Written and Directed by Abhishek Majumdar
Music composed by Pallavi MD
Properties: Rajesh Singh
Costumes: Shivani Chander
Performed by Jana Natya Manch
Premiered on August 1st 2018, Dehli
Maxim Gorky's 'Mother' adapted to the stage by Brecht adapted to the Indian context and presented as a musical by Prasanna.
Script and Direction: Prasanna
Music: Pallavi MD
Set Design: Shashidhar Adapa
Produced by Gram Seva Sangh
Shashi V Gowda
Live percussion by Agni Art for All
The context, in which this production of the play Taayavva is placed, is civilizational. People need a historical course correction, of the civilization itself to survive. People have become completely civilized, completely soft, and completely of the mind. We have rejected, nature, hard labour and the experiential, almost completely. This has caused immense pain to the hard labouring people, the natural people, to the animal life, and to nature itself.
But it is not only they who are suffering because of us; we are also suffering because of us. We, the rich, the powerful, and the intelligent are suffering as much deprivation as poor and marginalized. Our cities, our life and the future of our children, are getting wasted. This waste is not just a pollutant. It is a civilizational waste. And it has accumulated all around us. Yet! We fool ourselves that technology can save us, God can save us. We have wasted technology, we have wasted god.
This is the context in which we are producing the play Taayavva. Taayavva tries to deconstruct the modern system in her own way. It is a system that divides everything. Taayavva tries to reconcile the opposites and thus deconstruct. She tells the haves to deconstruct themselves, while constructing a better life for the have nots. The haves needs to adopt a harder life she tells, a simpler life. While Gram Seva Sangh was struggling to construct these ideas, a new form of sales tax called GST was imposed on handmade products in India. Indian economy, that had already been beaten up took a further beating. Gram Seva Sangh moved in and raised its voice. Taayavva is an offshoot of that struggle.
So it is natural that Taayavva creates a consensus among the contending forces. Taayavva means the mother. We all know, its the mother in any family who sustains consensus. This play is inspired by Maxim Gorkys famous novel Mother. It is also inspired by Bertolt Brechts famous play of the same name. But, Taayavva had to be a new play. For it was written for a new context.
To begin with, Taayavva is a widow and is selfish. She is not selfish in a personal sense; she is selfish in a sense. It is a sense of protecting a progeny. Her son becomes an activist, in the cause of the handmade. She tries to protect him. He dies. The police kill him. The mother becomes an activist. In this sense, she is doing exactly what the Mother Nature is doing these days. Taayavva is both, a metaphor and a meaning.
The play is a musical, and a celebration. You may ask, what is there to celebrate in such dark times?, Bertolt Brecht the famous German playwright had asked this question in one of his poems. Taayavva celebrates the joy of deconstruction, deconstruction as opposed to destruction. She deconstructs even God. God, for her, is a labouring and hard working metaphor. The play is in a language that is difficult to translate. It is in Kannada, a language that is emotional and experiential. It is their mother tongue. A tongue that is being silenced. They are sure you will be able to understand and enjoy, the sound of the dying music, even if you do not understand the meaning of it's moaning.
A musical conversation between MD Pallavi and Bindhumalini Narayanswamy
Pallavi and Bindhumalini explore the theme of gender as they make a journey from birth to liberation; from form to the formless with through the words and the eyes of women across the world.
Premiered at Under the Raintree festival, Bangalore.
This play is set in the 8th century, in a Matha in a fictional town called Beerpur. It is the time when the Pala kings were ruling the east and large parts of northern India. These kings were Buddhist; Buddhism was at its peak and on the verge of declining. There had been mass conversions to Buddhism.The story revolves around this Hindu temple town which is surrounded by Buddhists. The protagonist is a man called ‘Agnivesh’, a scholar in the Matha.The head of the Matha, ‘Nath Nand’ is soon to retire to the Muktidham to die and achieve salvation. Nath Nand, who has always separated religion from politics, is faced with a choice. Which of his students shall be his successor?Will it be Yuyutsu, who believes in opening up the doors of the temple for the lower castes?Or Agnivesh, who believes in raising an armed resistance to Buddhism?
