Here's how artists and performers discuss prosperity in Hyderabad's creative offerings 

Stand-up comedians, musicians and theatre artists chat about how the city’s cultural space is ever-growing
Art of Anil Thambai
Art of Anil Thambai

In Hyderabad, music, theatre and comedy performances seem to be on the upswing. City residents are as excited as ever about this revival. Cultural spaces have also played a consequential part in this reawakening by supporting rising artists. Post lockdown, people are starting to find more meaning in the arts by physically visiting a gallery or any creative space to spend hours looking at and appreciating it further. We have talked to musicians, theatre professionals, and stand-up comedians who have expressed their perspectives ahead of the chock-a-block calendar of events this month.

One recent ongoing exhibition, Brush Mark On Architecture which opened on October 5 at Dhi Artspace in Ameerpet, celebrates the zest of life and the spirit of travel using abstract architecture. This group show, continuing till November 12, depicts the work of seven modern Indian artists who explore how architecture inspires art. In the display, the universal vocabulary of design is used to express many languages of creation, ranging between fledgling artists and experts, spanning various mediums, and techniques, and derived from far-off places.

Each artist, who emerges from the same specialisation of architecture, uses their visual dynamics to traverse size, proportion, light, and time. We came upon Anil Thambai, who paints a cloud of perspectives, spatial geometry, and arabesques on hemp paper using graphite. Anil notes that Hyderabad has always had a rich history of art and culture, which piqued his curiosity.

“I am very fond of the monuments and architecture of Hyderabad. The city has gifted numerous artists, thanks to its culture and fine art institutions. The active galleries, I believe, had played a substantial role in the rise of such artists by introducing them to the new possibilities of the art market,” he says. His method is essentially the mapping of ideology and power in various architectural settings through painting and sculpting. “Hyderabad is a fine city with lots of art lovers, intellectuals and tourists. The mass response has also been a very positive one. It can be further enhanced by making art more democratic; organising more shows and helping people to interact with more and more global works of art,” he adds.

Likewise, when it comes to musical events, Bangaluru’s Crystal Codes, a six-piece band, primarily plays vintage rock, blues, country, and instrumental music. High-energy Rock ’n’ Roll covers from the 1960s to 1980s by musicians like Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, CCR, Steppenwolf, and Pink Floyd. Barry Nixon, the band’s manager and drummer, joined us for a quick chat. According to him, Hyderabad has always been a city with a diverse culture, from indie artists and bands performing live to popular films. He finds it admirable how local bands are supported by bars and other public spaces.

Speaking about their upcoming performance at Hard Rock Café in Hyderabad on October 15 from 7 pm, he adds, “We are paying tribute to stalwarts like The Beatles and Eric Clapton whose music took the whole world by storm.” We cherish stories, whether they are told verbally, on stage, in poetry, or on a canvas. With this in mind, we met Sandeep Tadi, co-founder of Storyboard Productions, an independent production company situated in Hyderabad. With his theatrical adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and other works, Sandeep’s impending play, The Pillowman, an adaptation of British-Irish playwright, Martin McDonagh’s piece of the same title recounts the story of Katurian, a fiction writer living in a police state, who is questioned about the graphic content of his short stories and their resemblance to several bizarre child murders occurring in his town.

We ask Sandeep how Hyderabad’s delight in the arts, music, comedy, theatre and similar things has changed over time. “It has evolved a lot. With many people from different states migrating to Hyderabad, the lookout for theatre has increased. Other than some Telugu theatre groups and some established groups, now there are many new theatre groups run by people from different parts of the country, which is a very good sign,” he says.

The performance will be presented at Rangbhoomi Spaces & Events in Gachibowli and is produced by Preksha Theatre Company and Storyboard Productions. As of now, there are five shows scheduled, including those for October 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23.

The market in Hyderabad has always been strong, especially for stand-up comedy too. Azeem Banatwalla, one of the country’s top stand-up comedians, maintains that he has never had a bad or even mediocre performance here. The crowds simply never need a warm-up because they are invariably enthused. “Hyderabad audiences are among the best, and most giving in the country. I wouldn’t change a thing!” he says. On October 16, Punchliners will host Azeem’s next one-hour performance of Minor Celebrity at Hard Rock Café in Banjara Hills.


Twitter: @PaulChokita 

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