Ramu Ramanathan is a playwright-director who says he has penned more plays than he should have! His list of well-known plays includes Cotton 56,...
Voices of Dissent: A life without Art is meaningless
"Since the times of Socrates-Plato, Bhasa-Kalidasa, Gandhi-Ambedkar, why have ideas been considered dangerous?" - Ramu Ramanathan
What do we mean by the phrase 'living in a democracy'? What is the role of the arts in this? Is the India we live in a healthy democracy? What histories have led us up to this moment? And what happens to artists who are determined to speak up and use the arts as a voice for people?
We are delighted to invite Ramu Ramanathan - playwright and director - to Mumbai Local. As an artist deeply concerned with the socio-political world of today, Ramu Ramanathan is a walking encyclopaedia of arts efforts and activism happening, not just in Mumbai, but across Maharashtra. His belief in the power of the arts as well as in the artists who demand their constitutional freedoms gives him a spectrum of eye-opening insights into people and the arts. We can look forward to him sharing many of these perspectives with us.
At this Mumbai Local, Ramu Ramanathan will explore the relationship between art, dissent and a healthy democracy. Drawing on live examples of a variety of arts activism - singers and poets, literary activism, theatre - he will share with us the living practice of the arts speaking up, why it matters, and how it gives voice and visibility to communities that may otherwise remain unnoticed. He will also talk about the role of the grassroots artist, the role of the state in response, and the role of larger civil society in the drama that plays out.
Expect an evening of powerful stories and keen insights that throw light upon realities beyond our own. Look forward to a necessary contemplation on our individual roles in the civil democratic process.
See you on Friday, 19 May at Kitab Khana, Fort!
@ 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
Ramu Ramanathan is a playwright-director who says he has penned more plays than he should have! His list of well-known plays includes Cotton 56, Polyester 84; Jazz; Comrade Kumbhakarna; and more recently, Postcards from Bardoli, and Ambu and Rajalakshmi. Besides these, he has penned the docu-drama 3, Sakina Manzil and youthful plays like Curfew; Yaar, What's The Capital Of Manipur, Combat, as well as one-act plays for inter-collegiate competitions in Mumbai and radio plays for AIR.
Ramanathan's best work is with young people and non-theatre persons. The playwright-director has written and directed children's plays for Little Prithvi Players including The Boy Who Stopped Smiling and Medha And Zoombish; and later, Time To Tell A Tale based on the Yuva Katha stories, and Medha And Zoombish II.
He also staged Vaikom Mohammed Basheer's Me Grandad 'Ad An Elephant, and Marguerite Duras' L'amante Anglaise (both with university students). He has directed the work of absurdists like Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Havel, as well as Chekov, Ibsen and Miller for the stage.
Like his guru, Johann Alois Senefelder (the German playwright who invented lithography), Ramanathan has been associated with the world of printing. He was the editor of PT Notes, a monthly theatre newsletter produced by Prithvi Theatre (Mumbai), for ten years. He co-edited e-STQ (Seagull Theatre Quarterly), and has written columns about Mumbai for national dailies.