Have patience, and the hunger for more; in conversation with Rangaraj Bhatracharya, Founder, WeMove

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Rangaraj Bhatracharya, Founder-Director, WeMove Theatre

Getting the staff and doctors of a cancer hospital to perform a street play called ‘Tambaaku Bhayanaka’ on the major streets of Bangalore as part of an awareness programme; conducting a theatre workshop at ISKCON for the devotees; choreographing for a performance at IBM to spread information about the employee-friendly policy of the company and to add fun to work; and coordinating a flash mob performance in the Bangalore Metro train, aimed at educating the people of Bangalore to keep the Metro train and the stations clean. These are only a few snatches from the profile of Rangaraj Bhatracharya, Founder-Director, WeMove Theatre. “Seven days without laughter makes one Weak! Corporate shows are not all about budget, venue or expensive giveaways,” announces his website.

During a recent interaction with YourStory, Rangaraj takes us back to the origin of his enterprise, and answers a few questions about the potential of the theatre and plans for his venture.

How was WeMove formed?

Back in 2006, there was a very famous social networking site called Orkut. There, one of the guys had posted that he wanted to make a movie, and then people started responding. Abhishek and I had also responded to the post telling, let’s do a play first. And that’s how WeMove was formed.

What is the kind of audience WeMove has?

Our target audience is the common man. People had this conception that theatre is for a separate class of audience, and we wanted to break that. We started doing plays that target the common man. Initially, it was very difficult to get people to come in to watch plays. After a lot of struggle, persistence, and help from the media, we were able to break that mindset and get people to come to watch the plays. Now, for the past one year, all of our shows have been running houseful. We have travelled to cities such as Mysore, Pune, Hyderabad, and Chennai, and have received good response for all our shows.

What is the kind of plays that you do? Do you have any fixed theme around the plays?

We don’t have any fixed theme or genre for the plays that we do. We do entertaining plays targeting current affairs. We try to show the common man on stage; that way, people feel more connected. They see themselves on stage.

But, there is one thing that we always try to do. We always prefer having plays by Indian playwrights or plays based on works of Indian authors. Some of the plays we have done are:

  • Malgudi Daaze – Based on the famous book ‘Malgudi Days’ written by R. K. Narayan.
  • Johnny and Urvashi – Based on the book written by Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi.
  • TPK Marali Baa (Kannada Play) – A play showcasing the works of legendary Kannada playwright T.P. Kailasam.
  • Namma Metro (Kannada Play), P.S. I Don’t Love You – Plays written by Abhishek Iyengar, Co-founder of WeMove Theatre. (Audio)

What are your plans? Are you looking for funding?

We want to take theatre closer to people. We want to travel across the country and perform our plays. Also we want to travel across the globe and showcase Indian theatre. We are also looking to revolutionise the way of teaching in schools, colleges and corporate companies, using theatre.

We are looking for some kind of funding that can help us with our goals. We are already in talks with VCs and angel investors. We are hoping that something good happens.

How can theatre be relevant to corporates?

Corporates have their staff sit in classrooms and undergo trainings for communication and personality skills, and theatre can be used here. Using theatre as a medium we can make people realise their personality skills, and the impact is long-lasting as the learning is fun. Not only that, using theatre we can also get rid of the PPT slides.

What is your suggestion to young entrepreneurs and startups?

When you have a startup, the most important things to have are patience and the hunger for more. We need patience to wait for the opportunity; and the hunger for more keeps you in search for more and respond instantly when the opportunity comes through. In sum, entrepreneurs and start-ups need to be like a tiger on a hunt for food.

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