For creation of a production on ‘The Hare and Tortoise’, which will combine theatre and shadow puppetry. Through constant improvisations and experiments with the puppets, a script––which also looks at other famous races and a few imagined ones, with characters from Indian epics as also from other cultures––will be further developed and layered. Members of the theatre group will also train under resource persons from various traditional forms to develop the content of the production.
For the making of a film on Surabhi, a 120-year old travelling theatre company from Andhra Pradesh. Envisaged as a journey with the repertory company, the film, titled Mayabazar, will examine the everyday activities of these travelling actors and their families, rehearsals, exercises, the staging of the plays based on the epics and the puranas, the audience, sets, make-up and costume design. The film will also explore the traces of Parsi theatre, silent cinema from the Phalke era and the paintings of Ravi Verma in the design of the theatre company’s sets and costumes.
For the making of a film exploring the cultural history of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim through the sacred dance theatre of Chham. The film will examine this ritual dance as it shapes and is shaped by its religious and cultural contexts, as well as the mutations in its traditional meanings through modernity and education. Titled The Listener’s Tale, the film seeks to be a witness to the contradictions and counter-forces that sustain this ancient art practice, the plurality of meanings it generates, and the active dialogue between the consciousness of the performers of Chham and its spectators.
For research into the history of Marathi Farce in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The project will take into the account the social critique implicit in this form of theatre, as well as study female impersonation which was a characteristic of all Marathi theatre of this period. The research will lead to the writing of a monograph, translations of two Farces, and the creation of an archive of documents on the subject.
For the publication of a book that documents the history of print advertising in the Bengali language, analysing its various forms and modes, and the media through which it was displayed and printed. The book will also catalogue commercial artists and their contribution to text and visual, and the impact of advertising on the material culture of Bengali households and patterns of consumption. In addition, a visual archive of over 3,000 documents will be made available on the Internet to trigger further research in the area.
For updating and digitising a database on performance spaces in Karnataka. The updated database will contain information on the location of each space, the nature of its stage and auditorium, its seating capacity, rental details, spatial dimensions, the types of other spaces attached to it, and equipment available. The database will be available to theatre groups, students of theatre and research scholars on a CD and will eventually be uploaded onto a website.
For the production of a film on family photo-albums. The film will explore different elements of personal relationships to photo-albums by looking at how photographs can make for identification and a sense of continuity with the past, how they preserve memories, how albums are constructed based on an idealised notion of family, and how family albums can move from having purely personal to historical and archival relevance.
For research into the Bharuds––allegorical verses from the mid fifteenth century attributed to Sant Eknath. Compiled by the followers of the Bhakti saint, Bharuds exist in Maharashtra as written texts, apart from being recited as poems, sung as bhajans and kirtans, and dramatised during the pilgrimage of vari and other religious occasions. Combining ethnographic study of the vari with the social histories of the performers, the research will engage with the makings of this marginalised cultural tradition and examine the differences between its oral, written and performative forms.
For post-production work on a film titled, In Search of Umrao, exploring the social and cultural history of the tawaifs of North India. The film focuses on the arts forms associated with them and the relationship between aesthetic expression and sexual identity. Through the story of a lost thumri sung by Rasoolan Bai, whose career as a performer overlapped with significant transitions in both the practice of music and public female sexualities, the film will examine the major shifts in the tradition’s history.
For research towards the writing of a novelised history of Tiruchenkode in Namakkal district, Tamil Nadu. A town with an ancient history, Tiruchenkode is today marked by its hill temple dedicated to Murugan and Ardhanareeswara but is also known for its vibrant modern industry. In the course of writing a historical account of Tiruchenkode, the author will document references to the town in literature, folklore and mythology, analyse the town’s design and study its ritual and religious life.