|ARTS TRIBUNE||Friday, March 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
Call of the camera beckons again
Away from the gloom
Exceptionally gifted, cast in a classical mould of beauty, Pratibha Prahlad is born for dance. Her tall and graceful form enlivened by large eloquent eyes and a winsome smile speak for her alluring stage presence. Her dance is an effulgence of both mind and matter. Pratibha is an exponent of Bharatanatyam. Her vivacity, flair for rhythm, flourish in movements and eloquence in expression at once impresses connoisseurs and laymen alike. Pratibha’s mercurial, vibrant and fiercely independent mind reflects itself in every pore of her being. Her warm, friendly person gives her a delightful appeal both on and off stage. Unlike many other famous performers, Pratibha does not fly off the handle when there is mismanagement before her programmes as it happened in Ludhiana where she was to perform under the auspices of SPICMACAY. The change of venue delayed start of her programme, but she remained cool and dignified.
Pratibha is a truly versatile dancer. She combines in herself various roles of a performer, teacher, choreographer, researcher, cultural organiser, arts administrator and mediaperson to all of which she brings exacting standards, leading to an optimum aesthetic experience. She is M. Phil in English and Masters in mass communication. She told students of the Government College for Women where she performed that that was the condition her parents imposed on her — a good education before she took up dance as a profession. She also writes for newspapers.
Her passionate belief in the strength of traditional forms combined with a contemporary understanding of both print and television media make Pratibha a modern-day "art crusader".
Pratibha initially trained in Bharatanatyam with her Guru, Prof, U. S. Krishna Rao and studied further under renowned Gurus V.S. Muthuswamy Pillai, Kalanishi Narayanan and Dr Vempati Chinna Satyam. Pratibha is also a consummate artiste in the Kuchipudi style of dance.
She was witnessed performing a new piece of choreography titled "Sita’s Parellel Realities." She said "I am going to present Ramayana from Sita’s point of view. I have resourced the material from 15 texts. It is generally conceived that Sita was a meek and an obedient woman who suffered in silence. But actually she knew her destiny. There was a kinetic quality in telling the story of Rama, that is why she was strong, self-born and self-dissolved. How can a person who chooses the time of her birth and death be weak? She was physically, mentally and emotionally strong. Rather Valmiki had also said that he was writing "Sitarayana" as without her Rama’s story would not have been complete.
Pratibha further said she was often termed as ‘rebel’ or ‘fire brand’ as she was always experimenting while remaining in the traditional boundaries of the dance. Earlier, she had experimented by composing a Sringara Shuchi Ujwaal, a celebration of love. In this she took poets of different languages and from different eras, and bound them by a narrative in English so as to blend the poetry of one region and era to another. At the instance of the Department of Culture, Government of India, Pratibha choreographed yet another ‘dance theatre’ — "Radha Vishada" as a tribute to the golden jubilee of India’s Independence.
Pratibha has been running an institute called Prasidha Foundation in Delhi. They organise festivals of dance and music. She is on the Cultural Board of Government of India and Karnataka.
The advent of television was a setback to the dance as people preferred watching the idiot box, but soon people realised that the culture of India should not be allowed to perish. Again the girls started learning the dance. There was rejuvenation of this dance. Moreover, many senior Bhartanatyam dancers opened ‘dance schools’ in Western countries and they have proved to be very lucrative. Even the NRIs who come to get married prefer girls who know the dance as they can set up schools abroad. But it is amazing how the modern generation only know about one kind of ‘stars’ and that are film stars. When asked if they knew any violinist , prompt came the reply — Shah Rukh Khan in "Mohabbatein".
Pratibha felt that there would be
erosion of cultural values as the youth are more influenced by the
West. She said the responsibility lay on the older generation to
encourage the younger ones to know more about their culture by taking
them to live concerts. SPIC MACAY was doing an excellent job in
promoting Indian culture music and dance by organising shows of
performing artists before the students. At least the students learn
about their cultural heritage and when they grow up they want to keep
to their traditions or they will become rootless sans any identity.
the camera beckons again
She is a beautiful and upcoming actress struggling to make her mark in Bollywood after her debut in Sawan Kumar Tak’s "Mother" with Rekha in the title role. The name Sanobar Kabir may not ring a bell instantly, but her sterling performance in the presence of one of Bollywood’s leading divas cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
The young starlet is heaving a sigh of relief, now that she has been noticed again. She is the lead model for the music videos of Punjabi pop singer Satwinder Bugga’s latest album "Kudi Punjaban Lagdi Ae". The videos, which have been directed by Colossus, are getting a good response.
Sanobar has the ability to break into a charming smile any time.
The struggling actress and model has enough reason to flash her smile often these days. The videos have resulted in reasonably good sales of the album. She feels nice about it as she has always wanted to make acting her career.
Venus Music Company has offered her two videos of Ram Shankar and Sapna Awasthi. Besides this, she is also doing four feature films.
Her forthcoming films include "Dil Bhi Kya Cheez Hai" opposite Vinay Anand and "Angaar — the Fire" opposite Faisal Khan. She is also doing Ratna Kumar’s Tamil film.
From films to music albums and then back to films is a sign of progress, she says. She will love to do more music albums in the future, besides acting assignments. She has learnt a lot from working with Colossus.
Sanobar does everything with
conviction and the resolve to excel. She endeavours to leave no scope
for complaint about her efforts. Totally committed and professional,
she gives her best shot to whatever she does.
The radio waves and TV screens have recently been so dominated by political intolerance and violence of the most horrific kind, that perhaps viewers needed something human, warm and cheerful to make them feel relaxed and normal again. And I think nothing could be as cheering, and as much fun, as the NDTV produced programme ‘Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai’, which is to be telecast from March 22 on Fridays at 9 p.m. for 52 weeks, a whole year on Zee TV. Producer Sucharita Ghosh has made a fine job of it.
