|ART TRIBUNE||Friday, January 14, 2000, Chandigarh, India|
to the cause of art
Vani remembering Bhaskar
Devoted to the cause of art
AT an exhibition held recently in the spacious hall of the Indusland Art Gallery of Chandigarh, were the paintings and metallic and terracotta sculptures of Hargopal Jhamb, a veteran artist based at Panchkula. The artist had chosen a wide variety of creative predilections to display his extraordinary talent.
Realism seems to be the essence of his work. His exotic paintings depicting varied themes strike the viewers as much for their unusual subject matter as the artists treatment of them. He has devoted a considerable part of his works to religion.
But the most characteristic among Hargopals works is the theme of the Indus Valley civilisation which he has depicted in his paintings as well as sculptures. His creations depicting the ancient civilisation of the Indus Valley are particularly expressive and realistic as he has brought to us, in dazzling lights and colours, on his canvases the images of the era goneby.
Besides, there are also certain eternal social themes running throughout his work. In one of his paintings, he has depicted a village belle expressing the triumphant joy of life. From the smile on her frank, open face to the wind-tossed folds of her dress, she expresses freedom and asserts the joy of life.
Some of his works have an incisive social slant. For instance, in some of his paintings he has depicted the oppression and exploitation of the Indian woman in modern society. In yet other paintings, he has highlighted the evils of begging and superstition prevailing in our society.
Diversity and splendour have been the hallmarks of his works. Each of his paintings is a masterpiece of penetration and individual in its composition and treatment. In each piece, Hargopal has managed to capture the subjects inner character and typify it with his own style. In each case, he has found precisely the right range of colours and the typical gesture.
The colour scheme of his paintings is based on delicate combinations of half-tones into which he has introduced sometimes dazzling reds, greens and yellows. Each brush stroke is worked on until it is perfect, each one differing in touch and intensity of colour, but always carefully integrated into the work as a whole. But behind the apparent casualness of his artistic technique, there is wise simplicity the result of his intensive searching and painstaking work. Faced with such a consummate art, you come away from his exhibition feeling spiritually richer and happier.
Hargopal is a multi-faceted artist. His metallic and terracotta sculptures depicting women in different poses and the Indus Valley civilisation are characterised by extraordinary lyricism, clarity and charm. They are fine examples of grace and naturalness and show that he can wield the chisel as confidently and firmly as he uses the brush. Special mention should be made of the terracotta sculpture of a Kargil widow and the metalic sculpture a dancing woman of the Indus Valley civilisation.
A former Assistant Curator of the Museum and Art Gallery of Chandigarh, Hargopal is a veteran artist who is wholeheartedly devoted to the cause of art. After doing post-graduation in arts from Panjab University, he joined the University of Baroda to study museology. He taught fine arts at Panjab University for quite sometime and contributed substantially towards promoting the art of India.
His publications on miniature paintings have appeared in several Indian and foreign journals. He has also co-authored with Dr B.N. Goswamy for several books on art.
During his tenure as Assistant Curator of the museum in Chandigarh, he was incharge of the miniature paintings section. Later, he did research in catalogue raisanne of Sikh paintings with special attention to the Sikh Gurus in the museum under Dr M.S. Randhawa before proceeding to Nigeria for his foreign assignment.
From 1975 to 1986, Hargopal served there as a Senior Education Officer and Assistant Chief Officer for the Federal Ministry of Education at the invitation of the Government of Nigeria. He exhibited his works in various art galleries and art shows of the country. Some of his paintings and sculptures are now in the collection of several museums.
He recently visited the United States of America and held two solo exhibitions there. He made a huge portrait of Mahatma Gandhi which now adorns the walls of the Indian Community Centre at Rochester in New York. At present, he is working as the Vice-Principal of DAV College of Education for Women at Amritsar.
