Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Performing Arts and Us

Madhuri Dixit's comeback movie, though bit loose in script and the story-line, sums up the importance of arts in our life beautifully. Aaja Nachle brings to surface how the business of expressing oneself (read performing arts) is an integral part of life.

Here's what Aaja Nachle has captured commendably well in the movie:

1)The idea that everyone has an intrinsic desire to have that 'one moment of glory'.

2)That dance can free you of your inhibitions, the idea that everyone can 'show us some jalwa or the other'.

3)That a society needs various forms of recreations. That dance, theatre, music programs and such socio-artistic activities are essential to keep a society in tune with its innate desires to express, relate and emote to situations.

4)That fantasy is an important and necessary element of real life.
5)That art forms can elevate a bored society stuck in the mundane business of life to new energy levels from time to time.

6) And most importantly, the state has a role to ensure that the citizens have enough modes and means to avail entertainment at low costs.

Indian culture (and I am sure all other cultures and countries) ensures that the society at large gets enough ocassions to let their hair down. Celebrations like Govinda handi, the ganpati visarjan parades, durga puja, the garba, garbi, dandiya serve as opportune moments to let the spirit feel free and go wild once in a while.

While these festivals make themselves available only at specific times of the year, our traditional folk arts, songs and dance can furnish a good opportunity to keep in touch with our inner self at our own wish and whims.

My sister and both my cousins are trained Kathak dancers. I couldn't pursue the dance for some reasons and I still regret the loss. Simply to see my sisters practising their dance gave me such a sad tinge of longing, of ineptness and of-course of wide-eyed-awe to see their graceful hand and leg moments. Most inspiring was their joy after finishing a piece beautifully.

Aaja Nachle once again revived that sad tinge of missing out on something. Though I have grown to admire kathak as the most synchronic dance form and I owe the partiality to my sisters; I am sure dance in any form and any manner, if danced from the heart, is a feast to the soul, if not the eyes. Have you read 'Tuesdays with Morrie'?. Well, Morrie used to dance to his heart and I can only imagine the joy he derived from dancing alone.

I end this piece with words of Oscar Wilde:

The only excuse for making a useless
thing is that one admires it intensely.
All art is quite useless.

- Oscar Wilde
Preface to "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

All art is quite useless, yes; only if you consider feeding your soul a useless exercise. :)

-Gauri Gharpure

(Source of quote- Wilde, Oscar, URL- http://www.public.iastate.edu/~garden/art.html, accessed on December 4, 2007)