‘Everything is political’

‘Everything is political’

The scope of the word political is not limited to the Congress versus the Bharatiya Janata Party debates, lampooning politicians or wearing a khadi kurta. “The truth is, everything is political. To speak is political, to not speak is political," says Arundhati Nag, founder, Ranga Shankara, on the phone from Bangalore—and that is the thought behind this year’s week-long festival which began on 15 October in Bangalore.

There will also be a Yakshagana performance centred on the scene from the Mahabharat where Krishna tries to talk the Kauravas out of declaring war on the Pandavas. Yakshagana is a traditional theatrical form from coastal Karnataka—the performances are based on well-known incidents which are then developed entirely extempore by the actors on stage. “Because of this, it always ends up commenting on contemporary political debates," says Belawadi. In addition to the theatre component, there will also be a week-long exhibition of political cartoons designed by cartoonist V.G. Narendra, film screenings, a graffiti wall at the Ranga Shankara café which will be free for people to scribble on through the year, and a three-day art appreciation course on the last three days of the festival. “This will discuss ideas of protest—implicit or explicit—in painting, sculpture, writing and performance. It will be capped by a seminar that will talk about the hubris of the powerful, and about our given morals, held customs and claimed entitlements. The festival seeks to stand up for the hurt, angry and bewildered.

The Ranga Shankara Theatre Fest is on till 23 October at Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar, Bangalore. The street plays and foyer performances run from 6.30pm every day of the festival.

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