The Hungry Hearts Festival

Ok, so we tend to get a little patronizing about our own family members, especially when that person happens to be your younger sister. You kind of tend to pat them on their back and treat them like a child and then look back at your life and realize how utterly stupid that attitude was. It was a typical attitude of a Punjabi elder brother completely confused about his responsibilities towards her.
So now my younger sister Sohaila is doing things that make me sit up and take notice. Things in my own field. Things that are quite awesome. She has started the Hungry Hearts Festival in Delhi. They need support and I will let Sohaila’s own words take over. I am supporting them and if there is anyone else out there that would like to do so in any way , please write to Sohaila who has sent the following message :
Greetings.
I write on behalf of Hungry Heart Festival which is a society dedicated to bringing sensitive issues touching our lives, in the form of theatre and other performing arts in its various forms, to the Delhi audience.


The first casualty during an economic downturn is art and culture. It isn’t any different in the recent recession. But lovers of culture cannot sit back and wait for it to tide over; sitting back may spell a harsh downturn for the fledgling entertainment scene in the capital that had taken wings only recently.
The Hungry Heart Festival has prepared two new plays, musicals that will help one relax and be entertained in these trying times. The musicals are dedicated to the resilient spirit of Mumbai, the mecca of unabashed entertainment and Bollywood, the mean machine that achieves those ends, even in the most stressful of times!
`Mahim Junction’ is an entertaining mix of nostalgia and cinema. It is a Bollywood film of the 70s unraveling on stage. A time when heroes wore their hearts on their sleeves and the villains paved the streets of Mumbai with gold. A time to dream, and the time at hand, to chase those dreams.
‘Rubaru, Rk in Russia’ unveils the unraveling of the actors and what unfolds in the ensuing days as they are mysteriously stranded in the Gobi Desert, as the actors roll out and roll up the performing carpets every day, rehearsing for the impending show, even as they wait and wait for help to arrive….. . Caught in the mirage of an endless wait, the material world around them in the form of their costumes, make up props acquire new proportions of meanings. Will they realize, albeit too late, there is only one ultimate supreme Truth, Love
We have been fortunate to receive part funding from an esteemed government body. But more is less when one is ambitious about big quality musicals. ‘Mahim Junction’ by Sohaila Kapur, is scheduled for the 18th and 19th of April at the Epicentre, Gurgaon and 1st of May at the India Islamic Centre. ‘Rubaru, RK in Russia’ by Smita Bharti, will be premiered on the 9th of May at the India Islamic and on the 16th and 17th at the Epicentre.
We invite you to partner with us in our Brochure, for six shows, in our attempt at raising the spirits of Delhi-ites in these hard times, by helping these stomp-happy musical extravaganzas become a reality, with your support.
With this support, you will be ‘presenting the show’.
We will also be partnering with Helpage to pass on a percentage of our receipts to them.
With Warm Regards,
Sohaila, Monica , Smita
9811024042
Hungry Heart Festival, a registered society, co founded by Monica Bhasin, Sohaila Kapur and Smita Bharti, is a New Delhi based initiative that promotes theatre, filmmaking and the visual arts, empowering creative professionals to turn their visions into realities.
Press Reviews In The U.K.  
(in its previous incarnation as `Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’) ? 
If you are about to purchase a ticket for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest assault on culture, `Bombay Dreams’, then please don’t: the real action is in Edinburgh this August. Fringe shows do not come bigger than Sohaila Kapur’s Yeh Hai Mumbai… 
—Paul Dale- The List (Glasgow & Edinburgh Events Guide) ? ? 
What Kapur and Sanjoy Roy have achieved is an engagingly vivid evocation of how life in India connects with Bollywood Films in more ways than just watching on screen escapist romance & adventure… the sheer energy of the musical numbers and its unexpected edge of political home truths might well surprise and delight you. 
—–Mary Brennan – The Herald ? 
The Traverse is the venue for the show that won this year’s Herald Devil awarded for embracing the spirit of the Fringe ……it went to ….a celebration of Bollywood, Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’… 
—–Keith Bruce – The Herald ? 
All the passion and cheesy plot devices of classic Bollywood musical cinema has come to the Traverse in a production that sings, dances and even has a political edge….at every turn of the plot, the cast breaks out into song. Big allegorical numbers that turn the city’s dusty streets into paths by rivers of gold. 
—–Thom Dibdin – Edinburgh Evening News ? 
The bald headed energy with which `Yeh Hai Mumbai….’ tackles this key subject of corruption in Indian politics, its links with the huge cash machine that is Bollywood and its connection with the deliberate incitement of tensions between the Hindu and Muslim Communities, that make the show well worth seeing.
                            
