Microfinance Forum

Microfinance Forum

9, 10, 11, 12 February 2007

This forum was organised to explore alternate finance schemes to end the strangle-hold of the moneylender on a lot of our traditional performing arts communities. We examined microfinance as one such option, looking specifically at Tamasha & Kattakkuttu – to understand the socio-economic conditions of two of such performing arts communities.

  •    Welcome Address by Pravin KP
  •    Introducing the Theatre Forum by Sudhanva Deshpande
  •    The Micro-Finance Forum by Sanjna Kapoor
Financial Structure and Practice : Selected theatre examples
  •    Kattaikkuttu and its Current State by P. Rajagopal & Hanne de Bruin
  •    Tamasha and its Current State by Prashant Pawar
Understanding Micro Finance
  •    Talk by Rati Tripathi
  •    The ICICI Bank perspective by Mr Anilkumar, ICICI
Performance: 'Keechaka Vadam’ by Purisai Kannapar Thambiran Theru-k-koothu Manram.
Andhra Pradesh Artists & Finance
  •    Financial Structure and Practice: Andhra Pradesh artists by Devi
  •    Micro Finance story – Andhra Pradesh by G Padmaja
Economists’ Viewpoint
  •    Comments & Response by Ramakumar
  •    Comments & Response by Partha Sen
Performance: ‘Upakathai’ by Chennai Kalai Kuzhu
Theatre Survival Stories
  •    Chennai Kalai Kuzhu by Pralayan
  •    Moonram Arangu by Prasad
  •    Purisai Kannapar Thambiran Therukooth Manram by Sambandam
  •    Traditional shadow puppeteer by Murugan Rao
Tour of Kattaikuttu Sangam in Kanchipuram
Performance by Kattaikkuttu
Tour of Asian College of Journalism and Neighbourhood

The school (elementary education in the morning and artistic training in the afternoon) starts at 9 am, but there will be space & possibilities for the guests to talk, watch classes or see the neigbourhood (temple & stepwell).

Discussion & Round Up
  •    Discussion & Round Up by Ram Bapat & G P Deshpande

A Concept Paper by Piyush Tiwari and S.M. Fahad (Housing Development Finance Corporation)

 Microfinance Deal to Benefit 30,000 Poor in India  - An article by Fiona McDowell (Grameen Foundation USA)

An article by Patrick Bond (Znet Commentary)

A paper by R.Krishnamurthy & Makarand Ratnaparkhi

Amjad Ali Journalist

Amjad Ali is a journalist from Pakistan and a member of South Asian Free Media Association which addresses the political issues of the region. He is the Pakistan convenor of National Youth Project to promote peace between India and pakistn. Now he is studying at Asian School of Journalism.

Anil Kumar S G Microfinance Dev: Team Head – ICICI Bank

Anil Kumar S G is an alumnus of Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines where he did his Masters in Management. A career banker with over 15 years of experience in various areas of Banking including agricultural lending & retail banking. Has worked for 5 years in a PSU bank before joining ICICI Bank in the year 1996. After several challenging assignments in the Retail Banking area in ICICI Bank, he is presently Head – Microfinance Development Team in the bank. The Microfinance Development team at ICICI Bank focuses on providing financial services to that segment of the population which does not have access to formal financial institutions.

Anita Cherian Professor – Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi

Anita Cherian teaches English at the University of Delhi’s Indraprastha College for Women. However, her research interests are directed towards the study of Cultural Policy, Performance and the State. She completed her doctoral thesis, titled ‘Fashioning a National Theatre: Institutions and Cultural Policy in Post-Independence’ from the Department of Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

Archana Ramaswamy is an actress and a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. She also has some training in Odissi. She has recently been working in dance-theatre productions with Ranan, Calcutta, and is currently a member of the cast touring with British Council’s production of Tim Supple’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Archana has also worked closely with Prithvi Festivals for the last few years, in various organisational capacities, and collaborated with Prithvi to take Footsbarn to Chennai during their all-India tour in Jan – Feb 2005. She has a dream of setting up an arts resource centre that will provide both material resources and a platform for artist interactions with each other and their audiences.

Arumugham Actor – Kattaikuttu Sangam

Arumugham is an actor with the Kattaikuttu Sangam and leads his own Kattaikuttu group

Arun Mozhi Filmmaker

Arun Mozhi is a film maker who studied at the Film Institutes at Adayar and Pune. His films were screend at International Film Festivals in London, Germany and Edinburgh and he won an award at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1982. He has also directed a play ‘Ethir Kural’. He also works as the lecturer of screenplay at LV Parasad Academy, Saligramam.

