Chandigarh, Friday, October 16, 1998
Ram Lila in
An evening of Kishore songs
Mushaira with Majrooh
Show with a difference
Ram Lila in
RAVANA will go up in flames at Shropshire County in England next year. There will also be stagings of the Ram Lila adapted specially for an English audience.
This unique cultural experiment will be conducted by children from a network of youth theatre guilds following an adaptation of the Ram Lila by a three-member team which is currently in India and has-experienced the manner in which the Ram Lila is staged here.
The team comprising story writer Eileen Murphy, music composer Simon Lanzon and costume designer Jacqueline Leech has been appointed by the Shropshire Education authority to research into the Ramayana and the Ram Lila under the Shropshire-Punjab cultural exchange programme. Already Baisakhi and Divali have been celebrated at Shropshire. Next year they will celebrate Dasehra.
The team, which is resolved to bring out the universality in the Ram Lila, says it has been struck by the belief of the people in the epic. Eileen says, At one staging the chief producer invited us backstage and we had the privilege of seeing actors doing puja before the curtain camp. I have to find a way to portray the intensity of conviction and feeling of the people, but I cannot base my adaptation on belief as English students brought up in an entirely different atmosphere will be watching it.
All team members are fascinated by the peoples participation in the Ram Lila and the manner in which it is staged. This is the aspect the producers want to highlight the most. Everywhere we went we got new insights into the epic which is so big and varied, say Eileen. Three is a lot of excitement as it deals with gods, demons, heaven, earth and even the nether world. What is even more surprising is that gods sometimes seem human in their ambitions making the tale more easy to relate to.
Eileen goes on to say that people may differ as to what the actual message of the epic is, but she feels it can be construed to be working towards an ideal world which is relevant the world over.
Jacqueline says though very few people in England know about the epic, she can relate it to the present times. Today we may not have gods and demons, but an equal amount of destruction as portrayed in the epic can be done with the weapons of mass destruction available now, she adds.
The team during its visit, which is facilitated by the exchange convener in Punjab, Rajpal Singh, sadly feels that there is no room for women in the epic staged in the country even though Sita is the pivot in the epic. While Jacqueline says more women should be allowed to take part in the Ram Lila, Eileen says, Eileen says, Whatever may be the ongoing tradition in India, my task is to write an adaptation of Sita which young persons in England can relate to.
She has noted that the affluent class has a tendency to look down upon the Ram Lila performances. Perseverance of the oral tradition is a must in a country where very few read the written text, she says.
All three have already started working subconsciously on their adaptation. Eileen, who has already read two texts of the epic before coming here, is clear she has to adapt the Ram Lila for an English audience while retaining its universality and essence.
Simon says he will be using the latest state of the art digital technology mixed with traditional Indian instruments, specially the harmonium and percussion instruments. Jacqueline says, I dont think I will copy the Ram Lila costumes as they will appear too alien for English children, but I will definitely be borrowing from these.
says the Ram Lila will be staged at various places in
England. We hope our tour is successful, they
say, and when asked if they will like to bring it to
India, add, That will be a dream come true.
An evening of Kishore
BUDDING singers of the region vied for a berth in Kishore Kumar Award competition 98 at a musical evening organised by the Majlis Journalists and Artistes Association at Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh, last Tuesday.
The theatre reverberated with hit songs of Kishore, the legendary Bollywood star with a difference, as singers paid tributes to the immortal artiste. The unique and unparalleled style of Kishore is difficult to imitate, yet the young singers showed their best. Contesting for the top three awards (Rs 5,100, Rs 3,100 and Rs 2,100) were 15 singers short-listed from among the 60-odd singers, who had responded to the competition.
The packed theatre was a proof of Kishores popularity. The audience occasionally joined the singers by clapping. The evening was brought alive by a 12-member orchestra. Though some singers showed signs of nervousness, the others showed how hard they had worked to come up to a certain level.
