A few days back I received a message on Instagram from Theatre Management Company requesting me to participate in the online theatre festival. This was totally exciting – an online theatre festival? Wow!! I recited my poem and totally enjoyed the experience. The team is dedicated to art and I love the fact that they are so warm and comfortable to be with.
Well, I wished to know more about TMC and how it all started. So, here we go!!
The team: Theatre Management Company
Sikandar Khan, Muneera Surati, Anuj Khandelwal, Tanuj Khandelwal, Salim Parvez Khan, Shubhangi Shah, Anchal Agarwal, and Ruchika Rai.
Ques. What was the thought behind launching TMC? I. Theatre Management Company was founded by Mr. Sikandar Khan who himself is a theatre artist and an evolving actor. The thought came when he realized the concerns like the improper structure of Indian Theatre, the burden on a director’s shoulder to market his play, and many more. When everyone else was saying that “Theatre is dead”, an idea struck him. He decided to organize Indian Theatre in such a way that it creates a win-win situation for artists, directors, and event organizers. That is how TMC was born.
Ques. Share with us the recent events. II. Since TMC has just begun its operations in 2021 August, 2 Online Theatre Festivals have been organized under its banner. The third festival, however, is going to find its ground from December 24th.
Ques. Why online festivals? How do they contribute to art? III. The idea behind an online festival was to make theatre accessible to its audience. It should become like a habit just as daily soaps have become a part of our daily routine wherein every month there will be new performances with different languages.
Online festivals were started for an entertainment purpose for our audience. It was the response from the audience and performers that prompted us to think in a different direction of promoting Indian art and culture through online festivals. We have performances in Hindi, Urdu, English, Malayalam, Tamil, and the newly added Sanskrit that reflect the rich cultural heritage our country has. It hence becomes important for our new generation to interact with theatre in the form of Urdu Mehfil, Poetry Sessions, Short Plays, Folk Stories, Musical Performances, and many more.
Ques. What does art mean to you? IV. Anything which is done with perfection subconsciously is art. We cannot grasp concepts of performance, it is something that comes from within. The art forms performed in ancient India are fairly rich.
Ques. Is regional art dying; folk music, affinity towards regional languages, and poetry in regional languages? V. The regional art forms are not dying per se, but yes they aren’t demonstrated and marketed than often as much as other modern content is. The change of interests in people and lack of knowledge of regional art creates a gap between art and the audience. It still can be relieved if we start practicing and promoting these art forms individually. We all can join the movement started by the Theatre Management Company.
Ques. What are your future plans? Where do you see TMC 3 years from now? VI. This is just the beginning and we wish to see Theatre at the place it belongs to and with the love and affection of the audience, this can certainly be done.
Bob Dylan – Picked from https://www.brainpickings.org Every artist’s art is their coping mechanism for the extreme sensitivity to aliveness that we call beauty — the transcendent and terrifying capacity to be moved by the world, to let something outside us stir deeply something within us. All great art — and only honest art can be great — is therefore the work of vulnerability and all integrity the function of fidelity to one’s fragilities.
That is what Bob Dylan (b. May 24, 1941) addresses with his penetrating poetics of insight in a 1977 conversation with Jonathan Cott — that uncommonly sensitive and erudite investigator of uncommon minds.
It’s a rare occasion when I feel like sharing my thoughts as a viewer of a film, or series since I’ve lost touch as a reviewer. Frankly I eagerly awaited the release of the web series ‘Maharani’ & began watching it as an admirer of Amit Sial’s @amit.sial work.
Undoubtedly he is fantastic in the role of an overconfident and impatient leader with his sophisticated, and restrained performance. His ability to change his body language based on his character and grasping the nuances of the character take root in his theatre background. I have watched his other performances as well. It’s a pleasure to watch his performances as his connect with the camera and audiences is strong.
Maharani is a tribute to each Indian who believes strongly in the Indian Constitution; it’s spirit and strength. They respect our Constitution immensely and consider it no less than a pious scripture. Our Constitution is a voice of hope and a voice of the Indian polity.
But politics overpowers our polity through populism and bare political ambitious where ideologies take a back seat. The series shows a glimpse of Bihar politics and the role of the politicians, bureaucrats, spiritual gurus, naxalites, intellectuals and people as mere spectators. It’s clearly speaks about casteism and caste based politics, with the so called ‘rajnaitik daav pech’ and the ‘ayaraam gayaraam’ politicians.
