K Ramachandran is one of those obsessed and active art lovers that the arts world cannot do without. He is the founder member and...
Saga of a Village: An Arts Story
Why is the artistic history of the place one belongs to important? What does it tell us about ourselves? How does one go about documenting this history in a country where so much knowledge is retained in oral tales, myths and memory? And how do you ensure this archive is an act of public sharing?
We are delighted to invite K. Ramachandran - arts archivist, curator and founder of Keli - to Mumbai Local. Mr. Ramachandran hails from the village of Peruvanam - a place with a rich artistic history of 1,435 years. The village boasts great artists of Melam, Nangiar Koothu, a strong musical folk tradition, contemporary theatre activists and artists, and award-winning film-makers, whose work range from the first neo-classical film made to the 2006 National Film Award winner, Priyanandan. The unfolding of this history is however not known generally to the current inhabitants of Peruvanam, nor to the world at large. With the belief that an organic history must be known as well as myth, Mr. Ramachandran has embarked on the ambitious project of documenting the arts history of his village, Peruvanam.
At Mumbai Local, Mr. Ramachandran will share with us how he got fascinated by the idea of documenting the artistic history of his village, what he has already done to build public involvement and interest, and what his future plans are. We can expect to hear wonderful stories of community involvement strategies, artistic gathering and artistic evolution. We can look forward to seeing Peruvanam take shape before our eyes, as Mr. Ramachandran infects us with his love and passion for the arts. And we can perhaps collectively reimagine what it means to build an archive of our culture and identity, that throws light on and celebrates the rich cultural diversity of the land that is now India.
@ MCubed Library, Bandra (W) - 1st Sat, 5 pm
@ Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla (E) - 2nd Sun, 5 pm
@ Kitab Khana, Fort - 3rd Fri, 5:30 pm
K Ramachandran is one of those obsessed and active art lovers that the arts world cannot do without. He is the founder member and principal mentor of Keli, a Mumbai based Charitable organization striving to preserve, develop and propagate the classical and traditional cultural heritage of India. Under the banner of Keli, he has relentlessly researched, documented, presented and celebrated the great performance arts and artists of Kerala in particular. Every year, under his leadership, Keli holds delightful annual festivals in Mumbai - presenting thayambaka, or melam, or kathakali and more to a Mumbai audience in ways that appeal to us without losing the essential magic and core of the forms. In this lies the genius of Ramachandran - his ability to introduce age-old forms of performance to audiences in authentic and yet immensely delightful ways, his commitment to keeping the soul of the art alive even as he archives, documents and presents.
Ramachandran has been responsible for the publication of 2 books by Keli - Proud Imprints of Natyaveda documents the life and work of some of the most prominent masters of a variety of art forms and Abhinethri (The Actress) by Usha Nangyar explores the female presence in Koodiyattam, the world's most ancient theatre tradition.
A few years ago, Ramachandran forayed into making documentary films to record the great masters and promising proteges of the performance arts. His films include Kaalam (The unending Time) on the life of Sri Pallavoor Appu Marar, which received the Kerala Kala Mandalam Award for the director of the most outstanding short film devoted to performing arts, Sikhi (The Fire) on female power and dynamism in Nangyar Koothu, the world's most ancient women's theatre tradition (1200 yrs) and Koodiyattam, Saamam (The Music) on the musical journey of the great Karnatic vocalist the Late MD Ramanathan, and Pranathi on the formidable presence of the unmatched Melam artist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, in the contemporary rhythm music of Kerala. He is currently engaged in the production of two films - one on the Kathakali maestro, Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboodiri and the other one on the children of Rhythm from a percussion village which boasts a rhythm tradition of 1431 years.