—–Joyce McMillan – The Scotsman 
Press Reviews in India (only one show has been held so far, on Dec 5, 2009):
Mahim Junction…. first opened at the Edinburgh Fringe festival 2002 as ‘Yeh Hai Mumbai’, to rave reviews…..
The lead actors do a fine job in endearing themselves to the audience. This is to the credit of their histrionics and the director’s instructions…….With a large cast of nearly 20 actors, the stage is always a flurry of movement helping to create a Bombay platform.
The play adopts a voice for today’s time, by urging civil action and political reawakening.
-The Hindu, New Delhi
….Tweaked into contemporary Hinglish from its original English script, the retro fiesta ushers into matters like the politician-gangster nexus, corruption, socialism, trade unionism, communalism, mothers HYPERLINK “http://www.newkerala.com/” \t “undefined” trading their actor-daughters to the producers for money and HYPERLINK “http://www.newkerala.com/” \t “undefined” love and lust through a traditional epic style.??It also focuses on current issues like bomb blasts, terrorism, gay culture and an NRIs’ perception of and disappointment with India.??Supporting the feel of it at the backdrop are Bollywood playback oldies like “Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan”, “Aayie Meherbaan”, and “Taarif Karun Kya Uski:….”
IANS, New Delhi

11 Responses to “The Hungry Hearts Festival”

  1. austere says:

    Congratulations.
    This is pretty impressive, what you’re doing.

  2. AJ says:

    Om Namah Shivah

  3. Prerna says:

    Finally shekhar-
    guilt in your old age?

  4. shekhar says:

    who knows Prerna, I would like to believe that a constant re-evaluation of your life leads to wisdom, but then what I wrote is just an interpretation of what really happened
    shekhar

  5. Harb says:

    These are simply not the times to ask people for monetary help. It amounts to almost emotional exploitation. It is like raising the spirits of one people in these hard times by lowering the spirit of others.
    Arts may flourish in good times but do not die in bad rather get refined/reinvented.
    Sometimes it may even be necessary to let people suffer and introspect and learn their lessons than distract their dhyana from it in the name of worst of all entertainment extravaganza!

  6. harijim says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    Its good to realise in retrospect and repent the attitude that was and start supporting our own family members than patronising them.
    In fact that doesn’t just go for our own family members but extends thru state and nation to the whole humanity which ultimately is also a family and is also evolving every minute.
    *
    Just reading Buddha by Deepak Chopra.One thing that immediatly comes to mind is to have Rodrigo Prieto(Alexander) for Cinematography.
    Regards,
    harijim

  7. austere says:

    For word of mouth I guess these have been reached out to- creativegarh, Delhi bloggers group, the twitter feed?
    The only constant is change.

  8. harijim says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    Recession might be the best time to complete a few scripts in the next 2-3 years to go talent-gathering when money is around or even signing them when the price tags are down.
    *
    Then I also think that ultimately only those films will be successful whose time has come.Films which are not simply entertainment but real evolution-furthering-stuff(broadest spectrum).Such films are not made but assembled I believe.They have no single person’s stamp on them but the whole team’s but obviously the one who has already earned his name gets the biggest credit .Making an issue-based film is one thing but making a successful issue-based film another and thats what counts.
    Prehaps for that focusing on each project and following what money dictates at times where we can yield and keeping count of such compromises to put our feet down where we cannot yield is probably the best way forward.
    Ofcourse money is important.Not for nothing is it called ‘Lakshmi’ the goddess, blessing the right concerns and endeavours.The other chasing wrong ones is ‘Mara’ or ‘maya’ which one needs to refrain from for it never yields sustainable repercussionless success.
    In these globally trying times films could be about the resilience of the collective and indivdual soul in the face of adversity and hard-weather.
    Given the number of theaters in the world a true film will not only be appreciated but would rather be required in these times.
    The economy of scale is ever more important now.
    *
    Sincerely, not exactly for this festival but I could bring ‘myself’ forth for any project you are interested in personally.Ofcourse we all need to make our ends meet but not on charity.Infact by actually producing things people feel compelled to buy even now and then keeping some of the returns to support festivals like ‘The Hungry Hearts’.
    Regards,
    harijim

  9. harijim says:

    ‘myself’ is only what I really have except that rare luck I had last year(which helped me weather many dark clouds that had gathered over me of being inept).I also have a self-earned relatively secure govt. job and salary which I’ll have to forego even if by a sabbatical given the times.And I do have a responsibility to bring up a family decently.
    I mean if real stories count.
    So in a way I’m also sorry I couldn’t help.

  10. Harb says:

    Not to worry too much Shekhar, there is a time to patronise and there is a time to set free, there is a time to support and there is a time to even restrain. Within all these a man grows and grows finally outgrowing at some point of time even all relations. Only the completely unalloyed soul can merge indistinguishably with All Soul the final destiny of all.
    Even the interpretation thing is fully understood.

  11. thunder says:

    Art is always good, but positioning this as ‘a means to uplift Delhi-ites in times of recession’ and therefore a legit channel to donate to, sounds rather pseudo and insincere to me.
    The people who will be watching these shows will tend to be high-brow pseudo intellectuals, as opposed to some really badly-off folk.
    My point is, make such stuff, and ask for funding, but don’t cloak it as social service to Delhi-ites

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