Alliance Française de Bangalore to reopen on January 2


The first event is a stage production of renowned playwright Safdar Hashmi’s works

Alliance Française de Bangalore (AFB) will reopen on January 2 beginning with Theatre For Change’s stage production of renowned playwright Safdar Hashmi’s works. The cultural centre has announced a discount in the rent for its auditorium for cultural events.

“Earlier, there was a flat rate for the auditorium. I, along with our Executive Committee members, have now decided on a discount for the cultural activities, namely classical dance, classical music, theatre, and literary activities,” said AFB president Zafer Mohiuddin.

According to the revised service charges, AFB will charge ₹5,900 to ₹14,160 (depending on the time) for the aforementioned cultural events on weekdays. The weekend rent ranges from ₹11,800 to ₹23,600.

For corporate events, the weekday charges are from ₹11,800 to ₹23,600, and the weekend charges from ₹17,700 to ₹35,400.

These rates, inclusive of GST, will be valid till March 31. The different spaces within AFB premises will function with 50% occupancy, said Mohiuddin.

Safdar Hashmi’s works

On New Year’s Day in 1989, the theatre group Jana Natya Manch (also known as Janam) was attacked while performing a street play on the outskirts of Delhi. The play, Halla Bol, supported workers’ demands led by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions. The theatre group’s founder, Safdar Hashmi, 34, succumbed to injuries the following day.

Hashmi, however, became an icon and inspiration for many theatre artists. Which is why Theatre For Change (TFC), a Bengaluru-based group, wanted to begin a new year with his works.

“Hashmi’s relentless effort for the working class and peasantry was an important part of his life. It resonates well with the current migrant labour crisis and other injustices in the country,” says Sujatha Balakrishnan, the group’s founder.

On January 2, TFC will revisit three works of Hashmi: Machine, a play on capitalism, which he co-wrote with Rakesh Saxena; Duniya Sabki, a narrative poem for children involving a conversation between Akbar and Birbal; and Aurat, a play about violence against women.

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Machine, Sujatha says, will be staged as a play. “The play is a metaphor for capitalism. The script lends itself to a dramatic choreography. The actors, individually and collectively, move like the parts of a machine.”

Duniya Sabki will be a dramatic reading. “Social justice and welfare are big words for children who are about 10. But they must know them. Hashmi’s poems [in Duniya Sabki] are so rhythmic and colourful that children are introduced to these concepts in a fun way. They don’t sound like moral science lessons.”

Aurat will be short. We are just planning to read an excerpt,” she adds.

Hashmi’s works will be the first theatrical production to be staged at the Alliance Française de Bangalore after the pandemic. Time: 6 p.m.

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Sagar Biswas

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