Here’s something to cheer the culture-loving audience of our twin cities. A state-of-the-art amphitheatre awaits its turn to turn functional. But like everything in this once ‘happening’ city that has been grounded for the past half-a-decade, thanks to regional turmoil that has eaten its way into development in literally every field, this structure too remains a mute spectator to negligence from the powers-to-be.
The hustle bustle notwithstanding, the sylvan surroundings spread around the amphitheatre which can accommodate close to 500 viewers is right in the heart of the city — inside Indira Park premises to be precise.
“My father Marri Chenna Reddy was passionate about arts and culture. And when we were given this five-acre land to construct his memorial, we proposed an amphitheatre which we dreamt would pulsate with cultural activity and make my father’s memory live on. He was the architect who conceptualised the structure of Shilparamam and its amphitheatre within when he was Governor of Tamil Nadu. As his family, we felt such a theatre in the hub of the city would be even more utilitarian going by its location. He was also fond of rocks and the rock garden that shields his ‘samadhi’ was raised by us. The amphitheatre came up with an estimated Rs. 25 lakh, but then, it does not belong to the family since it is in the precincts of the park run by the Hyderabad municipality, like all other parks in the vicinity of the city,” explains M. Ravinder Reddy, eldest son of Chenna Reddy.
The amphitheatre, as it stands today, has a lovely stage with electrical connections in place, ample green rooms and toilets, good distance for a horse-shoe shaped gallery which is also a stone edifice and overhanging greenery that adds to its aesthetic appeal. A separate gate for entry to the theatre with a generous parking place is another big plus point. All it needs is a light spruce up to make it 100 per cent occupational. But then who’s to bell the cat?
The municipality, as Reddy rightly points out, is not equipped to run it as a cultural centre. The government custodians of culture have turned a Nelson’s eye to the family’s repeated requests to take it up and make it functional. So where does this leave the desolate theatre? “It can be outsourced to a private party who’d run it and the income that it generates would be sufficient to maintain the precincts,” opines Reddy.
Justly so, unless there is a critical dearth of art and culture patrons in our city. We have cultural organisations which may not be cash-rich but are definitely not cash-strapped; we have a glut in the form of corporates who are looked upon as present day patrons of arts. All that is needed is an awakening from the stupor of commercial arts and a reawakening to awareness and appreciation for classical, folk and traditional arts. Once this happens, things are bound to look up on the arts scenario. Till then, beautiful auditoria like the one at Indira Park will have to languish for want of takers.