Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Think! - TRENDING by Ashish Mohan Khokar

Think what are dance aspirations of the marginalized, small town India? What facilities they have by way of halls, support systems and students. Small town India aka two tier aka smart cities are offering more culture than an over-fed metro. Look at the contrasts: in big cities audiences are sparse; one often bombards people with emails, telephone calls, WhatsApp then last minute reminders! After all this effort, max 100 turn up. Contrast this with smart cities aka small town India: Halls are full, audiences are eager because of many reasons: rarely outstation artistes come their way. Often on the same day, not much is taking place. More importantly, in small town India halls being very few, once booked others know there’s no venue left so they plan accordingly.  Add abundant audiences that come anyway hearing the name of known or unknown artiste or simply to be nice to the organizers, who must be known socially or professionally.

An email comes from one Radhika Shetty from Mangalore, asking: Sir, will you please attend our dance festival? I ask, not assuming I'm much known in moffusil India, “Who gave you my name or email id to invite?” She says, “I read you on narthaki and have most copies of attendance.” (In south India I've learnt to be polite so I can't ask, “Who are you?” Internet sometimes can give a clue nowadays but there are many similar sounding Radhika Shettys on the net!) So I ask instead for a list of who is dancing. 3 out of 6, I want to see (their progress in art, having seen them grow up) - Purvadhanashree, sincere student of Swapnasundari and daughter of Kamalini and Kuber Dutt of Delhi Doordarshan, and B.P. Sweekruth, Kathak talent from Bangalore. Add Dakshina, the dancing daughter of Rama Vaidyanathan, I have never seen before on stage.  Rama was Yamini Krishnamurthy's best student and now Saroja Vaidyanathan’s bahu. So I catch a train from Madras and reach Mangalore.

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