Chandigarh, Friday, November 13, 1998
Art in corporate world
By Prem Singh
ART cannot thrive in isolation. Expression, communication and response are closely integrated. Any gap between them mars the true nature of the aesthetic experience.
Promoting singers, his aim
Art in corporate world
By Prem Singh
ART cannot thrive in isolation. Expression, communication and response are closely integrated. Any gap between them mars the true nature of the aesthetic experience. It has been observed that we approach a work of art with a degree of uncertainty. The reason for this is the inadequate grounding in the act of viewing. There is no denying the fact that there is enough energy, imagination and enthusiasm for art. The entry of the corporate world in art is of increasing importance. It can certainly play a vital role in fostering the understanding of visual and plastic arts.
With this aim in view, the Bank of Punjab pioneered participating in the development of art in the region. "We value relationships," is the logo of the bank. The bank has not limited itself to the mere routine of deposits and withdrawals of money. Its presence is now felt warmly in the art circles of the region. The credit for this thoughtful lead goes to its Executive Director Tejbir Singh.
In the art programme the bank had the blessings of its founder Dr Inderjeet Singh, a reputed banker and philanthropist, and his wife, Damyant Kaur. The couple died recently.
The bank organised its second exhibition at Punjab Kala Bhavan, Chandigarh, recently. As many as 154 works were received from artists of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the union territory of Chandigarh. Judges Dr B.N. Goswamy, Mr Mala Marwaha and this writer selected 45 paintings, drawings and graphics for display at the exhibition.
Gayatris watercolour entitled "Neer Mahal Palace at Agartala" and Him Chatterjis ink drawing of the "Vice Regal Lodge, Shimla" were selected for the award of Rs 20,000 each. Three prizes of Rs 5,000 each went to Suman Gupta (Jammu), Gurpreet Singh Preet (Bathinda) and Sukhvinder Singh (Jalandhar). In addition a special prize of Rs 2,500 was given to Ravinder Kumar Sharma (Chandigarh).
The aim of holding such an exhibition is purely artistic. Perhaps that is the reason why this exhibition has a distinct identity over the other "open bag" shows held all over the country.
The award-winning pictures will be reproduced in the 1999 calendar of the bank. Soon the bank will open a gallery in its corporate office in Sector 9 where exhibitions of young and recognised artists will be organised regularly.
Promoting singers, his aim
By Raju William
IN the early 90s, a 10-year-old singer Salim created a sensation in the realm of popular Punjabi music with his maiden cassette "Charkhe di Hook". It sold more than 3 lakh copies. An astounding figure at that time which singers on their debut can only dream about. This dream would not have been translated into reality but for Manjinder Gohlis sheer commitment to provide a break to talented singers.
Normally publicity-shy Manjinder at present works as a Head Constable in the Punjab Police at Ferozepore. He developed an interest in music, hearing his elder brother Ranjit Jajj, who despite being a talented singer could not get recognition due to him for want of proper patronage. Manjinder decided to commit himself to the promotion of deserving singers who for lack of patronage and exposure ended up as non entities.
A host of Punjabi singers such as Master Salim, Manpreet Akhtar, sister of late Dilshad Akhtar, Major Mehram, Mansoor Ali Khan, Arvinder Aalam, Kikar Dalewala and, above all Nirmal Sidhu, now a name to reckon with in the field of Punjabi film music, owe their fame to him.
Resolutely resisting unethical compromises that go with the present-day cassette culture, Manjinder has not confined himself to popular Punjabi music. In the not-too-distant past, he made successful forays into the field of devotional music. He is the first to bring out devotional cassettes of the great Sufi saint Sheikh Farids verses and, thus, promoted the presently known devotional singers Bhai Harinder Singh and Bhai Ranjit Singh Chandan of Tilla Baba Farid at Faridkot.
Apart from spotting singing talents, Manjinder has a flair for penning down songs which, apart from a good measure of popular liking, have been taken note of in the literary circles too for their creative blend of typical Punjabi metaphor and aesthetically elevating quality.