Reeta Sharma, the compere, narrated several lesser known aspects of the multi-faceted personality of Kishore recalling ancedotes from his personal and professional life. It was amazing to know that Kishores Dur Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein movie was a one-man show, he himself having produced, directed, acted, composed music and sung the song penned by himself.
The audience was surprised to learn that Kishore and his elder brother, Ashok Kumar, another legendary figure, had changed their names after once Kishore fell ill so as to save him from evil.
While competitors sweated it out to the accompaniment of live orchestra, guest singers Brijesh Ahuja and Parminder Marwah regaled the audience with some difficult classical numbers thus stealing the show. Their rendering of Babu samjho ishare..., Ek chatur naar... and Koi hamdam na raha... rent the air.
The three winners were Bijon Nath (Chandigarh) who won the first prize for his song, Koi lauta de mere bite huye din...; Shashank (Patiala) got the second prize for Ghoongru ki tarah bajta hi raha...; and Rajesh Randhawa (Amritsar) was the third winner with his song Main hoon jhoom, jhoom jhoom jhoomru... number.
The Chandigarh Administration Home Secretary, Ms Anuradha Gupta, who was the chief guest, praised the association for encouraging young men and organising the evening. She was so carried away by the performances that she announced five consolation prizes of Rs 1,000 each as a token of appreciation on behalf of the Administration.
IT was a memorable moment for Shimla-based shayars when the chief guest of the Qause Quzah evening, Dada Sahib Phalke Award-winner film lyricist and Urdu poet Majrooh Sultanpuri left his chair and joined the other poets on the dais at Gaiety Theatre last week. Majrooh had specially come from Chandigarh to Shimla to be the chief guest of the Qause Quzah cultural evening which presented a mushaira and some ghazals and folk songs. The function was organised by the local cultural society, Munir Cultural Forum, in collaboration with the HP Art Language and Culture Department.
Attired in a black achkan and white churidar, octogenarian Majrooh left the audience spellbound with his youthful fervour and energy. The famed lyricist stated, If I have to present my poems, I would prefer sitting on the dais as everybody is equal in the world of shayari. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal presided over the function. He honoured the poet with a Himachali cap and a shawl. Later the Chief Minister too joined the poets on the stage.
Majrooh commenced with his ghazal sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Hum hain mataye kucha-o bazar ki tarah.... He said art was not a commodity meant for the purpose of selling. Through his next rendering he exhorted people to do their work with dedication and boldly face the challenges they encountered in daily life. The poet-cum-lyricist got a wild applause when he presented his shair: Majrooh likh rahen hain woh ahle waffa ke naam, hum hi khare huey hain gunahgar ki tarah....
Earlier local poets, Shabab Latif and Karamchand Ruswa, presented their ghazals. Shabab Latif lauded Majrooh for his contribution to the film industry and recited some of his famous ghazals and shairs including Main akela hi chala tha, jaan-e-manzil magar, log saath aate gaye aur caravan banta gaya...
Compere Parvesh Jassal gave an excellent account of his Urdu oratory skills.
Later, while talking to this writer immediately after the programme, Majrooh said it was his first visit to Shimla. He was thrilled by the audience response. He stated, I have liked coming to Shimla. I must say the audience has made me much bigger than what I am in reality.
said he had completed 80 years on October 1. Since old
age did not permit him to travel alone, he had come with
his daughter, who incidentally happens to be music
director Naushads daughter-in-law.
Show with a difference
IT was an evening with a difference as deaf and dumb artistes from Shimla and Delhi enthralled the audience with a variety entertainment programme and a fashion show at Gaiety Theatre recently.
The event was the friendship evening organised by the Shimla Deaf Friendship Club to commemorate the 41st International Day of the Deaf and the Disabled. The programme signified that the disabled too were talented and capable of performing with zeal and confidence before an audience. The Friendship Club was formed 17 months ago in Shimla by Mr Arun C. Roy and his German wife after the birth of their eldest daughter who is disabled by birth.