Huma Qureshi @iamhumaq is another towering actress. The ease with which she performs is endearing. She doesn’t perform, she lives the characters. I saw her Malayalam film ‘White’ with Mammootty sir. She is intense. That’s the most befitting word for her. Needless she is extremely beautiful and with strong sensuality plus individuality. Salute to Inaamulhaq for having played perfectly the role of an honest and daring government official. His casting is perfect and his execution of the role flawless. Oh yes, Sohum Shah @shah_sohum has done wonders yet again. I loved him in Tumbbad and respect him for believing in such a unique project. It’s the best Hindi movie in recent times. Kani Kusruti as Kaveri is adorable with her South Indian accent and touches you with her sincerity. Gripping story written by Subhash Kapoor with lot of thought, holds your attention and builds suspense. Dialogues impact and excite the audiences. The direction by Karan Sharma is a lot more mature and natural. It gives time to each scene and actor to create a lasting impression. That’s the mark of a mature director.
Initially I did find it a casual watch but as the story built up I just couldn’t stop watching it. Awaiting season 2 when Bheema babu is released from the prison and a different war awaits. Thanks to the entire team and Sony LIV for creating a great watch!
Rapid urbanization in China has compelled young adults to live a lonely and solitary life. In Chinese “kongchao qingnian,” literally, “young emptynester” or empty nest youth is a harsh reality of China’s urban life.
Though the Chinese movie ‘The Empty Nest’ directed byWei Zang is about an old woman who is an empty nester. It is a melancholic story based on the novel ‘THE EMPTY NEST’ by Xue Yiwei. The movie ends with hope and realization by the central character Zhao Yemie that life is about moving on and not about pondering over the sad moments.
Zhao Yemie is played by Zhu Xijuan, a superstar of 1960s in China
Image: Tom J. Cull (Twitter account)
Zhou lives a lonely life in the city and is disillusioned with life. It’s tough for her to cope with her solitary life in old age. She suffers from urinary countenance and has a strained relationship with her son who keeps calling her. He tries to convince her to move in with him or move to a nursing home. Strained, dejected and lonely she feels hopeless. Zhou hardly steps out of her home and seems to be pushing her neighbours away and rarely trusts anyone.
But her life changes for good and Lei Xiaoding played by Zhang You who sells healthcare products enters her life to rekindle hope and optimism. Initially she distrusts him as well.
Though his caring and warm nature fills her life with joy. He gives her company and together they create some happy moments.
Lei is ambitious and wants to amass a huge fortune as quickly as possible. He cons Zhou who feels cheated and dejected.
The last 15 minutes of the movie are critical where the crux of the movie lies. Zho makes a choice to move on and realizes that she shouldn’t have pushed everyone away from her life.
While she was young her husband had betrayed her and she distanced herself from her son as well.
Actors are brilliant and seem to be living up to their character. Zhu Xijuan and Zang You are convincing. The scene where the old lady Zhao Yemie ties Lei Xiaoding to the chair and demands him to speak the truth is heart wrenching. Lei’s outburst and his pain v/s Zhao’s pain are juxtaposed.
Wei Zang’s direction doesn’t unnecessarily romanticize any scene. He has stuck to realistically picturizing the practicalities of living a lonely life.
Music composer Minami Nozaki’s music playing in the background in the last few moments of the movie express Zang’s emotional outpour.
The movie is simple yet profound, reflecting upon the effects of urbanization and loneliness it can drive people into. The race of achieving success, amassing wealth and the desire to make it big can drive youngsters to resort to dubious means ofcourse out of sheer desperation. It also reflects on the solitary life of empty nesters.
Reflections as a viewer and not a reviewer:
Moving on and enjoying the present moment is the crux of life. We might feel disillusioned about life, but it is just not the end. These moments of despair will end and happiness will revisit your life. But if you shut your heart to happiness you will sulk. So, move on.
Alina Zaliukaite-Ramanauskiene as Elena Pliaugiene
It’s a lie that we crave for peace and contentment. Inherently we are happy with chaos, the struggle and revolution that brings a new order. We see conflict changing the present scenario and we like being in a dilemma. Do we strive for peace? If yes, then despite the painful experience of two world wars, why do we still witness attacks/ violence? Truth is just like the war; harsh and tough to accept.
