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News bites – ‘Tuning 2 you’; Tara & Rifco, theatre diversity, ‘Ready or Not’; ‘Baahubali’ change, Ritesh Batra

News bites – ‘Tuning 2 you’; Tara & Rifco, theatre diversity, ‘Ready or Not’; ‘Baahubali’ change, Ritesh Batra

A few bits of news to catch up with and chew over during the holiday period…


CHANNEL 4 has started its India season with a series of films about the music of the country.
Called ‘Tuning 2 you’, two episodes screened last week (on April 13) and are made by British musician Soumik Datta (above far right) and his brother Souvid Datta. They’re exploring different genres of music within India and started with Baul from Bengal and then moved onto Sufism in Rajasthan and traditional folk music from that part of India. Further episodes explore music from Nagaland, Goa, and Varanasi.
There are further programmes on sitar legend Ravi Shankar, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and the season ends with ‘Song of Lahore’ about music from Pakistan and made by double Oscar-winning documentary maker, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
The very next instalment goes out on Thursday April 20 on Channel 4 at 2.55am – set your recorders or watch on the channel’s catch-up player – here (in the UK)
‘Tuning 2 You’ continues Wednesday, April 20 at 2.55am – set your recorders


TARA ARTS and Rifco were among the recipients for grants handed out by Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation earlier this week, it was announced. More than a £100,000 was handed out to develop talent from the BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities.
Rifco and Tara Arts both received grants of £30,000. Rifco got the cash to develop new audiences, encourage and support new work at both starter and mid-career levels. The money has been given for a three-year period.
Over at Tara, the money will be used to develop four year-long trainee positions in lighting, production, stage management and sales & memberships – from the ranks of the unemployed.
Creative Access which helps to secure and fund paid internships also got £45,000. It helps young people gain professional experience with such institutions as the National Theatre, BBC and Royal Shakespeare Company, among the best known. Hoxton Hall Trust, which works a lot with London’s black communities, got £18,000 to help fund trainee positions in technical theatre, directing, marketing and development with the emphasis on recruitment from its youth art programmes and Black Theatre Live initiative.
A further half a million was awarded to other organisations which encourage arts education and music in Britain. It was the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation which drew attention to the lack of a pipeline in ethnic talent when it published its ‘Centre Stage’ report last year. Pictured on the right is the forthcoming Rifco production, ‘Miss Meena and the Masala Queens’ which opens at Rifco’s home at Watford Palace Theatre on May 5.
More here on the grants


OLIVIER AWARD-WINNING director Simon Stone says diversity is the biggest challenge for theatre today. An Aussie, he said theatres there provided a better space for different groups to come together and share their experiences. Speaking to The Stage newspaper, he felt The Young Vic where his award-winning production of ‘Yerma’ was mounted last year, was doing a good job of attracting a wide cross section of folks and not just ‘lefties’. Hmmm. There may be hip and young but how brown, black – and from families who do not frequent the theatre? What do you think?


‘READY OR NOT’’ is the new play by Naylah Ahmed which is currently playing at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston, London.
A tough watch in some respects, it is an intelligent and absorbing drama which comes truly alive in a very revelatory fashion in its second half. Fine acting and a dramatic twist give it energy and a keenly felt political purpose. It’s on until April 29 at Arcola. See our preview interview with Ahmed for more.


THERE has been a change to the screening date of ‘Baahubahli:The Conclusion’ at the British Film Institute (BFI) Southbank. It will now screen on May 2 and not April 27, at 7pm. Ticketholders will be automatically transferred to the new date, the BFI says. It is sold out at present abd still communicating the change.
A blockbuster in every sense, this South Indian film’s first instalment, ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ (2015) screens next Friday (April 21) as originally scheduled at 8.10pm.  Director SS Rajamouli, actors Rana Daggubati and Anushka Shetty and producer Shobu Yarlagadda and composer MM Keeravaani are all set to attend the UK premiere of ‘Baahubali:The Conclusion’. The first film broke records and both are mythological-type tales set in ancient times with incredible special effects.
ACV has been catching up on some ‘Bollywood 2.0’ or Mindie, as it has been termed. We covered the talk about its changing directions and this is all part of the BFI’s India on Film season which runs until December. Both ‘Queen’ and ‘Kapoor & Sons’ (since 1921) are excellent films that show different angles to the traditional masala type romance-weepie which once so characterised films of a certain era. Both are harder-edged and located in a very recognisable social reality with its hardships and joys – equally documented. Some of these films will be available on the BFI’s own web player.
We will be telling you more about the BFI’s India on Film season monthly. Look out for some special previews and interviews!
BFI India on Film season continues


SPEAKING of films, how many of you know that ‘The Sense of an Ending’ is directed by an Indian based in India? A Pukka Indian, and not one of these mixed-up varieties you get almost everywhere else in the world! (We jest).
Ritesh Batra is best known for ‘The Lunchbox’ (2013)– which went onto become a worldwide hit and collect a reported $15m at the box office and was his debut feature.
The Sense of and Ending’ is an adapted work from the Booker prize winning novel of the same name by Julian Barnes. We haven’t been able to track him down but the film has got rave reviews and it conforms to our belief that sometimes foreigners and outsiders tell better stories about ourselves than we can ourselves.

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture