When theatre artiste Krishnakumar Balasubramanian’s Kikass Entertainment and vocalist Vedanth Bharadwaj came together recently in support of ballet dancer Kokila Hariram and her students, little did they know they would get an overwhelming response from the city’s performing arts lovers. Neither did Siddharth Hande, whose Supportive Cities Chennai provided the platform for the artistes to perform.
The Supportive Cities Chennai initiative, which was launched just a couple of months ago, is a crowd-funding platform for people to come together and provide for a worthy cause. On Saturday, it was to raise funds for Kokila Hariram’s students who needed money to sit for their ballet exams at Spaces, Besant Nagar.
“I would say Supportive Cities Chennai is an alternative narrative about the voices of people who call Chennai their home,” says Siddharth, founder of Supportive Cities Chennai. “There are so many people doing a lot of different things in the city. If we can bring them together and open up a platform for discussion, we would be able to unpack a lot of stories that would otherwise stay untold,” he adds.
There are two angles to Supportive Cities Chennai — crowd-funding and people’s stories. Drawing from his own experience as a 12th grade student who didn’t know what to do with his life, Siddharth says that there just isn’t enough information out there. “I know a cinematographer who quit his IT job after a degree from IIT. If we bring his story out, we can tell other people, ‘He was able to do it, you can too. Here’s how.’ That’s one end of Supportive Cities Chennai we are exploring,” he says.
The geo-spatial analyst and a researcher in Urban Studies and New Media, who was also the founder of the Reclaim our Beaches initiative, hit upon the idea during one of his studies on Urbanism. “At the end of the day, we want to talk about the lives of people who make Chennai what it is and see how the city’s populace view them,” he adds.
Though they started off with the performing arts, Supportive Cities Chennai is also looking at other issues to raise funds for. “If someone comes up to me and says, I’m going to build toilets and I need money for it, we’ll provide a platform for him to pitch the idea to people. That’s it, really,” says Siddharth.
At the moment, you can volunteer both your time and money for Supportive Cities Chennai and their current cause — Kokila’s ballet students. For more details, you can check out their website www.supportivecities.com or email Siddharth at email@example.com