Sundeep Bhutoria

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Art and culture in Jaipur

It has been more then 10 days now since I am in the Pink City and in my favourite Kishangarh Suite at the Rajputana Sheraton.
Whenever I visit Rajasthan, most of the time I meet and catch up with politicians and bureaucrats. But as I got involved in the city's art and cultural scene, I thought it would be good to meet and interact with some of Jaipur's civil society members engaged in artistic pursuits. I had a good meeting with Mita Kapoor, a well-know woman activist, who runs an organisation here in Jaipur called Syayi.
On Sunday, I watched a play `Adhe Adhure' at the Clarks Amer Jaipur hosted by Syasi. The play was written by Mohan Rakesh and staged by Mohan Aghase, Lillette Dubey and her daughter Ira Dubey.
Mohan Rakesh wrote this play almost three decades back, but the story of the play is relevant even today. The acting was par excellence with two of India's top theatre artists, Aghase and Lillette, performing.
Before going to the play, I went to the inauguration of another school of Step By Step Group. The Step By Step chain of schools is the brain child of Jayshree Periwal who has given the city's education scenario a new direction and momentum. This one, a pre-primary school, was yet another addition to her series of schools.
I was very impressed by the school facilities for 70 to 75 students. I met Rajiv Arora and other members of Jaipur Virasat Foundation there. The Jaipur Virasat Foundation was the progenitor body of Jaipur Literary Festival. In between the school inauguration and the play, I squeezed out a little time to meet Ms Faith Singh - the most popular name in Rajasthan in matters of art, culture and literature. She is the one who had started the Jaipur Virasat Foundation.
A Briton who married a Rajput John Singh, a cousin of Maharaja of Jaipur, revived Jaipur's traditional heritage and culture. She is also known as the lady who started the Anokhi Cafe. I don't think too many people know about the fact that she started the Jaipur Virasat Foundation, Jodhpur Folk Festival or Jodhpur Riff and of course the idea of Jaipur Literary Festival.
Faith now lives in Beas, Punjab, and does a lots of things for a better tomorrow. She has never travelled to Kolkata. She told me that she wanted to visit Kolkata – a city where culture flows in its very veins.
When I extended her an invitation to visit Kolkata, she took a long breath and said
There is so much to do and so many places to visit, let's see.
I was lucky to meet Faith in this time as she was visiting the city just for a day. I must thank Ms Bhavna Jagwani, whom I met by chance at a social gathering. She was extremely kind to take me to Faith. Bhavna herself is a social activist engaged with the visually challenged persons. Bhavna and her husband Ashok invited me for an evening at their house where I met Manesha Agarwal. She was introduced to me as a singer but as the evening stretched into night, I realized that she was the lady who brought out the CD and DVD `Padharo Mahre Desh' – a song that is sung like the anthem for all tourist functions in the state. Her CD and DVD has the voice of Jagjit Singh, Ustad Sultan Khan, Viswa Mohan Bhatt, Roop Kumar Rathore and many others besides her own voice. Even Maharaj Gajsingh of Jodhpur also features in the DVD. I was looking for this DVD in Delhi and Kolkata for the past one year without success. Thanks to Manesha for sending a set to me.
ess bee

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