Monday, 6 September 2010

Cultural space for lease for a song!

The Lamakaan in Banjara Hills provides free space for conducting programs in literature, arts, theatre, debate and dialogue, thus offering a platform for artists, activists and thinkers to interact and grow

It's yours. Do what you will with it... boasts a luxurious house in the posh localities of Banjara Hills. Rented out to organize arts and cultural programs for free (!), the Lamkaan in the lane next to CBay building off Road No. 1 is more than a comprehensive space that pays deep respect for grass roots work. Not to be surprised!

Owned by documentary film-maker late M Hassan, the sibling of Urdu writer Padmasree Jilani Bhanu, the place was synonymous with mother for Hassan. "It shared the love and affection of Hassan and his memoirs. Hence, Ashar Farhan (Hassan's nephew) resolved to fulfill his uncle's dreams of making use of the house for good cause," informs Vemana, the manager of Lamakaan.

With the help of friend Biju Mathew, Farhan converted Lamakaan to a cultural space on March 13, thus paying tribute to his uncle. An abode to the homeless, as the name suggests, Lamakaan aims at facilitating free space to organize programs dealing with arts, literature, theatre, debate and dialogue.

The open space has a stage and a screen while the huge hall can accommodate around 150 people at a time. The guest room beside the hall helps the visitors get refreshed. The place has hosted about 35 events including ghazals, student seminars, workshops, expos, plays, documentaries and et al.

"The cafe serving Irani chai, Osmania biscuits and, hot and crispy samosas is the place where ideas are born and creativity sprouts, and ideal for book-reading. Also, we find it the best rendezvous to catch up with or make friends," quotes one Kanika Kathuria, a marketing executive.

A group of curators appointed for two years by the Lamakaan Trust, a non-profit entity, has absolute freedom to explore the space and create events within the limits of sources. This apart, the 'Open Mike Nights' held every second and fourth Thursdays of the month invites anyone to perform, recite or enact in a 20 minutes slot.

"We don't charge for performances. However, they're accessible either for free or through tickets costing a nominal amount," Vemana adds.

Corporate sponsors and commercial sponsorships are not accepted. Neither does the Trust take any margins or cuts from the sale of tickets or artists' works. However, the interested can send cheques addressed to the Lamakaan Trust or donate online through paypal to Lamakaan. Details over or or 9642731329. Email:

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