With a history of 58 years, Ravindra Bharathi still stands tall amongst all the cultural spaces in the city. Designed by Fayazuddin, an alumnus of Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, the cultural space was built in tribute to Rabindranath Tagore on his centenary celebration in 1961, and was unveiled by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on May 11, 1961.
Since then, the stage is considered as one of the prestigious cultural platforms across India. Ravindra Bharathi, which was only known for classical music, dance and drama, today witnesses a multitude of cultural activities. The Department of Language and Culture Director Mamidi Harikrishna says, “Since the formation of Telangana, the stage has spread its feathers to all kinds of arts and became a dream destination for all artists.” Performing here is considered as a life-time achievement.
Ravindra Bharathi, which earlier attracted only the retired, renowned and elite people, now welcomes a crowd of all age groups. It also refurbished the space (behind the auditorium) that was left unused for five decades, and conducts open-air workshops of martial arts that represent the culture, and hence named it as ‘Rangasthalam’. Even ‘Ghantasala Pranganam’ at the entrance is developed as open-air stage which encourages artistes to make use of the space.
Encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts, the most popular cultural space, Ravindra Bharathi, focuses on every element that is related to culture. “As books play a prominent role in documenting culture, we decided to dedicate some space for literature also (Akshara) where writers release their books, poets recite poems and book lovers have regular literary discussions. It also interests and motivates many writers to release their books when it is for free,” says Harikrishna.
Apart from staging performances, the Department also motivates youngsters in filmmaking. For the promotion of cinema art and film education, this prestigious cultural venue gave space for young filmmakers and opened a preview theatre ‘Paidi Jairaj Preview Theatre’ for them where they can screen the film, and hold an interaction session. The director of the Department took it up as a challenge as he aims to give at least 15 young film directors to the film industry. “The concept of film education is helpful for aspiring filmmakers. Here, the movies are previewed and after the preview and a discussion takes place, where audience can express their doubts and seek clarifications,” says Yennengee who regularly visits ‘Paidi Jairaj Preview Theatre, and is currently working on his upcoming movie Hrudayanjali.
ICCR Art gallery
Within the premises of the auditorium, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations established art gallery where artists exhibit their paintings and photographs. “After the inauguration of the art gallery, almost 120 people debuted with their shows here. This space encourages artists and photographers to exhibit their art and is easily blocked for at least 10 days in a month,” concludes Mamidi Harikrishna.
Representing the culture of Telangana in all forms, the director of language and culture is also introducing Telangana food, where one can try 76 authentic Telangana recipes, and all in vegetarian.