Its not for nothing that inimitable Hans Raj Hans who, since his days of struggle has been in association with Manjinder, has offered to lend voice to his songs. So far popular Punjabi singers Master Salim, Kuldeep Paras and Baldhir Mahla have rendered their voices to his songs.
By Raja Jaikrishan
IN days of yore, cities in India used to have gates. Means of communication being slow paced, the number of visitors to a city used to be very small. A visit by a relative from a few hundred kilometres was a matter of joy not only for the family, but for the entire village.
The kings officials would note the visitors name, address, profession and purpose of the visit.
Once somewhere in the North, a group of singers and dancers reached a city gate. The officials asked them to state their profession. They replied that they sang, danced and acted for their living. The officials made an entry in the file: "Yakh tola kanjraan" (a group of foot-loose low-caste persons).
Not only in Punjab, but in other parts of the country too artistes had quarters in the outskirts of the city or village. "Raasakath" in Kashmiri stands for an artiste. If the word is split into "raas" and "kath", the former means dance and the latter sheep. The association of sheep with the artiste speaks for the significance given to a dancer.
Guru Gobind Singhs line "Natak chetak karat kukaja; prabh logan ko aawat laaja" (drama directs one to bad deeds; people are ashamed of those who impersonate.)
Even now, not many artistes, save who strike moolah as film or TV stars, venture to introduce themselves so. A person with a beard and in an unironed wear is derisively called a Devdas or Majnu (legendary lovers) or "kalakar", a wanabe artiste. This mindset makes a person ask him, even after he has introduced himself as an artiste, "But, what do you do for a living?"
Girish Karnad, known more as an actor in art films and teleserials than a playwright, in his recently translated play in English, "The fire and Rain" has portrayed the status of an artiste. The following excerpt from the play would make the point clear.
Actor-manager: A message from a brother. Dear elder brother, you once said to me: "The sons of Bharat were the first actors in the history of theatre. They were Brahmins, but lost their caste because of their profession. A curse plunged them into disrepute and disgrace. If one values ones high birth, one shouldnt touch this profession". And I accepted this. But today I am a criminal. I have killed my father, a noble Brahmin. I already stand tarnished. I may now become an actor. This follows from your own words. So please dont bar the way now.
The depiction of the low position of an artiste is not much different from the present day. Anton Chekhov was highly suspect of actors. It was their conceit that put off the playwright. Ironically, he married an actress. Probably to disprove his notion.
But not many trust actors off-stage/ screen. An actor by definition cons people into believing in his actions on screen or stage. Though the major credit for achieving the willing suspension of disbelief in the audience goes to the big brother called the director. Unless they portray larger-than-life characters, viz Amitabh Bachchan, of the 70s and mid-80s on this side of the Vindhyas and the late NT Rama Rao, and J Jayalalitha and the late MGR on the other side. And if the audience has pre-industrial dispossession of equating myth with fact, imitation with reality, such actors are able to seek their revenge on society by romping home in elections to Parliament and Assemblies. In august houses they sit and deliberate with politicians who seek tuitions from them in the art of effective public speaking.
Bertolt Brechts play on how a bully becomes a political leader," The Resistable Rise of Arturo ui" has a full scene where the gangster-leader engages an actor for teaching him the art of dramatic speech. The actor begins with the famous Mark Antony speech from "Julius Caesar": "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...."
After Emergency, Rukhmani Devi Arundale, who founded Kalkshetra, a centre of classical dances, was among those in the reckoning for the Presidents post. She didnt make news by getting elected to the post, but for uncharitable remarks made by certain Janata leaders against her candidature. They questioned: "How could a danseuse be considered for the top post?"
Politicians at times have to leave august houses to take stage or face the camera to drum in a point. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackery to quiver the pitch of the Hindu-Hindustan demagogue has donned the attire of Shivaji to perform in "Janata Raja", a play.
The less tactarian and young in years and prudence like Sunjay Dutt and Salman Khan after putting enough life in their biceps and flaunting the chip of a few hits on their shoulders go for an occasional game only to be caught on the wrong side of the law.
