I have to share this incident with all people who are true art lovers and understand Indian culture in the real sense. Well, this happened just a couple of days back and I was witness to an unnerving night of celebration. When I came out of the door after the event, just wondered what was celebrated and what was propagated?
As children we grew up learning that our rich heritage, our way of life and Art is our culture, today where do we get to see them, it is certainly a rarity. I planned for about a week ahead to make sure that I did not miss this cultural event which celebrates and propagates Indian Art and culture, this is an event organized by a legitimate Organization as part of their cross cultural Initiative, excited all week long looked forward to it and finally the day came, they had a regular meet and greet gala and the program started at 4.30PM, which I am glad started on time. The program started with a welcome speech and the first inaugural program as per the brochure distributed said Indian classical dance form and there comes the compere announcing a brief version of the richness of this classical dance…wow what just happened, classical dance to a Amir khan Bollywood song, this is not culture my dear, this is Bulture straight from Bollywood. I had loads of laughter; I had more adventure coming my way. Next is again a classical dance form from India, what was it this time, not surprised and advertisement commercial straight from the TV promoting Indian tourism of Kerala…hmmm good job all in the name of culture, this is how one can get away doing anything without stuff and the only skill you need is just be “street smart”. Another aspect worth mentioning is about, choreography and clothes, both the C’s were nowhere close to aesthetics, this is a easier strategy to getting famous faster in today’s time, sad that this strategy is gone beyond movies….
The next part of the program got more interesting with sheer murder of our folk dance forms, thanks to Bollywood dance and music which is like one size fits all; the next piece was the highlight with the dancer claiming to have a legitimate qualification, but has no teacher name or institute to talk about both in her profile nor in her compere, more like an “Anonymous type”. Well the only thing we could figure out that she was trying to attempt a very famous classical dance form, but to a disgrace it turned to be a sad version of a YouTube video of a very famous dancer from India who is considered as a great artist from India and recognized worldwide. How desperate can one get to be in the face of audience? Copy wow…
After all this, I just lived thru and was alive, then came this performance of a good artist, she stole the show, her presence for 10 mins took away all the pain that I went thru for the last 50 mins. She is a true dance lover and we could experience that throughout her performance. Kudos to her but I also feel sad that she had to share stage space with a very substandard lot of performers. Hence she stands to be ‘Best in the Worst’.
Coming back to my question, who are we - an individual an institute, who has this right to abuse Indian art and culture in the name of Culture? I strongly believe that there is right and wrong to everything, then stand up and have the guts to say we promote Bollywood why Classical. The word classical is such a divine part of our rich Indian culture so closely woven to our heart through our Dance and Music, why does anybody want to showcase this in a wrong way on any platform?
I am so confused that we ourselves are bent upon damaging our identity and portraying this completely different from what it is, to other people leave alone people from other cultures what is happening to people from our culture who are day in and out either approving, acknowledging, witnessing, participating in such gruesome act of tarnishing our Indian Culture…
This is what I felt like inking to all of you as an artist, art lover, critic whatever if not anything just an Indian who loves her country and the core values of who we are and what makes us unique from others…
At the end I am left with no answer but one question are we so beyond anything that we believe “any crap can sell”? If yes, all those dear legitimate organizations/ committee’s, just sit back once to think what happens to all those people who worked, are contributing unconditionally in passing on this rich art form with at most humbleness to our future generations…do we have any responsibility at all??? Please realize that if you are not directly qualified to contribute to art and culture, we all can still make a small difference in this world in our own capacity, and so NO to anything that may cause a smudge to the glowing culture.