The play premiered on 27th January’2017 at Ranga Shankara , Bangalore, followed by performances in Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai, Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival, Pune, Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, Safdar Studio, Dehli, Windermere Theatre Festival, Bareilly and a performance tour across Uttar Pradesh.
Cast and Credits:
Ajeet Singh Palawat Ashwini Kumar Chakre, Ipshita Palawat, Irawati Karnik, Kumud Mishra, M.D. Pallavi, Neel Sengupta, Pratyush Singh, Sandeep Shikhar and Shubhrajyoti Barat.
Written & Directed by: Abhishek Majumdar
Scenography: Mohit Takalkar
Research : Vandana Menon
Live Music and Sound Design: Abhijeet Tambe & Pallavi MD
Movement Director: Anannya Tripathyi
Asst. Directors: Karen D’mello & Chanakya Vyas
Associate Director: Neel Sengupta
Production Assistants: Shashank M.C & Anirudh
Project Manager: Vivek Madan
Stage Manager: Bharavi
PLAYGROUNDS - Short film/ Fiction
It's a game of survival, in a concrete arena. And the rules are not black or white - its grey, like cement. During a game of hide ‘n’ seek, 3-year-old Murli hides in an auto rickshaw and falls asleep. He wakes up in a different neighbourhood with an angry man shouting at him. But Murli can’t understand him and just wants his mother. The angry man grudgingly sets out to take him back home.
Written and Directed by Pallavi MD and Shamik Sen Gupta
Cinematography by Jigmet Wangchuk
Colour by Naveen Shetty
Gold, IFVA Festival, Hong Kong
Gold, IFFLA, Los Angeles
21st IFVA Awards, Hong Kong Arts Center, 2016
13th Asian 3rd Eye Film Festival, Mumbai, 2015
MIFF Prism, Mumbai International Film Festival, 2016
Kameleon International Film Festival, Pondicherry, 2016
Goldensun Short Film Festival, Malta, 2015
Bangalore International Short Film Festival, 2015
Pune International Short Film Festival, 2015
C sharp C Blunt
Devised solo performance
Performer MD Pallavi
Director Sophia Stepf
Text collaborators Swar Thounaojam, Irawati Karnik
Assistant Director Rituparna Bhattacharya
Live Sound Nikhil Nagaraj
Light Design Muhammad Mustafa A & Niranjan Gokhale
Production Management: Veena Appiah
Photography and Design: Shamik Sen Gupta, Mike Wilfling, Amit Bansal, Arjun
Current production partners: Sandbox Entertainment
This Indo-German collaboration explores the realms of digital dramaturgy, repetition and user choices to create a new hybrid form of theatre-meets-performance art.
"Since the female body will continue to be saleable for as long as we live in a society governed by male heterosexual norms, a play such as C Sharp C Blunt can be assured of eternal relevance. (...) “Kudos” is what I would have told the director Sophia Stepf if it hadn’t been on my personal list of ugly-sounding words. She has extracted a sparkling performance from Pallavi: a sweeping range of modulation in voice, impeccable timing so crucial for humour, and finely calibrated movements and moods. Anger peaks but doesn’t get out of hand; seriousness momentarily tips over into lightness or sarcasm and returns."
