Thiruvananthapuram

A Roma pursuing her Indian connection

Hungarian Roma singer and dancer Gina Rubik reached the city in the middle of the recently concluded International Film Festival of Kerala.

An actor and short film-maker, she wanted to catch up on as many movies as she could.

Her next stop is the Kochi Biennale.

Once she returns to the north of the country, she wants to go back to exploring as much as possible her ‘connection’ with India, even as she pursues her passion for acting and dance.

Gina who performed at Manaveeyam Veedhi on Sunday was born in Budapest to a mathematician mother and physicist father who has worked with Stephen Hawking.

A relative of Rubik’s cube founder Erno Rubik, Gina travelled the world during her childhood, but it was while doing her undergraduate studies in Budapest that she came into contact with an Indian-origin theatreperson Rani Drew.

She started learning Kathak too and soon came into contact with Rajesh Gangani of the Gangani family there, and then Rajendra Gangani, Kathak maestro, who is her guru. She has been learning Kathak for two years now, while she explores other art forms.

Being a Roma, an itinerant group of people living in Europe and the Americas who originated from the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, Gina believes she shares a special relationship with Rajasthan and its people, especially artists. She says she always interacts with the people on the streets, and wants to share her art with them, though she is very aware of the need to make ends meet.

In the professional art world, there is denial of access. So, sharing of art helps prevent this denial. There are some exciting things happening in Roma dance and music, says Gina, with different styles evolving in different places where the Roma have moved to.

Balkan style

“The Balkan style is very active. There is a popular band in Romania, and an orchestra in Macedonia…it is there in Turkey. There are even gypsy pop stars. It is a very live tradition,” she says.

Not many Roma lead itinerant lives and have embraced education and modernity, but in villages, traditional gender rules are still observed.

Crimes, drug, and prostitution are a reality among the Roma.

However, attitudes to them need to change, and they are denied access to facilities, which makes things worse as they resort to crime in a bid to improve their lives. “It is like a vicious circle,” Gina observes.

Government policies towards migrants and gypsies are very discriminatory. “It is almost like a fascist culture. I see this discrimination when I’m looking for movie roles and performances, no matter how educated or talented I am,” says Gina.

Stay united

Gina feels the Roma have to stand united despite their differences, and ta ke an example from India. “We have to connect with India, as it has many initiatives at the artistic level, so that we can go forward with India.”

Gina plans to stay in India for some time and pursue her interests in commercial cinema, besides her passions for dance.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 2:22:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/a-roma-pursuing-her-indian-connection/article25759595.ece

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