Although now in his
advanced years, Hargopal still looks on life as alertly
and youthfully as in his younger days, and spends a
considerable part of his time in his studio producing
pieces of art. The secret of his inexhaustible creative
energy and unfading skill lies in the fact that his art
is very close to the people. His imagery is deeply
popular in spirit and so is his conception of man and the
world around him. And, he prides himself in it, when he
puts it smilingly, I am a peoples
Folk artistes live in penury
THE famous Punjabi folk singer, Sakdool Sikander got a bolt from the blue with the release of the music album of the Hindi film, Major Saab. One of the more popular numbers of the film, Sona sona... had been set to the tune of his famous Punjabi number, Mitran ne aaj billo nachna....
Another number from the same movie, Meri nachdi de khul gaye baal..., had also been lifted from an album of another famous Punjabi folk singer and wife of Sakdool Sikander, Amar Noori. However, due to lack of awareness of intellectual property rights and monetary constraints, they could not do anything and their music, though very popular was in someone elses name.
Kali teri gutt te paranda tera laal ni..., which had been rendered immortal in the hearts of the Punjabis in Aasa Singh Mastanas deep and melodious voice, too has been lifted as it is and sometimes, after its remixing, in many a Hindi film.
Says Gurcharan Chan Shahkoti the singer who gave famous songs like Dharti guruan peeran di and Gaj ke jaikara bolde....The rediscovery of Punjabi folk music with the advent of Daler Mehandi, Gurdas Mann and their ilk on the Indian music scene, instead of further promoting Punjabi folk music and musicians, has exposed the folk artistes to infringers of intellectual property rights.
His views are supported by Kamal, the lead musician with Kuldeep Manaks troupe. He says lack of government support and no common platform among the folk artistes, where they can air their grievances, paves the way for the slick Bollywood self-styled musicians to steal our tunes or lyrics or both.
Folk artistes also regret that due to the invasion of MTV and Channel V into most of the households in urban as well as rural areas, they are no longer held in high esteem. Says Master Tara Chand, another musician, Earlier, it was only in the cities that we faced the apathy of people. Now, even in the villages, listeners do not want to hear the original folk songs, and demand that we perform the chart-busting Indi-pop numbers. And although it troubles me as a musician to change tracks to this type of music, I have little choice as I have to earn my livelihood.
So, gone are the days of the original folk songs as also the instruments like toombaa. In this era of Indi-pop and Ho gayi balle balle..., there is little space for Toomba ve vajda toombi vi vajdi....
The city of Ludhiana is home to around 250 folk singers and artistes and prominent among them being Kuldeep Manak, Ranjeet Mani, Surinder Chhinda and Mohammad Sadiq. While those in the big league manage to make a respectable living, others face a difficult time in making both ends meet. Subsequently, some of the highly talented musicians and singers have opened up a tea-stall or a shop for selling ice during summers or other such small businesses.
Even musicians of famous singers live a life of penury. Says a disgruntled Daler Punjabi, who works as a musician with one of the most well-reputed singers, Most singers do not take good care of their musicians and pay them poorly, in spite of the fact that it is most often the creativity of the musician in the form of a good musical score that brings them success.
Folk artistes also lament that the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC), cultural organisations or the state Department of Culture are not furthering their cause or the cause of the Punjabi cultural heritage as was expected of them at the time of their conception.
Alleges Daler Punjabi,
Even officials at Jalandhar Doordarshan take money
from singers and musicians for making a programme on
them. Because of these malpractices, a lot of resentment
prevails in the minds of budding folk artistes and this
also proves to be a deterrent to those who have the
talent and want to promote our folk music.
Catch them young
IT is necessary to catch them young. With this mind, theatre groups presented plays recently featuring children trained by them to act in and present theatrical productions.
The Sankar Rang Toli, which is the theatre in the Education Company of Asias premier theatre institute the National School of Drama, commenced recently a week-long festival of plays starring children who took part in the Saturday Club and Sunday Club activities of the toli over the past five month. The plays had been divided into different age-groups and featured children aged between eight to 17.
Besides seven Saturday Club productions, the toli presented a show of Khul Ja Sim Sim directed by B.V. Karanth. In addition, two nautankis performed by the ABCD (Association of Broods Creative Development), the childrens wing of Sakshatkar of Allahabad Sarveshwar Dayal Saxenas Laakh ki Naak and Uma Satishs Ek Rahen Aakhar Raam and directed by Satish Chitravanshi were also staged.