„We are cyborgs of a sort: our perceptions and constructs are derived from a social reality. Is this some sort of hidden curriculum? Are we programmed to think and act the way we do towards women – an objectified entity that belongs in the kitchen, and is typically understood within the realms of the male gaze? Just as you begin to ponder the answers to these questions, questions that will inevitably play on loop as Pallavi effortlessly drags you further and further into her portrayals, you realize your only escape is a bloodcurdling scream. A scream that shatters, and changes the way you think.“
(Explocity, april 2013)
Sophia and the team that has developed with her the script have done more than just being unique with this devised and improvised production. The play is a complex of the question of female agency over body and artistic expression as also the context of patriarchy which, against the background of the public outrage over rape and molestation of women in the country, creates just the right tension for the performance. And Pallavi brings off a tour de force, using all her virtuosity in singing and acting, mixed with an alive and active conscience grappling with the gender question, the public space without and the private one within. She beckons with her microphone held out, inviting us to speak, encouraging us to spill out our prejudices (speaking, of course, for men) and daring us to stare.“
(Bangalore Mirror, 21.4.13)
BOY WITH A SUITCASE
A joint production by Rangashankara, Bangalore and Schnawwl, Mannheim, Germany
Written by Mike Kenny
Directed by Andrea Gronemeyyer
Dramaturgy by Sophia Stepf and Kirtana Kumar
Music by Cordte Like, Konarak Reddy and Pallavi MD
Costumes by Eva Roos and Amba Sanyal
Set design by Christian Thurm
Set execution in India: Shridhar Murthy
David Benito Garcia, B.V. Shrunga, Nikolai Jegorow, Coordt Linke, M.D. Pallavi, Simone Oswald, and Konarak Reddy
Musical Collaboration with Andi Otto
Andi Otto is a composer and performer of electronic music from Hamburg. Pallavi and Andi have collaborated on musical albums (Bangalore Whispers, Via, Sowers and Reapers) and have performed in India, Germany and Japan with their duo presentation that is an audio visual performance of gesture music.
Bookshelves at 17000 feet
A documentary film about Ladakh's remote village schools, the children studying there and an NGO, 17000 ftFoundation, that's building libraries in these schools.
Sweet Spot Media started collaborating with 17000 ft Foundation in November, 2012. We travelled with 17000 ft through five remote villages in Ladakh. In Tukla, Puga, Hanle, Mudh and Skidmang - all scattered over distant stretches of Nyoma block and documented the setting up of libraries for the season.
Produced by Sweet Spot Media in association with 17000 Ft Foundation
Cinematography, Script: Shamik Sen Gupta
Edit, Voice Over: Pallavi MD
Sound: Pramath Kiran
Colour: Avishek Ghosh
A contemporary music band that explores classical Kannada poetry from Akkamahadevi to Chandrashekar Kambar.
A musical collaboration with Quartett Plus 1 on a tribute concert to Michael Jackson
This string quartet develops unprecedented perspectives, never seen before, on the music of one of the greatest pop stars of all time. Quartett PLUS 1 plays the expanded six movements of the "American Jesus Suite" (music score by Stefan Wurz) live, in the middle of an interactive installation consisting of video vocals. The staging creates a new form of pop-cultural chamber music full of hook lines and deceptions.
Video Shot and directed by Sophia Stepf and Konradin Kuntz
Direction: Girish Kasaravalli
Based on a short story by Vaidehee
The film premiered at the Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema in New Delhi on 14 July 2008
The film is set in the late 1990s among the fishing communities around Kundapura, in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka. The impulsive midwife Gulabi (Umashree) is the protagonist, whose one passion is the cinema. She leads a lonely life in an island inhabited by fisher folk. Her husband Musa (K.G. Krishna Murthy), a small-time fish-selling agent, has deserted her and is living happily with his second wife Kunjipathu and their child Adda.
A family gifts her a television with a satellite dish antenna in gratitude after she attends to a difficult delivery (for which they even had to bodily remove her from a movie theatre). The arrival of the first color TV in her small island village heralds great changes in the sleepy hamlet. The women in the village begin gathering at her house once the men leave for fishing. However, a few of them stay away, since Gulabi is one of the few Muslims in the village. Yet others prefer to watch from outside her shack, without entering it.
