Experiencing Interruptions?

An Alarippu

An Alarippu

‘An Alarippu’ finds its basis in an incident from 2015. At the time, I was 17 years old. I was beginning to make sense of the fact that I was attracted to men. There wasn’t acceptance. There was guilt and stealth in both the acts and the acceptance. I was cruising around a specific place in Bangalore. Very indulging, very passionate. At such a point, we didn’t realise, but the police were checking the area. Article 377 wasn’t scrapped yet. What we were indulging in was a criminal offence. We were taken to the police station. We were obviously shamed, leered at, instigated. That moment was filled with fear. Immense fear and insecurity. I was in the moment.

Interestingly, this happened only once. I indulged again. Yes, there was immense fear in that indulgence. Fear of being caught, of being interrogated, of being pushed into doing things I might not have wanted to do. But, there was exploration and excitement that accompanied those moments of fear.

Alarippu, a piece from the Bharatanatyam repertoire, supposedly means, “Blooming of a flower”. I think it's an initiation into learning movements and pieces. It marks the beginning of a recital. It is also marked by rigour. I was never taught an alarippu. I learnt the alarippu by watching others perform it.

This piece is a response to the fear that I housed at being caught by the police. It is in some ways a response to being asked, “Matthe madtiya?” or “Will you do it again?” This piece intends to integrate the alarippu and my experiences of pleasure in public spaces. My intent behind integrating them is that both of them came in coincidentally into my life and were bound by the idea of exploration. For me, the blooming of a flower could mean the beginning of exploration of my sexuality. At a point when I just started figuring I was homosexual, I obviously was not introduced to apps like Grindr that could aid sexual explorations. I travelled by bus and walked through the city, considering college and rehearsals. The city, was and in certain ways, is my site of exploration. Buses, chai shops, bus stops became spaces of resilience, encounters and pleasure.

I think public spaces are kinder to individuals who are queer and seek intimacy. In the erasure and unseeing of the queer by heteronormative individuals, I think there is a certain leverage to indulge sexually, in small ways, in parks, in buses, at bus stops, in malls, in isolated spaces. I don’t think the city erases my sexuality. I think it allows for it. It makes space for it. Maybe, it even nurtures it. The piece is an amalgamation of my explorations of homosexuality in public spaces using the alarippu as its structure.

In some ways, ‘An Alarippu’ is an ode to the city for aiding this exploration.

This film was created in collaboration with Armaan Mishra and Priyanka Chandrasekhar as part of Smarter Digital Realities 2021, a residency, curated by Padmini Ray Murray and produced by Sandbox Collective and Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore.

  • Talin Subbaraya
  • Talin Subbaraya
  • Sandbox Collective, Bangalore
  • Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore
  • Talin Subbaraya
    Key Cast
  • Priyanka Chandrasekhar
  • Armaan Mishra
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Other
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 11, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    362 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Kannada
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Bangalore Queer Film Festival
    July 23, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival
    November 11, 2022
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • NA
Director Biography - Talin Subbaraya

Talin Subbaraya grapples with movement, theatre and writing. He was a part of G5A Foundation and Soho Theatre's collaborative script writing program, "Writer's Lab Mumbai". He was also a resident artist at Smarter Digital Realities, a residency curated by Padmini Ray Murray and produced by Sandbox Collective and Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore and Unrehearsed Artist (Virtual) Residency curated by Nava Dance Theatre, San Francisco. He started learning Bharatanatyam from Priyamvada Murali and currently explores the form with Priyanka Chandrasekhar in Bangalore. Talin's current practice of the arts is an attempt to find ways to tell stories from his personal lens, thus leading to experiments with the forms he practices. He is also exploring art facilitation with children.

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