As a part of the 7th day of Navras 2019 – the performing arts festival of Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK), a ‘Meet the Artist’ session was organized with Indian vocalist, Ms. Smita Bellur. Talking about the value of arts in the Indian education system, Ms. Bellur said that the education system of the country continues to have a very low value of the performing arts as compared to conventional professions. Most classical musicians have day jobs and perform part-time. When one pursues lighter versions of classical music or even Bollywood music they start to make more money. Sadly, today music is not considered an intellectual pursuit by most parents.
Giving her advice to those who desire to pursue music as a profession, Ms. Bellur said that it is essential to be patient while learning as it takes a minimum of 12 years to learn any form of music. Learning is a continuous process and Taleem (education), as well as Riyaz (practice), is an essential part of it. One needs to listen to various forms of music by maestros, veteran singers and even singers from other Gharanas. This will help in understanding diverse forms of music and creating one’s form instead of copying the experts.
Explaining her process of finding a new Sufi Kalam, she further said she reads numerous books and browses websites like Rekhta and Kavita Kosh to find new content. Whenever a piece touches her heart she works further on it and develops it by adding tunes. Sometimes she also introduces various tunes in a single piece of poetry. She always focuses on simple Gayaki (style of singing) that conveys emotion and thought.
Gajab Kahaani by Mohit Takalkar (Theatre)
Later in the evening, play ‘Gajab Kahaani’ by Mohit Takalkar was staged. The play is a loose theatrical adaptation of Jose Saramago’s novel, ‘The Elephant’s Journey’. The story is set in 1551 and follows the transcontinental journey of Solomon, an Indian elephant, and its mahout Subhro as they proceed through various landscapes at an unhurried pace, attended by functionaries and military men. On their journey, they also meet villagers and townsfolk who variously interpret the sudden enigma of an elephant entering their lives. The play aims to lend insight into Solomon’s heart. Throughout the trip, the elephant tries to please Shubhro and their emotional bond becomes one of the many delights of the play.
The play has been adapted by Amitosh Nagpal. The cast of the play included – Geetanjali Kulkarni, Ajeet Singh Palawat, Nakul Bhalla, Alap Vaidya, Anand Potdukhe, Anuj Deshpande, Ashish Pathak, among others. The light design was done by Pradeep Vaiddya and the music design by Puneet Kumar Mishra.