Laakh ki Naak is based on a Jataka fable, while Ek Rahen Aakhar Raam emphasises the utility of literacy. Both had children starring in all roles.
poet-turned-writer and now director Satish Chitravanshi
involved actively with theatre since 1970-71, founded his
own theatre company Sakshatkar and then formed the ABCD
in 1980 to encourage creative children in the field of
theatre. He has involved children aged between seven and
16 and presented the plays in nautanki style as children
enjoyed performing them and as it was easier to convey
messages through the medium.UNI
Yuva Vani remembering
THE tragic death of Bhaskar Bhattacharji is a symbol of the strains and stresses in the media world. And also a reminder of the amazing talent which his generation contributed to Indian television.
The last programme in which I saw Bhaskar was in Sanjoy Hazarikas monumental documentary series on the Brahmaputra. Bhaskar was there in impeccable voice, the river itself being an overwhelming presence on the screen. But cool and collected as usual, Bhaskars commentary flowed along as smoothly as the river. He has left many such memorable programmes behind.
And yet, Bhaskar was not the only one. There was a whole generation of budding broadcasters who came out of university around 1976. I often refer to them as The Class of 76 and Rita Mukherjis Yuva Vani boys. With tremendous imagination, Rita Mukherji gave them the freedom of youth. They could challenge even politicians and many sacred cows in the studios. I remember Sunil Sethi and a young girl student giving a very rough time to Dom Moraes. Then there was a whole galaxy of youngsters who started in radio and later crossed over to TV, exploding once and for all the myth that radio performers cannot change over to TV. They can, if they put their radio professionalism into the hard school of TV and pick up its values.
There was Ramu Damodaran, who won an Asian Broadcasting Union award for his radio documentary on student problems at Delhi University. He is now in the foreign service and seconded to the United Nations in New York. There was Arun Jaitley, now Minister for Information and Broadcasting, one of the countrys leading lawyers. Rajiv Mehrotra, also an award winner noted for his in-depth TV interviews and winner of national awards. Komal G.B.Singh, one of Indias leading running commentators. Sunit Tandon, newscaster and commentator. Sunil Sethi, columnist and TV anchor, Siddhartha Basu, now Indias leading quiz-master, anchoring Mastermind India for the BBC. Preet Bedim, now in the world of advertising.
They have all, in some way or another, kept in touch with TV no matter where they are. And had they not been there from the beginning, TV would not have had the shreds of professionalism, sophistication and ever brilliance it still shows at times. I must apologise if I have inadvertently left out some names there were so many of them, but the stamp they have left on TV, beginning with Doordarshans formative stage can never be underestimated. Of course Bhaskar Bhattacharji was also a theatre person. But because TV had such a wide reach, and he played so many parts newscaster, commentator, actor, quiz-master he will be missed all the more. Farewell Bhaskar, we shall remember you and so will crores of TV viewers.
The International Film Festival is in full swing at the time of writing and although its usual ineptitude, bureaucratic verbiage where every minion must go on the stage and make a speech and fading international quality have faced flak elsewhere, I must register a strong protest both from viewers and from the professionals covering it. Unlike in other years, up to the time of writing Doordarshan has filed to screen the festival films for filmgoers outside Delhi because it has failed to transfer them. There is an embargo by which festival films cannot be screened more than three times and foreign producers have been wringing their hands for years about the tattered prints we send back after friends and relatives of the I and B Ministry have had private screenings. It looks as if legitimate viewers will not have them on TV.
The second dispute is about film clips. For some reason, they are not forthcoming as in previous years and to talk about films without showing excerpts has made a mockery of TV coverage. Yet Doordarshan seems to get hold of them. Are the government and festival authorities giving favoured treatment to Doordarshan?
DD normally specialises
in carrying all the speeches by Chief Secretaries, Joint
Secretaries, Secretaries and repetitive ones by the
Director of the Festival who even reads out from material
already circulated. Then let them keep the speeches and
give the film clips to other channels who are starved for
them and always make better use of them. Or let
individual producers distribute their own film clips and
not hand them over to arbitrary Indian bureaucrats to do
what they like.