Bandhu Prasad Administration – Abhinaya Theatre, Thiruvananthapuram

Bandhu Prasad has been with Abhinaya Theatre Research Centre, Thriuvananthapuram, taking care of its administrative aspects since 2001. Also works as freelance media relations manager and content developer for print/web publicity. He is closely associating with Kerala State Chalachitra Academy for its film festival events. Recently floated an informal group that offers organizational support to artists and performers.

Devi Administration – Praja Natya Mandali

Devi is President, Praja Natya Mandali, Andhra Pradesh. Praja Natya Mandali is the largest people’s cultural organization of Andhra Pradesh, with 1180 teams and 25,000 members across the entire state. The teams do street theatre, proscenium plays, folk forums (like dappu, kolattam, bhajans, tappetagullo, oggukatha, etc). A large majority of the teams are rural. More than 70% of the membership of Praja Natya Mandali is composed of dalits and tribals. Praja Natya Mandali organises many theatre festivals through the year.

Dr.Veena Naregal Cultural Historian

Dr. Veena Naregal is a cultural historian. Her recent articles and research papers include Performance, Caste, Aesthetics : the Marathi Sangeet Natak Era and the Regulation of Theatre Discourse and Cultural Arenas 1880-1920, Eds. Nandini Sundar and Satish Deshpande, solicited for festschrift, forthcoming. Lavani, Tamasha, Loknatya and the Vicissitudes of Patronage, Eds. Kotani et al, Culture and Political Patronage in Western India, Manohar Publications, Delhi 2007. Provincial Elites, Urban Intellectuals and a New Marathi Theatre (1840-1875), in special issue, Hanne De Bruin ed., Seagull Theatre Quarterly, Calcutta, December 2001. Her recent initiatives are international conference on Reviewing Disciplinary Agendas in Theatre Studies: Cultural Arenas, Policies, Institutions, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, January 23-25, 2008 and Discussion sessions on Cultural Policy and Democratisation at Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, April

G P Deshpande Playwright/Writer/Professor

Andreas Luebbers (b. 1961), after finishing studies of german literature and history of arts, began working in theatre as a dramaturg. He worked at the german puplic theatres of Hamburg (Thalia Theater and Deutsches Schauspielhaus), Berlin (Berliner Ensemble), Heilbronn, Bremerhaven, Hannover and Bad Gandersheim. After 10 years as an employee, Andreas opened his own (off-)theatre in Hamburg: The Hamburger Sprechwerk, a 150-seater with a 180 sq. m. stage. Since September 2004, the theatre has been playing continously with a programme which includes, in the main, freelancing contemporary dancers, speechtheatre-ensembles and some musictheatre-pieces.

Hanne M de Bruin Creative Director – Kattaikuttu Sangam

Hanne M de Bruin: The foundation of the Tamil Nadu Kattaikkuttu Kalai Valarchi Munnetra Sangam (the Sangam for short), a union to promote the economic and artistic interests of the players, originated through the work of P. Rajagopal and Hanne M. de Bruin. Hanne M. de Bruin is a Dutch Indologist, who has published a number of essays and books on Kattaikkuttu and other Tamil theatre genres. She supports the work of the Sangam actively through fund raising, facilitating the Sangam's activities, making of theatre costumes and co-producing new plays.

K Kashi Secretary – Therukoothu Manram

K Kashi is the secretary of Purisai Duraisamai Kannappa Thambiran Parambarai Therukoothu Manram. He acts in Therukoothu and modern play productins. The selection of the story for the Therukoothu and management of the group are taken care of by him. He is one of the founder members of Koothu . p . Pattari

K R R Ravi Varma Actor – Chennai Kalai Kuzhu

K R R Ravi Varma is a theatre practitioner from Chennai, working with Chennai Kalai Kuzhu.

K S Karuna Prasad Actor – Moonram Arangu, Madras

K S Karuna Prasad was with Koothu-p-Pattarai from 1984 to 1990 and started his own group, Moonram Arangu in 2003. He has worked with all the leading Tamil theatre groups and theatre directors. Presently, he enjoys working with schools and colleges and has done a lot of children’s theatre.

Kailasam Actor – Kattaikuttu Sangam

Kailasam, one of the founder members of Kattaikuttu Sangam is an actor with the Sangam and teaches at the Sangam school.

