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VOL. XXII NO. 7, July 16-31, 2012
Better use of city spaces
Vincent D'Souza

Anushkha Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar, two young creative souls, have been on an Indian odyssey which is incomplete because they have run short of money.

Some months ago, the two Chennai-based persons decided that they would embark on a unplanned journey to parts of India they had read and heard about but not seen. They decided to borrow a camera from a friend in Delhi, tapped into their FB and theatre circles for donations, and set off.

They travelled across Rajasthan and Himachal and the North East and wherever they went the sound of local music enchanted them, so they let the camera whir on local artistes and performers, even on people who created a music of their own when they farmed or on people who practised communal farming and sat around every evening for songs and dinner.

Recently, the duo screened several bits of their film footage at 'Spaces', the space for the arts left behind by the iconic dancer and guru Chandralekha at her home off Elliot's Beach, Besant Nagar.

The bits and pieces of film clips will be used to create a film, U-ra-mi-li, much later. For now, though, the duo are hoping they get enough money to fund the second part of their travels.

The audience at 'Spaces' was large and if most of them oblige, the duo should have lots on their hands.

Commentator and art critic Sadanand Menon who manages 'Spaces' has opened the gates here for all kinds of performances – music, talk, theatre, docus, lec-dems and campaigns. Menon gives his nod as long as these events are not-for-profit and the effort is genuine.

In another part of the city, in Virugambakkam, theatre artiste Sree Devi is glad that a local school provides her the open, green space or its hall to stage Tamil plays.

Devi who has been groomed at well-known Koothuppattarai manages her own theatre group. So, when she has a play ready to be staged, the offer of a space is hugely welcome. More so when it is offered gratis.

Each neighbourhood has open spaces which fall under the city's civic body. Some are run down, some offer a simple stage, some even have a performance space and seating built around it.

If Chennai Corporation fits these spaces with core facilities for performances and maintains the places, surely local residents can exploit the facility. To stage short plays, performances, screen films and the like.

Such spaces can be lively only if local communities and the civic body work hand in hand. They fail when they are treated as civic projects outlined in budgets! – (Courtesy: Mylapore Times)

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In this issue

First in bus accidents – a dubious status for Chennai
Whither VP Hall's restoration?
Nostalgia – Memories of Madras
Looking back – Goldingham and the Madras Observatory
Cricket in India stands for hope & opportunity
A music academy for the future
Ismena Warren – documenting Madras in water-colours and sketches
Better use of city spaces
Garden gloom

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan


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