Among the regulars at her home is Netru (M.D. Pallavi), a girl with an absentee husband and a domineering mother-in-law, whom Gulabi befriends and becomes a confidante to. But Netru disappears and Gulabi is blamed, leaving her all alone in the village.
The Kargil war of 1999 and the rise of communalism in Karnataka provide the backdrop to the film. The communal stereotyping of Muslims following the Kargil War finds an echo in the village. The tension between the small fishermen of the village and a Muslim businessman (who is actually never shown throughout the film) with a growing fleet of commercial trawlers acquires a communal color.
The disappearance of Netru adds to the mounting tensions. The Muslims in the village flee and urge Gulabi to leave too, but she refuses and stays put in the village. Her house is vandalized and she is forcibly taken to a boat to leave the island. The young men from outside who spearhead the attack assure the villagers that Gulabi's television would remain in her house.
The film ends with a scene in which two illiterate elderly women, who had hitherto refused to enter Gulabi's house, going in there to watch TV (which they do not know how to switch on - they are probably unaware even that it has to be switched on)
Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, 2008 - Best Film and Best Actress (Umashree)
Karnataka State Film Awards, 2007-08 - Best Film, Best Screenplay (Girish Kasaravalli) and Best Actress (Umashree)
57th National Film Awards - Best Actress (Umashree) and Best Feature film in Kannada
Directed by Prakash Belawadi
Stumble depicts the new economy, the dot-com bust, stock market scams, mutual funds, and voluntary retirement.
"Madhu, in Bangalore and her brother Uday, in America get laid off simultaneously and ponder their next career move. Their careers collide in a dizzying maelstrom of political corruption, business fraud and failed familial expectations. This film glimpses the complex ramifications of the rise and `stumble' of the IT industry in Bangalore. It reveals the insidious nexus of state politics with global capital and traces the seemingly disparate relationship that the software industry has upon mutual fund schemes. Stumble teases out the inter-dependence of the co-operative bank sector and the liberalized economy. Consequently, the film explores the clandestine ways in which the most vulnerable sections of society - in this case, rural farmers - nourish the richest and most powerful people in the world. A failing software concern reinvents itself as a call center - where again third world labor, in borrowed accents, services the first world consumer. Prakash Belawadi, the director, weaves these details into his narrative through an ironic critique. Belawadi clearly reveals the saturation of transnational capital, commodities, images, ideas, information and people in his (and my) beloved Bangalore. This unique moment in the city's life captures the exuberance of a newly emergent middle class. But while many things have changed, many others stay the same. Madhu does not travel to the U.S. with the same ease as her brother. The color of her skin darkens her marriage prospects. The mere presence of a white man bolsters the confidence and diminishing morale of local bank officials. Stumble finishes the story that Bugaboo (1999) started a few years ago. Set in Silicon Valley, Bugaboo chronicles the boom of the dotcom era, seen through the eyes of a skeptical Indian software engineer. What happens when that software engineer gets laid off and scrambles B2B (back to Bangalore) after his American dream failed to deliver? While Belawadi responds to that question, he also poses several others. The film is eminently watchable, especially for the performances of Ashok Mandanna, Anant Nag and Suhasini. While it falters in technique and script, the spirit of the film does not stumble."
Premiere at Mumbai International Film Festival
Award: Indian National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English in 2003
IMDB link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369996/
A devised Kannada play
Directed by Pallavi MD
Performed by students of Abhinaya Taranga
Set and Properties by Swetha Dattatreya
Design: Arun Murthy
‘Mass films’ is a unique terminology that is used only in India. It suggests the opposite of
‘class films’ (another terminology that is used to describe films that require the audiences
to use their brains and think after having seen the film). Mass films are supposed to be
high on entertainment and low on intelligence.These films employ hyper sexual,
hyper violent and hyper-sentimental storylines and are the kind of films that have
been making money at the box office.
Matinee Horror is an inquiry into the aesthetics of ‘mass’ Kannada films.