An attempt to revive a forgotten art community

Ever since he changed his surname from Sindhe to Surabhi, he has been known as Surabhi Ramesh. Ramesh hails from Saurabh Colony in Serilingampally.

By Author  |  Published: 17th Nov 2019  12:38 amUpdated: 16th Nov 2019  11:37 pm

Think ‘Surabhi family’ and immediately images of beautiful mythological stories, elaborate scenes, captivating dialogue delivery, thrilling graphics onstage and a lasting mesmerising effect on the viewers come to mind.

But, when it comes to Dr Sindhe Ramesh, he happens to be the first person from the Surabhi family who chose a different path. Having completed his PhD in theatre arts, he’s the only person to represent India in International Federation of Theatre Research held at Shanghai Theatre Academy in Shanghai. Not just that – Ramesh is a talented RJ, too, and works in Rainbow FM. He is planning to launch three books which are related to Surabhi.

Ever since he changed his surname from Sindhe to Surabhi, he has been known as Surabhi Ramesh. Ramesh hails from Saurabh Colony in Serilingampally. Ramesh shares his experience from his Master’s days from Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University. “My father didn’t allow me to get into arts. When I was in class V, he stopped me from acting and asked me to focus on my career. I had noticed that there was no proper information about Surabhi art which got me interested to work on it and do my Master’s and later PhD,” shares Ramesh.

Surabhi has 134 years of history, with strong roots from Maharastra. It started in a village called ‘Sorugu’ which later turned into Surabhi. Hundreds of families used to live on this art, and they used to travel from one place to another to present skits. But now, you can only find five groups which are in Nampally, Vanasthalipuram, Narkatpally, Nalgonda and Warangal.

There are 40 to 50 members in each group who perform onstage and carry on the mantle of this art form. People who are interested to know our mythology can step into the place and enjoy the skit. Presenting a play is not that easy; those who act in the skit wear their own makeup and perform. They prepare the stage themselves for the performance. They have great team coordination which helps them present a skit successfully. Surabhi has actors in the age group ranging from 5 years to 60 years in their family, who dedicated their life to acting, shares Ramesh.

Mayabazar is the most successful skit which is still being performed by the five groups. However, as there is no proper promotion, the groups and actors lag behind. Ramesh is trying to revive this art with advance features and techniques, and wants to showcase it internationally.

“I have done lots of research on it. Surabhi people need more promotions. We have very few people who know the art of performing in a mythological play, and it’s only these five groups which are still striving to preserve and carry forward this art form despite all the odds they face. I want to preserve the art and pass it on to the next generation,” shares Ramesh who has already written three books – Surabhi Mayabazar Play – Performance – A Case Study, Technical Aspects and Experiments in Surabhi Theatre and Impact of Women on the Evolution of Durango Theatre.

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