With few performing opportunities open, theatre and other artistes are exploring alternative jobs.
Theatre artistes’ eatery
Channakeshava G, with fellow artistes Sidhartha Madhyamika, Lakshman KP, Anil Revoor and Chandra Ninasam, now runs a mobile canteen.
Active in theatre for 30 years, Channakeshava has also won acclaim for his design of the literary magazine Desha Kaala, edited by Vivek Shanbhag.
“I had been thinking about a canteen for a while and the others joined me. The idea is to keep going during tough times,” he told Metrolife.
The canteen is an Omni van called Ho!! Tell Art Taste, and works from Nandini Layout. It serves homemade tomato bath, chitranna, rice and sambar, dosa and vada from 7.30 am to 2 pm. “Food is art, and we thought it should be accessible to all. We hope to encourage artistes to come and perform near our canteen,” he says. Sidhartha Madhyamika, who is also a part of the canteen project, hopes the van will help keep theatre alive, and hunger at bay.
Well-known musician Divya Raghavan, who has sung several film songs and accompanied the legendary Manna De at his live concerts, convinced her mother Gita Ramaswami to make masks.
“She has been sewing for 30 years. My sister and I created a Facebook page for her called Sew Navam, which exhibits upcycled products. We started creating masks in May,” she says. Divya’s mother does the sewing while she finishes the masks, and sends them to people who have placed orders.
Available in small, medium and large sizes, in plain colours and prints, the cotton masks are priced at Rs 80 each and are two-layered and washable.
Nandan Jonty, actor, has acted in ‘Mojo’ and ‘Shuddhi’, and was assistant director for ‘Bhinna’ and ‘Hondisi Bareyiri’. He is now selling face shields produced by Pielabz, a company owned by his friends Prashanth and Mandeep Kumar.
“I have been in theatre for 10 years with the group Sanchaya, and I have acted in films too. Since the lockdown began, there has been no work or money,” he says. Nandan worries he might be forgotten in the arts circuit, but he had no hesitation in taking up a sales job. “These are testing times. My friend was developing lightweight face shields and I needed money, so this was an easy and safe option,” he says.