Swati Sinha and Carolin Dassel do their bit for the arts
Creative are the ways in which artistes strive to keep interest in their art alive. Trained under Guru Rajendra Gangani, Swati Sinha has been teaching Kathak for six years and is disappointed when her students achieve a fine level of proficiency, only to drop out when they reach the Board classes in school. They never return to dance, says Swati, “not even to watch a programme.” Some years ago she began presenting “Rivaayat”, an evening of Kathak.
“The programme is for students who don’t want to pursue dance even as a hobby,” she says. To woo them back to the art, she says, “I put them all on stage. This is the only cultural programme they attend.” The second part to the strategy is to invite a guest artiste. This year it is Carolin Dassel, the Munich-based Kathak dancer and filmmaker.
“I want to show them, here is a person who is not born into the culture and cannot make a living out of it, but is still carrying on with it,” explains Swati. Carolin, a disciple of the late Guru Rohini Bhate, later came under the tutelage of Rajendra Gangani. While training with Rohiniji in Pune, she made a documentary film on her guru, “Kal aur Avakash — Time and Space”.
Carolin, who began learning Kathak in Germany under Amrit Stein, a senior disciple of Rohini Bhate, came to Pune in 2000. She was then a student of cinema studies and alongside learning Kathak from the veteran, planned to make a film on her. After two months, when it was time for her film crew to arrive, recalls Carolin, she gingerly reminded her guru, who had been hoping Carolin had forgotten about it!
Despite her misgivings, the guru came across perfectly natural in the film. “It’s a very personal film — her life and art and a lot about her philosophy,” says Carolin, who also produces feature films. “It’s also very much about what the core of art is. A lot of people can relate to it.”
“Rivaayat” takes place on October 6 at 6.30 p.m., LTG auditorium, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi. The film will be screened on Sunday in Gurgaon. For info: 9810015535