy, Charan C.S. and Amaresha Kempanna. Drawing on the life of the rural immigrants who are rapidly changing the face of the city in search of a ‘better life’, NH7’s performance had many layers.

“It was inspired by the surroundings in an urban city. The constructions, the city being reinvented all the time… I am 30 and I already feel like the city has changed so much,” said NH7 director, choreographer and performer Deepak Kurki.

The third day of the festival saw a performance by the Amit Chaudhuri Band at The Park. The concert was a part of A Moment of Mishearing, an audio-visual narrative, written by author Amit Chaudhuri.

The radio version was first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2010.“When I would do these concerts, I would tell a story right from the beginning — how I came to set aside Western music, got into Hindusthani classical music, and then heard the riff to Eric Clapton’s Layla while I was practising raga Todi in the morning, and then there were other stories I would tell the audience. So when an idea came about for a Radio 3 programme, I thought this story could make for a good radio programme along with some of the music. I knew the narrative element of the story would also lend itself well to an audio-visual exposition.

The film is not meant to just illustrate the songs. It’s meant to be a part of the experience that is taking place through music. Something new is opening up and so the film also, one hopes, is part of the opening up,” said Amit.
The band performed a “Hindu devotional version” of the Rolling Stones classic Sympathy For The Devil. In the film, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, said Chaudhuri, “Jagger, at the end of the song, plays around more than usual with the phrase, ‘What’s my name?’ I was hearing this Om and it tied up with the fact that we don’t know who this person is. Om came in seamlessly with the question, ‘What’s my name’?”

 

“The production was very interesting. I liked the idea of Amit placing himself within the music. The autobiographical part of the film creates some sense of rationale as to why he is doing this at all. I liked the way he meshed two different traditions,” said Anjum Katyal.