It's second home to the city's culturati, and possibly the most active cultural center this side of the Opera House. There's always something happening at Ravindra Bharathi - from recitals by local music schools to performances by groups from all over the country and the world, from breathtaking dance ballets to arangetrams by aspiring Bharatnatyam superstars. And if you're lucky, that unashamedly cacophonic but hugely popular Kishoreda music festival might be on again. With singers to give your tiny bathroom-singing ego a boost.
The center is a thriving bed of local theater, with a regular supply of Telugu plays and some occasional Hindi ones. Not all of them are good, but at least there's activity - and there's the undying hope that one day we'll have a Prithvi on our hands. That'll be enough of the sarcastic comments, thank you. The auditorium is first choice for many theater groups coming in from out of town. That trio of brilliant Englishmen abridged Shakespeare's works here once, in a play that still warms the hearts of all those whose senses of humor are deadened by the likes of Bharat Dabholkar, who also brought his play Monkey Business here.
Yes, the seats are arranged so that you can't see anything if you're stuck in the back rows, and yes, the loos are indeed horrible. But on the bright side, most of the events held here are open to the public, for free! The cramped mini-hall on the first floor is available for smaller events, and there's also a tiny auditorium for film screenings, sometimes used by the Children's Film Society.
You can always count on SICA (the South Indian Cultural Association) for a couple of good performances every month. And if you can't bear to hear Kishoreda killed over and over again, head out to the canteen and try its famed dessicated samosas.