In Pictures: Srujanacha Algaar – A Crusade for Creativity @ Ambedkar Bhavan, Mumbai
Hey, what are we celebrating?
On Saturday, January 26, Ambedkar Bhavan, hidden in a Dadar bylane, saw a Crusade For Creativity. The event was a celebration of free speech, and a condemnation of state agencies that curb peoples' movements against nuclear plants and demolition drives, as well as the arrests of members of the Kabir Kala Manch and other revolutionary poets. The event saw short plays and musical performances, all bearing messages about current social issues. Read on for highlights.
Short Marathi sketches by various theatre actors showcased several issues faced by the subaltern. One of the first of these was a poignant glimpse into globalisation and how it affects adivasis.
"Let's make you civilised like us!"
Acted out by Sandesh Gaikwad and Dhammarakshit Ranadive, the skit showed what happens when cities expand, and people attempt to adjust to the change.
Dancing to Kabir
The event also featured dance performances set to songs by poet group Kabir Kala Manch, choreographed by Mishti Bawar.
A poem recited by Chaya Koregaonkar addressed all women, and encouraged them to collect their strength and step out of the patriarchal norm.
Along with his band Dhamma Wings, Kabeer Shakya spreads the word of Buddha through rock and hip-hop.
Theatre actress/activist Sandhya Panaskar delivered one of the best performances of the day in a comedic Marathi skit about the double standards between men and women. It loses a lot in translation, but went along the general theme of - "Why should women have to carry knives and cover up when it's the men who do the raping?" The message was appropriately delivered, and the actors' comic timing raised lots of laughs from the audience.
Marathi TV personality Jayvant Bhalekar digressed from the issues a little by doing comic impressions of several other prominent Marathi theatre and TV personalities. His Nana Patekar act was spot-on though.
This young man in the front row lounged through the whole event #LikeABoss.
Mishra, aka A-List, has been a part of Mumbai's underground hip-hop community for a while. His track 'Status Update' speaks of internet censorship and the curbing of freedom of speech. He rapped in English, and while several in the audience were a tad lost during his flow, his repeated refrain of "Jai Bhim" was well appreciated. Mishra's second track ended with a narration of a conversation with his professor
Mumbai MC Manmeet Kaur laid out an acerbic Hindi/Punjabi verse in response to Yo Yo Honey Singh. "I was asked to compete in a college rap event called 'Yo Yo Mundeyaan'," she explained. "I wasn't really impressed with the name of the event, so I wrote this." Check out a video of the rap here.
They came from Satara...
Lek Ladki Abhyan, a troupe of musicians from Satara led by Shaahir Kailash Jadhav, performed a set of rousing songs written by Marathi writer Amar Sheikh.
"Aaz Valentine's day aahe, mala kiss paije"
Samata Sushuprabha and Ravi Lokare performed a humorous Marathi sketch set in Valentine's Day, and which ends in a message of equality in love.
Sandhya, mother of activist poet Sheetal Sathe, was also present at the event. Sheetal Sathe is part of activist poet group Kabir Kala Manch, and has been forced to go into hiding following false allegations of terrorism.
Singer-songwriter Niraj Arya performed several songs of Kabir, as well as a stirring rendition of Indian Ocean's 'Maa Reva'.
The driving force behind the highly successful event was radical poet/writer Sambhaji Bhagat.