Kalairani Actor/Director/Writer – Kalai Foundation

Kalairani is an actress with a prodigious amount of talent and a special gift for both comic and serious roles. She has exploited this with panache in live theatre performances with the avant-garde theatre group Koothu-p-pattarai. Her forays into popular cinema have been equally successful. Kalairani's solo works, reflecting the artist's own concerns, have been performed at various stages. Kalairani has worked extensively with children through various workshops imparting to them the innovativeness and spontanaiety that she is known for. She has also conducted workshops for management professionals, educationalists, women's groups, political activists, folk artists, musicians and dancers. Kalairani has had the good fortune of undergoing workshops from some of the finest theatre practitioners from around the world and she brings all this experience into her professional work. Kalairani has also taken part in the UCLA's (University of California at Los Angeles) APPEX program, interacting academically with other theatre professionals.

Keremane Shivananda Hegde Actor, Director, Organiser – Idagunji Mahaganapathi Yakshagana Mandali

Keremane Shivananda Hegde has Yakshagana in his blood from his ancestors. The constant guidance of his highly impressive grand father and father molded his elegant career. He learnt Kathak and many folk dances of India. He toured all over India and abrode i.e.USA,UK,China,South East Asian Countries,Nepal,Spain,France etc.He participated in APPEX Workshop organized by the University of California, Los Angeles, USA in 1996. A lively, eminent member of the troupe he holds the position of secretary of Mandali and Yakshagana School.Indian junior Chamber has awarded Shivananda Hegde as an outstanding young person. He received Govt. of India scholarship of Young workers in different cultural fields (Yakshagana) in 1990 - 93. And in the year 2000-2 he received junior fellowship from Government of India for higher studies of traditional Yakshagana (A practical study of Uttara Kannada Style of Yakshagana with special emphasis on Nritya and Abhinaya)

Krishna Devanandan Actor/Dancer – Magic Lantern, Chennai

Krishna Devanandan is a performer who has been working with Magic Lantern for several years as an actor. She has also worked with Padmini Chettoor Dance Company. She works with the body in imaginative ways and has conducted workshops based on dance, yoga and martial arts for young people and aspiring actors

Murugan Rao Puppeteer – Thol Pava Koothu

Murugan Rao comes from a traditional shadow puppet theatre family. He is a very talented, multifaceted personality and an enthusiastic puppeteer, well versed in all aspects of shadow puppetry and many other folk art forms. Usually he is accompanied by his wife, Muthalammal.

P K Sambandam Thambiran Actor – Purisai School of Therukoothu

A fifth generation artist of the Purisai School of Therukooth, Sambandam has been performing since 1977 in the main roles. Over the years he has worked extensively with Koothu-p-Pattari, both choreographing their plays and training their actors. He has participated in many national and international theatre workshops and has directed the Therukoothu versions of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘An oldman with huge wings’ and Brecht’s ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’. He has performed extensively with his troupe, Purisai Kannappar Thambiran Theru-k-koothu Manram, both in India and abroad.

P Rajagopal Director/Actor – Kattaikuttu Sangam

The foundation of the Tamil Nadu Kattaikkuttu Kalai Valarchi Munnetra Sangam (the Sangam for short), a union to promote the economic and artistic interests of the players, originated through the work of P. Rajagopal and Hanne M. de Bruin. P.Rajagopal is an actor, director and playwright. He comes from a family of Kattaikkuttu actors and musicians.

Padma Venkattaraman Actress/Activist
No bio available.
Padmaja Reddy President – Spandana

Padmaja Reddy is the founder of Spandana and is responsible for starting the organisation in 1998 and growing it to its present size. Spandana is one of the leaders in microfinance industry in India and reaches to over one million customers, manages over one million loan accounts and has an asset base over Rs 3 Bn. It has disbursed loan of about Rs.15 Bn since its inception.Ms Reddy's academic qualifications include a Post Graduation in Business Administration with specialisation in Marketing Management from Nagarjuna University and micro finance courses at Naropa University, U.S.A, Certificate Course on Credit and Micro Enterprise Development at Durham University Business School, England and Diploma in Project Management in Germany. Her work experience has been in various capacities with renowned National and International organisations. Some of the main positions held were as a consultant with Department For International Development (DFID) and British Council Division, as a monitor for Rashtriya Mahila Kosh where she appraised more than 100 voluntary organisations. She also worked as a monitor for CAPART, Hyderabad; had appraised 25 voluntary organisations for funding, worked as a consultant for a Netherlands assisted project, served as Board member for APMAS, Worked as Deputy Director in a voluntary organisation called ASSIST and was involved in project planning, designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, organized numerous training camps including workshops on gender, Micro- enterprise development, irrigation, watershed, health, sanitation etc

Partha Sen Professor – Delhi School of Economics

Partha Sen is a professor of Economics at Delhi School of Economics. He has taught Economics at prestigoius instituitions like London School of Economics, University of Illinois and University of Bristol. A vast number of his publications appeared in many international economic journals. His contributions has enriched many books and reviews on economic theory and policies. He is also the editor of Indian Ecocnomic Review.

