Anuradha "Lola Kutty" Menon debuts at The Park’s New Festival

The Park’s New Festival is back with another edition of classical music and unconventional dance and theatre.

Karan Pillai Published :  25th August 2017 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  25th August 2017 06:00 AM
Anuradha Menon aka Lola Kutty

Anuradha Menon aka Lola Kutty

The 11th edition of The Park’s New Festival has a group of familiar faces and a couple of new names. While under the dance category, we will see Surjit Nongmeikpam, who will stage Folktale, a contemporary dance performance.

Meera Krishnan, programme coordinator head at Prakriti Foundation reveals that apart from Surjit, there are dance performances by four other groups too. Hence we have F4 by Virieno Zakiesato, Awakening by Parth Bharadwaj, Hands & Face Projects by Diya Naidu and Architect of Self-destruction by Abhilash Ningappa as well. Joining them are Anuradha Menon (aka Lola Kutty) and vocalist Roopa Mahadevan. 

Child no more

Anuradha Menon is an accomplished TV host (Celebrity Forum/Lola TV) and a successful theatre artiste (Zen Katha and the award-winning Sammy). However, her solo performance at the New Festival will feature a script that happens to be her first attempt at writing for theatre.

“When Ranvir Shah, the curator of the festival, approached me, he insisted that I present something new that I have not tried before. Hence, I set down to search for ideas,” says Menon, who then zeroed down to a fictional story of a child actor.

“The play is titled Take 35, and portrays the struggles of a child actor who hasn’t quite made it in adulthood. We are aware of how child actors who grow up are often referred to with the title of ‘Baby‘ when we talk about the movies they did when they were kids, as people still remember them for their younger roles.”

Stating examples of Sana Saeed (of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Student of the Year fame), she says that not many are able to make a successful transition from a child actor to mainstream adult cinema. “Also, aspiring child actors of today are under tremendous pressure, even from parents, to deliver! This is what inspired me to weave a story around it,” she reveals. 

When life is a lemon

Manipur-born Surjit presents an unconventional take on unconditional love, Folktale, which portrays the relationship between people and lime! Surjit satisfies our obvious curiosity by saying, “The lime played a very important role in my childhood, as it featured in my favourite morning drink, lemon tea, besides being recommended for various illnesses and as a garnish.

This versatility of the fruit — the ability to give a sour experience as well as heal while at the same time playing an important role in our culinary habit — can be compared to people’s experiences with their near and dear ones, which are sour at times but still love prevails between them.”

With a cast of seven people, the contemporary movement performance features music from the flute, cello and a bamboo branch. 

Carnatic call 

Roopa Mahadevan has remarkably embraced both Indian and American music. While on one hand she heads a New York-based Indian classical choir called Navatman Music Collective, she also follows R&B and chants hip-hop anthems just like any American. Her performance at this festival is no different, as she will be accompanied by musicians with vastly different styles, origins and talents.

“My team is as follows — Guy Mintus, a jazz and maquam pianist of Israeli origin who is a rising star in the international jazz and urban NYC jazz scenes, Rohan Krishnamurthy, who is primarily trained in mridangam (Carnatic percussion) and has an academic foundation in music/musicology and Anjna Swaminathan, a multifaceted artist who has trained in Carnatic and more recently, Hindustani, but also seeks out other opportunities in dance, theatre, dramaturgy and free jazz.”

Talking about the music that they will play, she says, “We will give a fresh perspective to Carnatic, while taking down stereotypical or oppressive ideas of gender and power.”

September 1-3. At The Park and Spaces. 7 pm onwards.