What started as an idea in the autumn of 2009, is now what people recognise as Echo India. Aimed at tapping and promoting new talent and focusing on various artistic endeavors, Echo India, a city-based theatre group, commits itself towards making a contribution towards the society, be it about spreading a message, creating awareness or just providing pure entertainment.
Baap of performing arts
Echo India, brainchild of Aamir Tameem was made for the love of the theatrical art form. “We dance for laughter, act for tears, perform for madness, recreate for screams. We are performers and we create dreams,” expresses Aamir. He goes on to explain that the group has been venturing into new ways of entertainment and finding new dimensions for their plays. “We are the type who believe in experimenting not just with the subject, but also with the whole setting of theatre.”
Illustrating an example, he says, “In one of our plays, Rang Rasiya, we portrayed a blend of two very distinct art forms, painting and dancing. We had dancers performing on the stage, displaying varied emotions and parallel to it were artists from across the country, who were re-creating all of it on their canvas.”
On board with the founder are four more theatre enthusiasts and core initiative allies, including Sanjay MJ, a choreographer, Kamal Kiran a photographer and a dancer, Meenal Thula, production designer for Echo and Pritha Chakrabarti a Bharatnatyam dancer.
Echo-ing in Hyderabad
The shows on Echo India’s portfolio include Elahe- a fundraiser rock show, Antaragini - a multi-field talent hunt, Alpaviram - an amalgamation of theatre, music and dance, Jahanaara, Rakhs-e-Mosiqi, Rang Rasiya and Husnbazaar: Manto ki Auratien- a theatrical adaptation of short stories by Urdu writer Sadaad Hasan Manto.
Explaining more, Kamal Kiran says, “Emoting feelings into people and touching their heats is our main value proposition. Our plays are not restricted to one subject and we are a group who cater to a completely different sect of audience.For instance the play, Jahaanara, manifested through the five elements of nature, was based on the life of a Muslim girl who is a Bharatnatyam aspirant.”
Echo India feels that the kind of attention theatre gets in Hyderabad is much lesser than what the Nawabi city could boast of. “The city’s theatre following is not like what one refers to, when they talk about Prithvi theatre or the scene at Rangashankara in Bangalore. We want to reach their standard yet at the same time, we don’t want to be over-ambitious,” says Kamal.
Another Echo Indian and a choreographer, Sanjay MJ explains the technical diffuclties. “Making a living on theatre is very difficult. All of us are part-time theatre artists and we practice late nights at our studio or at Osmania University. Doing one new event every month is tough. So, we do one big-scale event quarterly.”
What’s Next? Rahmania!
Music maestro AR Rahman has apparently come on board to compose music for an upcoming play, Shakuntala, a dance ballet. The group is also working on an anthem for Hyderabad, which will consist of a music video on young achievers in the city.
Also on the cards is a play on Micheal Jackson’s life, Aayo Re Malhaar, the plight of a blind singer striving to make it, for which online music sensation Shankar Tucker will compose the score, and Raja Raja Chola, the story of the great south Indian king.