Garba and Dandiya Raas @ Lok Utsav: Ecstatically Meditative

Lok Utsav celebrates the folk forms, especially dances of India. It conducts month long classes for Garba and Dandiya in the month preceding Dusshera!

This series of videos are from the final dance evenings coinciding with Dusshera! Every serious dancer gets lost in a state of ecstatic meditation, inexplicable, indescribable. I made sure I am lost 2-3 hours every day in such an exalted state!!

Garba is a form of dance which originated in the state of Gujarat in India. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha and Deep. Many traditional garbas are performed around centrally lit lamp or a picture or an idol of the Goddess Shakti.

Here are my captures… enjoy!  Every video is in 4K HD and I have uploaded all on youtube. Usually, each of the videos will play in low resolution, where in you do not get high clarity. But you will find the settings button (the wheel) on the video when you click on it. Click on the settings button and change the quality to HD resolution (1080p60) so as to watch with highest clarity.

Our heart felt thanks to all our Gurujis who patiently and passionately invested in each one of us during this month long classes.

With great sadness we pay our rich tributes to the most senior guru ji Sri Sudesh Shikari ji, who left on his journey to heavenly abode on the first day of our final performances.

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Ah, I failed to mention, every evening I had a bonus too – over 1200 calories spent! Now that the month long classes are over, I am sure most of the dancers will find the evenings vacuous !  I will surely find another dance class soon to take its place !! 🙂

Our humble thanks to all the organizers, Sandeep and Abhishek to start with, and all the dancers who made it a memorable month. Catch you all, my fellow dancers, very soon!

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Never stop chasing your dreams ! Mallika in the film!!

Never stop chasing your dreams !

A short #film of 2min. This film, ‘#Field In A Box’, features #MallikaNethraSreenivasan. Mallika gives her voice too for the film.

A #dutch conglomerate #TEN CATE,  that is known for advanced materials that make all the difference to humanity through a variety of products – advanced composites, armoury, geo-synthetics, protective fabrics, outdoor fabrics – is also a leader in laying sports #fields of artificial grass.  “Field in a box” is Ten CATE’s community development initiative across the #world through which it creates special, micro-sports-fields near their large sporting-arena projects, as an #inclusive effort, towards #marginals of the society, to #promote #sporting spirit and #nurturing #talent. This film showcases how such endeavours have #impacted the #communities and #societies and urges every #child to chase her #dream!


The talent scouting team of TEN CATE in India was looking for a fresh young girl to cast in the film, and as luck would have it a member of the team landed in one of our good friend, Smita’s home. Smita is the founder of ITIHAAS, that is big time into heritage education of children. It was just a coincidence that while Indira is an integral part of Itihaas in their walks and curriculum development team, I am on their advisory board. Smita, being a theater veteran, was against Mallika being drafted into films at such a young age, and strongly rejected her daughter Ragini’s forceful recommendation of Mallika to the scouting team. Finally Ragini with the help of her aunt, prevailed over Smita to let them approach Mallika and that’s how we got to know about this opportunity.

It was in October 2016, this scouting exercise happened over a few mail exchanges with Mallika’s portfolio that I had shot, with their specifications of looks. Then her voice test etc happened before they finalized her. The producers had some reservations about Mallika’s countenance, as She was 5’7″ at the age of 13 two years ago. Though they were looking for a 13 year old, her personality was much beyond what they had expected. What clinched perhaps is her background in theater (highest level of TIE at National School of Drama that a child can reach) and her national scholarship in classical dance, Bharatnatyam. They were delighted to hear her voice over too.

In November 2016, the filming happened over four days across the slums of Delhi and at the National Stadium, the premier olympic hockey stadium of the nation. What was most taxing for Mallika in the entire film making was the fortnight long training in understanding the basics and playing the game of hockey, under the tutelage of the national women’s hockey coach Saini sir, a Dronacharya awardee. Though Mallika is sporting enough and is a sought after athlete in the events at school, She has never had any sports training of the intensity that Saini sir put her through. Everything, from holding the stick to keeping the ball in play, to repetitive practice of the dribble for a 3-4 hours every day, was tough for Mallika.

Finally the film has been released this month, June 2018. All in all, the whole exercise of making the film gave enough insights to Mallika about the involvement that goes into making of any film – purposefulness, passion, patience, perseverance, hardwork, productivity, effectiveness in delivering in the first go etc… I am sure it will stand in good stead as she embarks upon her journey of life and career.

 

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