This country’s relationship with theatre has been much like a classic tale of love: a pot pourri of emotions, melodrama, humour and romance. It started way back as a purely narrative driven form and gradually moved on to our folk dances and music. Live entertainment gradually evolved from the real to the reel, the stage to the screen. But then there were those struggling to keep the spark alive with their grand visions of raw theatrical beauty.
One such promoter of the cause is Aadyam – a theatre initiative on a quest to initiate the uninitiated. A product of love and passion for the arts, this initiative is back for its fifth season with a commitment to grandeur and series of performances, unparalleled to anything seen before.
Since its inception in 2015, Aadyam has been breathing life into scripts, ideas and artistic visions. Plays with big production value and colourful backdrops have been synonymous with their productions. The last season saw both, the stage and the audience, come alive with these majestic sets, making theatre-going a sensory experience rather than just a show. This is also where the core idea of Aadyam is realized – giving producers a chance to experiment at this scale with minimal risk.
Speaking about what’s in store for this season, Artistic Director and theatre veteran Shernaz Patel says, “Aadyam Season 5 is full of great stories and sweeping sagas that traverse the globe. From the streets of Kabul to the back alleys of Lucknow, from the ghats of Benaras to the courtrooms of Washington DC, each of these stories will transport you into different and exciting worlds. And even though these worlds maybe unchartered, these plays will resonate with you. For the human beings who inhabit them are all dealing with universal human emotions… love and loss, joy and hope, honour and retribution. The play genres are also wonderfully varied with a mix of laughter and suspense, drama and music. Add to this Aadyam’s unrelenting pursuit of high standards in performance, storytelling, direction, design and production, these plays will definitely enrich your lives and entertain you.”
The joy of live entertainment in the 21st century
The fact that Aadyam is into its fifth season is testament to the fruitful revival of this love affair across India’s cultural centres. Brian Tellis, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Fountainhead MKTG says, “Entering our landmark 5th year of Aadyam theatre productions, we take a moment to pause, reflect upon, and celebrate this country’s rich theatrical heritage. Productions from the very first year of Aadyam – a theatre initiative that has always believed in large-scale productions – are still running strong today. This is testament to the fact that us theatregoers revel in the magic of this storytelling medium and crave for more years upon year. Feeding off this marvellous energy, we want to make this year even more special – with the launch of the Aadyam blog and our very own theatre club, we want to talk to our audience directly and together, grow this beautiful art form that we all love so much and engage with it in ever more enriching ways”. Looking forward to another season of Aadyam, he adds, “The productions themselves are oozing with talent of course and they will always comprise the core of Aadyam. Here’s to another year of magic.”
An institution committed to the cause
Aadyam’s contribution to the theatre space in recent years cannot be understated. A champion of the art form, it was the brainchild of the Aditya Birla Group’s Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, himself a patron of the fine arts. Aadyam is working towards becoming India’s gateway to artistic expression for meaningful experiences and capacity audiences.
Since its first season, Aadyam has seen adaptations and original screenplays under its banner. Some of these include Twelve Angry Jurors, Loretta, Ladies Sangeet, The Siddhus Of Upper Juhu, Guards At The Taj, and more. Over the years, it has featured prominent directors such as Rajat Kapoor, Nadir Khan, Sunil Shanbag, Mohit Takalkar, Purva Naresh, Rahul Da Cunha and more. All told, in its four years, Aadyam has been responsible for close to 200 performances over 131 days, featuring 21 quality, scaled productions and 232 actors. With over 1.4 lakh tickets sold, it’s clear that audiences are reciprocating.
Creative expression, which was finding itself stuck within the confines of artists’ minds, has now leapt forth into auditoriums and theatres with this initiative. Aadyam allows producers to see their artistic vision come to life, without having to worry about the logistics of it. It has processes and systems in place to take care of logistics, marketing, and selling tickets – leaving artists and creators to focus on the show itself! Their ideology is: If someone has a splendid concept for a play with a vision to execute it, Aadyam will support them.
Aadyam believes in giving theatre audiences a full experience: Including giving access to theatre makers in the form of workshops, meet & greets and curated ‘behind-the-scenes’ experiences. What’s more, it believes in transporting you to the world of the play from the very first step, by extending the world of the play to the foyer of the play venue.
A community of theatre enthusiasts
Aadyam itself is looking to expand and aims to create a community of theatre lovers across the country.
Aadyam certainly stands by the belief in building the space regardless of association – It promotes all theatre shows on its marketing channels, regardless of whether it has a direct association with the initiative or not.