Pralayan | Director/Writer/Poet/Journalist/Filmmaker – Chennai Kalai Kuzhu, Chennai

Pralayan has been working in theatre for more than 20 years. He is the convener of Chennai Kalai Kuzhu, which is leading the open air theatre movement in Tamilnadu. Pralayan worked as the chief resource person for the Arivoli Kala Jatha in Tamilnadu, Pondichery and Andaman & Nicobar islands He is also a writer, poet, a freelance broadcast journalist and makes documentary films. For the last 10 years he has been focusing on a theatre in education programme.

Prasad Vanarase Director/Translator/Administration – F.L.A.M.E.

Prasad Vanarase is a graduate of the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi. He has directed more than 50 plays and short plays in Marathi, Hindi, Konkani, Kannada and English. He has also translated and adapted plays in Marathi. Prasad works in three interrelated areas, those of Direction, Administration, and the Management of arts and performing arts. He is a founder trustee of Abhijaat Rangabhoomi, Pune. He has been associated with the London International Festival of Theatre for the last 3 years. He also works as National Creative Coordinator of Project Phakama in India. He has been involved in theatre training for more than 12 years and has worked as visiting faculty / guest director at the University of Pune, the NINASAM Theatre Institute, and the Shriram Centre for Performing Arts to name a few.

Prashant Daya Pawar Senior Editor/Musician – Loksatta

Prashant Daya Pawar is Senior Sub-Editor with LOKSATTA, an imprint of Indian Express Group. He has done extensive research in Folk music and Folk dance of Maharashtra. He has in his credit a number of articles and columns addressing the issues of folk culture. In association with Padmasree Daya Pawar Foundation and Madhyam Event Management he has been organizing folk festivals all over Maharashtra. Mumbai District AIDS Control Society and Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society collaborate with him to spread awareness on AIDS through folk artists in rural areas. He has set the background score for the documenarty ‘We are not Monkeys’ directed by Anand Patwardhan.

Pravin K P | Director/Administration/Painter – Magic Lantern, Chennai

Pravin K P is one of the founders of Magic Lantern, a Chennai-based theatre group. He has undergone professional training in theatre at the Strasbourg school of Theatre, France. Having directed ‘Don Juan’ and ‘Caligula’ for Koothu-p-pattarai, Pravin went on to direct ‘Wings and Masks’(contemporary dance), ‘Fables’, ‘Jeremy’, ‘Veshakkaran’, ‘Mashali Mohalla’ and ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ for Magic Lantern. He has been a vital part of many theatre and artists symposiums in Europe. Pravin mainly directs and produces plays, while also co-ordinating administrative matters and painting.

Pritham K Chakravarthy is an actress working freelance. She lives in Chennai.

Priyadarshini Activist – Budar Foundation
No bio available.
R. Ramakumar Economist – Tata Institute of Social Sciences

R. Ramakumar is a development economist working at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. His areas of interest are agricultural economics and rural development. He has a PhD in Economics from Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. Earlier, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum. He has a number of publications on the topic of microcredit and rural development.

Rajesh Actor – Chennai Kalai Kuzhu

Rajesh is an actor from Chennai working with the theatre group called Chennai Kalai Kuzhu.

Ram Bapat Professor, Political Philosophy& Political Sociology

Ram Bapat has been taking sustained interest in grass root Dalit, Adivasi and Women’s issues movements.From 1965 to 1991, he worked at Dept: of Politics and Public Administration, University of Pune with his area of emphasis on Political Philosophy and Political Sociology

Ram Narayan Journalist
No bio available.
Ramachandran Director – Keli, Mumbai

Ramachandran is founder and Director of Keli, an organisation dedicated to the preservation and propagation of the traditional and classical art forms of India, Kerala in particular. Keli is now in its 20th year of activity, and has enjoyed years of collaboration with Prithvi Theatre. Ramchandran is also an independent documentary filmmaker – KAALAM, his debut film was on the art and life Appu Marar, a traditional percussion performer from Kerala. He has made “SIKHI”- a film on the role of women in Kudiyattam, ‘SAAMAM’- a film on the late Karnatic maestro M.D.Ramanathan, “Pranathi ‘on percussion performer Peruvanam Kuttan Marar.