Director Sharunas Bartas in the last 15 minutes of his movie ‘In the dusk’ numbs you; it captures the trauma and turmoil; pain people went through during and after the World War II. It is a movie about deceit and distrust.
The movie is set in 1948 in the Lithuanian countryside, where a detachment of Partisans is staying in a forest to resist the Soviet troops.
Unte (Marius Povilas Elijas Martynenko) is a witness to the harsh realities of the post war period while he becomes a member of the Partisan movement that resists the Soviets. He is innocent and views his father Pliauga (Arvydas Dapsys), political ideologies, and killings with raw, innocent eyes, which cannot be rejected as immature. Instead, he asks vital and critical questions. But doesn’t get to know the complete truth though he stays, probing more and ultimately drowns in silence, which is haunting.
The scenes have been crafted with restrained conversations though enough to reveal the realities of life in the post war period- blatant and harsh.
The slow pace of the movie doesn’t bother the audience much as the actors grip your attention with stark, raw expressions and direction, which is par excellence.
Pliauga is probed by his 19-year-old adopted son Unte about his life. Pliauga asks his son to be independent in his thoughts and use his own mind, not to be influenced by anyone or any ideology. Unte’s father reveals his past and Unte has nothing to say but being empathetic towards him.
Pliauga played by Arvydas Dapsys commands the screen with his tough, shrewd nature with a strong sense of self-belief. Scenes depicting the troubled relationship with his wife (Alina Zaliukaite-Ramanauskiene) are somber yet chilling. There is no denying that her limited presence on screen doesn’t stop her from creating a lasting impact on the audience’s mind.
The movie builds the background for the action at the end of the movie i.e., in the last half an hour. When the Soviets arrive asking for money from the already impoverished people living in the forest where the movie is set.
Unte has his questions and asks them to people with whom he manages to hit a conversation. He asks about where the money that the Soviets take from us is utilized? He gets a reply they are taking the money from those who have it and give it to the have nots. Bang comes the next question, “Do you believe them?” The reply is simple, “You have to believe someone.” Unte then asks if they believe in God to which the answer is, “They don’t believe in God.”
This conversation captures vital beliefs of Marxism in few words. Such significant dialogues and conversations make the movie realistic, and it refrains from romanticising war.
Soviets devastate lives of these few Lithuanians living in the farmland set in the forest. The scenes of Soviets killing anyone who oppose or question them are brutal. Infact the Soviets are troubled by their sense of insecurity, distrust, deceit and compels us to ask if the desperation was all worth it?
When Pliauga is probed at the end he stays undeterred and unapologetic. His expressions and reaction to the torture, shake you. The violence at the end numbs the audience. As the movie advances the audience has no clue that the melancholic mood throughout the movie will lead to a brutal end.
The silence (the subtle tension) throughout the movie ends with a haunting scream. The scenes set in the harsh forest, depiction of the lifestyle, the use of light by cinematographer Eitvydas Doskus costumes designed by Nina Moravcova are brilliant.
The music (composed by Gabriele Dikciute and Jakub Rataj) is melancholic matching with the somber, cold mood of the movie. There is no unnecessary romanticising of the war making the characters heroic.
Truth has a shrill voice. In this movie it comes forth in the form of restrained words and lingering silence.
How beautifully we lie and mask ourselves. Humans love the feeling of triumph and victory. We are constantly in search of this feeling. So, we first start inflicting pain on ourselves and others, pose challenges in our lives and society that lead to wars. War benefits no one yet we are at war with ourselves and others. Countries are at war as human beings we are at war with ourselves. There is always a dilemma and anti-thesis in our lives no matter how much we would love to mask it.
Mary Oliver (10 September 1935 –2019) was an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984 and The National Book Award for poetry in 1992. Her poems are meditations on nature, spirituality and the human experience in a straightforward language that makes poetry “look easy.” However, if this gift appealed to the public, it attracted the derision of those who consider poetry as a more intellectual practice, consisting of layered allusions and complex symbolism. In a 2012 interview the poet dismissed such erudite concerns, maintaining that “poetry, to be understood, must be clear” rather than “fancy.”
Here’s how she talks about life in a passage from her poem “Sometimes”, belonging to the collection “Red Bird” published by Beacon Press, 2008.
Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
Mary Oliver (10 settembre 1935 –2019) è una poetessa…