HYDERABAD: A dream of three friends, AV Ramakrishna from Hyderabad, CS Manoj from Kerala and Capt Anand from Chennai, who made Hyderabad their home and love it the most. To show their love, the trio conceived Hydourite, a festival to inculcate the spirit of Hyderabad three years ago. The Hydourite festival is organised bythe Hydourite Foundation - a not-for-profit trust formed to promote a continuous interest towards art and culture in the current and future generation. “We got this idea while we were sitting and chitchatting in a cafe, savouring Irani chai. The idea was where does a common man go to watch a cultural programme, if he wants to see one. What if, he can’t go and buy tickets. Hence, we wanted some cultural activities, which can bond people and also give them an opportunity to go and watch without being paid for it,” says Ramakrishna, explaining the concept behind Hydourite.
Hydourite is to Hyderabad, what Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is to Mumbai; Bengaluru Habba - to Bengaluru; Sunburn, an electronic dance music festival to Goa; Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) to Jodhpur; and Konark Dance and Music Fest to Konark.
The third edition will kick off with a sneak preview of the festival on November 15, informs Capt Anand. “We will have a cultural centre and art hub in the city. The details of the same are being worked out,” he says.
Talking about the challenges, he says, “Major challenge was idea killers. Lot of people laughed. They ridiculed. They said, it won’t work. Then to convince partners and lastly, to convince performers to make them agree to perform and make them charge reasonably.”
“Our dream is to bring it on par with global calendar events such as La Tomatina Festival in Spain; Tomorrow land in Belgium; Glastonbury - Glastonbury, England; Carnival - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Wanderlust Yoga Festival - Oahu, Hawaii,” says Manoj.
So what is it about this festival that keeps them coming back? “Love for the city. In a society where values are deteriorating, cultural festivals like this make them bring close to their culture, which in turn make them feel good about it and the values it preaches,” says Ramakrishna.
Quiz him on the response to the art festival over the years and he says, “Nearly 30,000 people attended our 14 programmes spread over 100 days. This year we are expecting 50,000 people to witness our programmes. This year we are making an attempt to get a record in Limca Book of Records about India’s longest running performing arts festival,” he adds.
When asked about the most memorable moment from the previous festival, Capt Anand shares, “When some common people, rikshawallahs, autodrivers walked in to watch the programmes and confessed that they always saw such programmes from a distance. They never stepped into a star hotel. But Hydourite welcomed them. They were treated as guests. Another one that stood out was the Ability Unlimited performance which saw those who were physically challenged, sitting in wheel chairs and performing far better than normal human beings.”
To be held as part of the “Happening Hyderabad”, the initiative of Government of Telangana, the festival will also promote crafts like Bathukamma, Bonalu, Nirmal Handicrafts, Filigri, Pembarthi Metal Crafts. “Encouraging artisans to come and share their experiences, exhibit their products and promote them through story telling,” shares Manoj.