Sons of politicians fare
well than star sons in updating their vocational skills.
The major difference is the former use others as
resources while the latter have to draw upon their own.
The professional demand of showing off makes stars
vulnerable.This is not so even with political chickens
who say to lie and show to hide. This art keeps their
caste in tact.
KOMAL (Milestone; Rs 65): Rarely does a new singer name a cassette after herself. So what if there are few precedents? That does not stop Komal from going on an ego trip. Her cassette features her with some 10 pictures of hers on the cover.
Bhangra-pop is the in thing and she utilises it in at least three songs. How one wishes her Punjabi pronunciation was up to the mark. Her Bambaiya diction plays havoc with several words. The pseudo-vibrant beat works in Baujee baujee baujee bajuee, bhangra sade naal pao jee..., but falls flat in Kehnde ne naina ... and Saari raat udikan laiyan ...
As a singer, Komal reminds you of Rageshwari. There may not be much talent, but there is a lot of exuberance.
Tunes are youthful, what with one of the composers being called Rowdy. The album may be easily forgotten tomorrow, but today, Baujee... can enjoy a decent run. The question is: is the cassette worth it at Rs 65?
SATYA: The Sound (Venus): "Satya" the film has come and gone after impressing the audiences with its stark realism. The songs of the film were nothing much to write home about. It was its background score which was out of the ordinary.
Ramgopal Verma has released just the background score in this cassette which is rather unusual because most other tend to include dialogues and poetry and what not. Here it is just the amalgamation of various sounds: shrieking here soft there.
The effect is remarkable. Verma gives credit to Sandeep Chowta who has earlier done some remarkable work down South. He has not betrayed the confidence reposed in him here either.
SOLDIER (Tips; Rs 38): This may not be red-hot property, but Anu Malik has indeed managed some worthwhile tunes. The title song, Soldier soldier... (Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu) is already doing well on hit parades. Then there are several other low-key songs which should move upwards. Among them is Mere dil jigar se guzree hai... (again by Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu). This and Mehfil mein bar bar us par nazar gayee ... (Alka, Kumar) make one realise that Sameer is fast becoming another Anand Bakshi. His lyrics may not be profound but he does manage to say a lot through simple words.
Sonu Nigam gives good account of himself through both Tera rang balle balle ..., a duet with Jaspinder Nirula, and Meri sanson meinsamaye ..., a solo.
By Jyoti Mahajan
"SANGEETANJALI", a classical troupe from Mumbai, enthralled the audience with an impressive programme of classical dances at Gaiety Theatre in Shimla recently.
"Sangeetanjali" was formed in 1977 at Allahabad by Acharya Anupam Rai and is perhaps the only troupe in Mumbai which has the credit of imparting and promoting talented prodigies under the gurukul tradition.
Ruchi Sharma and Reeta Rai performed the "tandava" and "lasya", which was a fine blend of Jaipur, Lucknow and Benaras gharanas, and had Anupam Rai singing the songs.
The most impressive item was "Bal Lila" depicting the Lord Krishna teasing his mother Yashoda after stealing butter. Twelve-year-old dancer Anurita Rai, as young Lord Krishna, gave an excellent account of her "abhinaya" skills.
The finale was a dance number performed by Reeta and Ruchi to a ghazal, Mera bichada yaar mila de... presented in a typical Mughal style.
Ruchi has established herself as a top-ranking Kathak exponent. She has to her credit a world record of performing Kathak for 15 hours continuously in Mumbai on February 17, 1996. She has done creative researches in the gradual development of 29 intricate layakaris with meditative concentration.
Dancer Reeta is the wife of Anupam Rai. Her major contributions are conducting researches in scientific and spiritual relations with dance and between "hast mudras" and body gestures.
Acharya Rai has
established a proper nexus between the practical
"nalwari" and authentic classics described in
the Bharat Natya Shastra. He has introduced many
experimental items like new "taals" in
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