Admittedly, the combination makes us do a double take. Old rivals Murdoch and Subhas Chandra teaming up? Adversity, goes the old saying, makes strange bedfellows. But I think that does not have anything to do with it, if one goes by commonsense. Unhealthy rivalry has done a lot of harm to television in India, as indeed, it has in several parts of the world. All sorts of political and other pressures are going on right now in Russia and Italy. And some good programmes are also falling by the wayside because some TV moghul thought they were not commercial or sexy enough. Such was the fate of the excellently produced and acted ‘Ji Mantriji’, which suddenly vanished off the Star Plus screens without a trace or an explanation, to the dismay of discriminating viewers. The operative word here is discriminating, which is the TV moghul’s equivalent of poor relations. Personally I am tired of the enormous doses of daily programmes on the cinema- we who view outside South India get our eyeful and earful of the most monotonous look-alike interviews and instant analyses on Ye Olde Mumbai cinema, which seems to be the TV moghul’s over-worked, over-rated and over-tired formula for always debatable TV ratings. The underclad, fast-talking nymphets who anchor them are as boring as the so-called experts.
I have had a sneak preview of the first programme in the series, the idea behind which is to confront celebrities with people from their past. The show is done live and without warning of who will pop up and the element of surprise worked. Shah Rukh Khan is a relaxed and warm TV personality, the anchor Farroukh Sheikh is also relaxed and a natural for TV. Shah Rukh seemed totally sincere in his reactions to his old school and college pals, to his theatre guru Barry John and his teacher from St Columbus, Father de Souza, as were their reactions and comments about him. I must confess I found the programme refreshing, different and great fun. Others coming up are Manisha Koirala, Saurav Ganguly and Laloo Prashad Yadav.
Sushma Swaraj came off with flying colours in her live, unedited interview on PTV, a mixture of what I can only describe as aggressive diplomacy and statesmanship which took care of the young, sophisticated and highly professional interviewers, a change from the hamfisted ones who usually confront Indian politicians. That Ms Swaraj spoke such classy Urdu must have been as big a surprise to Pakistani viewers as it was to this columnist.
DD’s new "cultural" channels is a proper mess. No published programmes, hardly any presentation. But it was pleasing to find classical Indian music retrieved from its rich archives but mostly forgotten. Finding musicians such as Rajan and Sajan Mishra and others in lively jugal bandi with a sitar player and others and hoping there would be a fixed time for such recitals, I found, E. Alkazi talking about the paintings of Rabindranath Tagore and Amrita Shergil. And after midnight one gets such oddities as morning exercises and, believe it or not, programmes for children. No wonder DD invariably falls on its face.
DANCE OF SHAKTI (Music Today): Prem Joshua is an unusual artiste who uses several instruments of the East and the West to create exceptional fusion music. Meditation attracted him to India and here he learnt to play the sitar and the flute fluently. He also plays the saxophone, dilruba, santoor and swarmandal, integrating elements of jazz, Indian raga, Arabic folk and African music. In 1990, Prem joined hands with kora player Ravi and other international musicians to form the band "Terra Incognita". They released two albums and performed throughout Europe and India. In 1993 Joshua released his first solo album, "Tales of a Dancing River."
In "Dance of Shakti" he has created an outstanding mélange of Eastern and Western musical influences to express the beauty and mysticism of Shakti, a form of Goddess Durga. It reflects peace and good vibes.
He presents powerful mantras using the sitar, the bamboo flute and electrifying grooves merged with earthy vocals.
The combined effect is capable of taking the listener to another level of consciousness. Sounds that he generates here are different from those heard in his previous albums done with Music Today, and yet, there is an amazing, haunting continuity about the whole process.
PARWAAZ-SARGAM (Sara): Punjab has singers by the bushel. Most of them confine themselves to rendering popular dance numbers. The list of serious, quality singers not catering to mass demands is woefully short. A new name has been added to this list with the launch of this album, not one of whose eight songs panders to unrefined taste. Pammi Hanspal has sung instead the poetry of Rajvinder Singh, a noted poet from Kapurthala now settled in Germany. Rajvinder now writes mostly in German but his first love continues to be Punjabi. The philosophy and depth of his thoughts have been given adequate flight by Hanspal’s voice and Sanjeev-Santosh’s music.
Since it is his maiden attempt, there are many rough edges visible, but Hanspal would perhaps rectify them as he gains more confidence. What is noteworthy is that he promises to sing only high-quality poetry.
This is not an album to be heard at one go. Instead, each creation has to be savoured at leisure to be able to finetune to the lofty thoughts of Rajvinder. It opens promisingly with Main jhund darakhtan da ban jawan, tun ban ke pawan mur mur awen … and lives up to the promise right through, till it comes to a close with equally powerful Aewen kade jo shauk wich ….
It is hoped that this album will encourage other artistes to focus on quality poetry instead of "tukbandi" of dubious quality.
PAARO (Universal): Malkit Singh got phenomenal success with Tutak tutak tutiyan … way back in 1988 but Lady Luck has refused to smile so indulgently again although he has cut many more albums since then. Gud nalon ishq mittha… too had an excellent run but was nowhere near the original hit.
He is trying to break the jinx with this album which is an out and out dance item. Since the music is directed by Jawahar Wattal, its beat is robust and foot-tapping.
The fly in the ointment is that at times it tends to be too "desi" to be able to appeal to audiences outside Punjab. For instance, a non-Punjabi-speaking listener may not be able to even comprehend what Daaru peeni bakre bulaone … is all about. Since Punjabi cassettes become big hits only if they win over listeners all over India and abroad, Malkit will have a tough time living up to Tutak tutak expectations.