The programme commenced with two mimes by a young deaf artiste, Arun, who gave an excellent account of his mimickry skills. In the first mime Arun depicted how a traffic constable behaved when he was tired. In the second mime he depicted a small boy flying a kite in the green fields. This was followed by a beautiful dance performance by a seven-year-old girl. Gyandendra, an interpreter, translated the actions and expressions into a sign language for the deaf.
The next item was a play, Raaste ka Patthar, which conveyed that it was the duty of all children to help those suffering and undergoing a trauma.
However, the major attraction of the evening was a unique fashion show presented by deaf models of Shimla and Delhi. They left the audiences spellbound as they sayshayed down the ramp with grace and elegance. The fashion show had two sequences the traditional saree round and the western dress round. The fashion show gained significance as deaf Ms Delhi, Shweta, participated. The second model, Babita, too impressed audience with her catwalk. Incidentally, Babita is a gold medalist of the Deaf Olympics held recently. The combination of beauty and brains worked in a perfect combination during the fashion show with models dancing to Western tunes.
Later, Mr Roy, chairman of the Shimla Friendship Club, highlighted the activities of the club which was striving to draw the attention of society towards the problems faced by the deaf community. They needed a forum to exhibit their talent and channelise their energy for constructive purposes.
Audioscan by ASC
Daler tries out slower numbers
TUNAK TUNAK TUN (Magnasound; Rs 65): Daler Mehndis songs are known for their frenzied beat and the potential to be popular mainly on the dance floor. But with several mega hits under his belt he has gained enough confidence to try out some slower numbers as well. The result may not translate into unqualified success but is quite a refreshing change.
Both Har din tadapte hain ... and Sun veh mahiya ... focus on the longing and the pain of parting. While in the former Yogesh has partnered Daler in doing the lyrics, the latter has been written by Daler and Sanjeev Anand. The background music of the latter has come out very well. Naturally, these are not the kind of songs which will burn the dance floor but should contribute in Dalers growth as a singer.
In fact, Dhol mahiya ... and Jalwa ... are also medium pacers. As if to compensate for this slowdown, the other songs are exceptionally fast paced. The title song (Tunak tunak tun ...) and La la dum dum ... have a pulsating beat and are surefire winners.
The music is by Ravi Pawar and Daler Mehndi.
LOVE STORY 98 (Venus; Rs 35): Bappi Lahiri never stops surprising you. No, the reference is not to his shimmering dresses and necklaces which would look equally good on a cow, but his versatility. With this film, he has also become a story writer and producer. We are not sure about his performance in the story and production departments, but as a music director he has done a fairly interesting job.
The first noticeable point is that he has thrust himself as a singer as never before, featuring as he does in as many as four of the songs. In one of them, his son Bappi Lahiri sings along with him. Another coup that he has managed is making Boy George to sing for him. When will you learn ... has been sung by the rebel singer with gusto. Boy George and Bappi have penned it also. How well it goes with Indian listeners remains to be seen.
The song with a brighter future is Chachi o chachi ... by Apache Indian (who has also done the lyrics along with Sunil Jha). Amidst this kind of mayhem, the rest of the songs like Kali kali ankhonwali ... (Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan) and Meri pahli tamanna tum ho ... (Kumar Sanu, Mithu Ahmed) are hardly in focus.
BANDHAN (Venus Supreme): In Major Saab, Adesh Shrivastava had contributed just one song but Ek Punjaban dil chura ke le gayee ... went on to overshadow all others. That seems to have spread the trend of having two separate music directors. Of the six songs here, three have been composed by Anand Raj Anand and three by Himesh Reshammiya. As far as the lyrics are concerned, we have Bhairav Arun, Sudhakar Sharma, Dev Kohli, and Rajesh Malik.
song is in two versions. The happy version
has been sung by Shashwati and Kumar Sanu and the sad one
is a solo by Kumar Sanu. Balle balle ... (Alka Yagnik,
Sapna Awasthi and Abhijeet) is a typical dance number.
For the lovers of sober songs, there is Tere naina mere
nainon ki ... (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Udit Narayan) and
for those desirous of more peppy ones, we have Swetha
Shetty shrieking (sorry, singing) Main deewani main
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