Rangaswamy President – Kattaikuttu Sangam

Rangaswamy is the President of Kattaikuttu Sangam and and also the Mridangam player of the Sangam. He has been working with the Sangam since its inception.

Rati Tripathi Research Associate

Rati Tripathi is a research associate at the Center for Micro Finance. She coordinates CMF's field experiments on credit product design and impact evaluation as well as research studies on microfinance sector wide and policy issues. She holds a masters degree in economics.

S Santhakumar Actor – Koothu-p-pattarai

S Santhakumar is a full time actor with Koothu p Pattarai for the last six years.

Sadanand Menon Writer/Critic/Photographer/Light Designer

Sadanand Menon writes on critical issues of politics and culture, makes photographs and creates light design for stage. He has practiced and taught radical alternatives in media, has edited interventionist journals, is deeply involved with the creation of a contemporary Indian dance, and has curated one major exhibition of visual arts. Presently visiting faculty at Asian School of Journalism, Chennai.

Sameera Iyengar | Co-Founder, Junoon, Mumbai

Sameera Iyengar is co-founder of Junoon, an organisation that aims to make theatre/arts an integral and powerful part of our everyday lives. In Junoon, she plays a key role in conceptualising and developing Junoon's programmes and capacity building efforts, as well as building the organisation. She is also currently Course Director of SMART (Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre), a unique course designed specifically for theatre groups in India, and offered under the aegis of the India Theatre Forum (ITF). Sameera was also a founding member of the ITF in 2006, and remained a core member till 2014. As part of her ITF contribution, she co-edited Our Stage:The Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India Today (Tulika 2009). Previous to Junoon, Sameera was Director Projects at Prithvi Theatre for close to a decade, and has also worked with the Seagull Theatre Quarterly. She has a PhD on theatre from the Department of South Asian Languages & Civilisations at the University of Chicago. She was bitten by the theatre bug however during her undergraduate years at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), from where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BSc in Mathematics and a Minor in Theatre. Sameera believes that theatre and the arts open doors to imagination, understanding and living life with fullness, curiosity, empathy and sheer joy. She delights in sharing this experience and possibility with all people.

Samik Bandyopadhyay Editor/Scholar/Critic

Samik Bandyopadhyay is a leading editor, scholar, and critic of the arts. He is a member of the Academic Councils at the National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Vishwa Bharati, Santiniketan, visiting faculty at the annual Film Appreciation Course organized by the NFAI and FTII, Pune, and visiting lecturer at Ninasam’s annual Culture Course.

Sanjna Kapoor | Co-Founder, Junoon, Mumbai

Sanjna Kapoor is co-founder of Junoon, a social enterprise that aims to create platforms for theatre in India. Sanjna is well known for her passionate work with theatre over twenty-five years, and for having built Prithvi Theatre into one of India’s premier cultural hubs. She has also played a key role as catalyst for theatre for children. She currently spearheads Junoon’s school programme. Sanjna has also been responsible for initiating the India Theatre Forum network for theatre practitioners. Her current focus is working towards an all-India theatre alliance, based on a practical sharing of resources and ideas, as well as consolidating and strengthening theatre practice in India.

Saurabh Nayyar Actor/Administration – Aranya Theatre/Prithvi Theatre/India Theatre Forum

Saurabh Nayyar is an actor with Aranya theatre group, Mumbai and also acts in advertisements. He is part of the administrative team of India Theatre Forum.

Srijith Sundaram Actor – Moonram Arangu, Chennai

Srijith Sundaram is an actor with Moonram Arangu, a theatre group based in Chennai.

T Thevananth Director/Writer/Administration – Active Theatre Movement

T Thevananth heads Active Theatre Movement, Jaffna Sri Lanka. His group has conducted numerous workshops on spreading the awareness about landmine problems in Lanka, gender balance, human rights issues, health issues and psychological effects of war. Active Theatre Movement aims at building community theatre and using theatre for the social welfare of the people of Sri Lanka.

Usha Rani Actor

Usha Rani comes from a family of performing artists, and started her career when she was 10. She performs in the southern Tamilnadu genre known as ‘special natakam’ and also performs ‘novels’ in northern Tamilnadu style. She acts in both male and female roles.

V Vasanthi Activist – Budar Foundation
No bio available.
Vidya Venkat Student – Asian School of Journalism
No bio available.
Vinodhini Vaidyanathan Actress – Koothu-p-pattarai

Vinodhini Vaidyanathan is an actress with Koothu p Pattarai, a Chennai based theatre group.