There are certain milestones that a city must achieve in order to qualify as a modern, metropolitan city. Now these are primarily urban and infrastructural landmarks or amenities. These could be an international airport, a metro system, efficient rapid transport systems for the public, malls, gardens, public spaces, free Wi-Fi, etc. Similarly a city must have some infrastructure that supports various disciplines of arts like visual arts, performative arts and literary arts in order for it to be counted as a culturally rich city.
There are so many varied disciplines of art that just one type of structure does not suit them all. A visual artist would require an art gallery to exhibit his work and would need good studios to work in while creating said project. On the other hand a performance artist who works on theater or music or dance would require a completely different set of studios and workspace and music halls or concert halls or theaters stage venues to create their art and perform it. Therefore a city needs cultural centers, art galleries, libraries, public performance spaces, theatres, stages, dance studios, etc. so that people and artists can practice, exhibit and consume art there.
Fortunately Pune has a thriving and vibrant arts and culture community that adds so much value to the city. This can be credited to spaces like RAAH which is a Cultural Center in Pune. It is one of a kind arts and literature center in the city which supports all disciplines of art. Let us take a deep dive into what this specific venue is about.
Raah is a cultural and arts space in the southern part of Pune which is the Kondhwa area. Now this location is a prime location owing its proximity to the centre of town and areas like MG Road and Camp. But not only that the south Pune part has witnessed such tremendous growth in the past years that it has become a prime area to live in with so many of the localities in the Kondhwa or South Pune area are really exclusive. The Kondhwa area is an old and respected residential suburb of South Pune and consists of places like NIBM, NIBM Road, Salunkhe Vihar and Wanowrie which are all upscale areas with huge populations of people living in these areas.
Even areas like Katraj and Market Yard can be accessed very easily from Kondhwa and people from these areas find it very accessible to reach Kondhwa in a short commute time. The venue itself is on the top floor of a Marvel building. Marvel Builders are extremely famous in Pune for building in elite areas and have some magnificent constructions around the city. This building overlooks NIBM Road, Kondhwa etc and Raah is perched right at the top with both a covered and open space that has a mesmerising view of the South Pune skyline.
Raah happens to be one of the most unique Spaces for events in Pune when it comes to organising events related to arts or culture. The space has been so thoughtfully designed and has also been equipped and maintained very meticulously. It occupies a huge floor space on the top floor with a sprawling carpet area. There is a proper theatre stage where dramatic and theatrical performance art pieces can be organised. The performance area can be used for performances from various disciplines. Even dance and movement performance pieces can be organised there.
In terms of technical aspects, Raah has everything covered as well. It has multiple stage lights and LED lights. The lighting setup is complimented with an audio setup as well which is complete with a sound mixer and inputs for multiple mics and audio jacks. Not only this but the space also has a very discreetly placed green room which can be used by performers to make costume changes or get ready for shows. It can even be used to make clean entries and exits during performances.
By virtue of occupying the top floor of a well-known building complex, the floor space at Raah is huge. Considering that it is in the center of the city in a prime location it can comfortably seat at least 75 people. The seating arrangement can be customized according to the event and its theme. Not only do they have normal and high chairs, they also have some tables and seating outside on the eighth floor terrace which gives a brilliant view of the surrounding hills and city skyline.
- THE RAAH ADVANTAGE
As far as spaces in the city go, Raah seems to be one of the most versatile, well equipped and maintained arts and cultural space. It has seen a landslide of events since its inception and does close to a dozen events a month sometimes. Not only this, Raah also houses an in- house library that is well curated and contains some brilliant titles. Mrs. Aiman Mehta who is the benefactor of Raah herself has carefully nurtured this collection of books and RAAH encourages patrons to come and indulge in reading at the space or take the books as well.
There are a slew of regular monthly events that are conducted at Raah. There’s a Book Club, book discussion sessions, Storytelling sessions by the renowned Storytellers of Pune, there are theatrical productions that are staged, and there are musical concertos to name a few events. As far as Spaces for artists in Pune go it really doesn’t get better than this.
One can keep updated by following Raah on their website or various social media handles like Facebook. Raah has managed to carve out a niche for itself in the Pune arts and culture scenario and will continue to do so.