Three years after improbably cancelling a vocal recital by T.M. Krishna due to the COVID lockdown, Lamakaan is set to host its 13th anniversary.
It was in the middle of the 10th anniversary celebrations that the lockdown forced Farhan Ashhar and his team to shut down the place. “It has been a challenging time for us. First, the lockdown and then, the slow pace of reopening. It is only now that Lamakaan is running on its own. The canteen sustains the cultural space and is fused with it. Now, we want to explore the digital space,” says Mr. Ashhar, who conceptualised the open cultural space as a nursery for ideas. And it has lived up to the expectations.
Before T-Hub, T-Hub 2 and T-Works, there was Lamakaan. A place where tinkerers, dreamers and geeks would sit around samosas, and chai; and plan the next big thing. It hosted Start-up Saturdays when the idea of start-ups was the big thing. It hosted Pecha Kucha Nights. It hosted Devthons. The Sunday organic market hosted at the venue has birthed a business with organic foodgrains. Then there were the dreamers who worked on their scripts and plays and moved to the next level.
“Start-up Saturdays tapped into the enormous energy of youth of Hyderabad. Meant to foster entrepreneurship, we used to host 200 people. Quite a few of them made it big,” says M.A. Nayeem who takes care of the programming at the venue.
The address “adjacent to GVK1 Mall” or “Beside JVR Park”, has changed to just Lamakaan: the house M. Husain built. The space has his portrait as well as those of the rockscapes that he captured with his camera.
When it began on March 13, 2010, it had a limited space and the chai was brought from a neighbourhood café. Thirteen years later, it is a different story.
“Every day is a surprise for me. I don’t known what the day holds for me or whom I will run into,” says Kranti, who has been managing the show for the last five years. In the process it has become a space known for events which further the cause of human rights, inclusivity, feminism and the marginalised sections. It has also simulated conversations around Urdu poetry. For the last three years, the venue hosts Bazm-e-Sukhan every second Wednesday of the month, where a bunch of people share their love for Urdu by reading poetry and prose.
For the 13th anniversary, the line up of events includes a thumri performance by Vidya Rao, dance and dialogue by Haleem Khan, play by Nisha Abdulla and a food event with a performance by the Vamsi.