Santanu Bose

New Performance

Grant Period: Over nine months

Santanu Bose is a Kolkata based performance artist. He has been trained in the National School of Drama, New Delhi and Drama Studio, London. He has been working in Kolkata for the last ten years and has performed nationally as well as internationally.

This IFA grant supported Santanu Bose to create a cycle of performances that ruminated on the history of the Naxalite movement–– the peasant uprising which opened the floodgates of militant politics in India.

This movement, branded ‘terrorist’, was seen as the biggest threat to state politics. Various groups working under its umbrella were banned by governments in different states. The movement has been subjected to the politics of silencing, repression and appropriation. It has remained largely undocumented, and information and materials about it are not permitted to circulate in many states. While the movement received sensationalist representation in the popular media, its history and impact have not been given serious attention in contemporary performance. Santanu planned to replicate our fragmentary understanding of the Naxalite movement in his cycle of performances. In the absence of proper documentation, it is not possible to present a linear, continuous narrative of the movement, he observed.

The performances took place mainly in homes and other informal spaces and made use of live video in theatre. The performances were chaptered into three segments, with documents and research materials organised chronologically in each segment. Each performance was followed by Santanu addressing the audience and requesting feedback, inviting questions and comments.