FRIDAY REVIEW

Fostering the arts

Anant Chinchansur's (right) dance school has seen an astonishing growth in recent times.

Anant Chinchansur's (right) dance school has seen an astonishing growth in recent times.  

UNLIKE CITIES of Bangalore and Mysore, which encourage young children to learn traditional music and dance such as Bharatanatya, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam through formal classes and training schools, children in places like Gulbarga are deprived of similar opportunities. The neglect of these traditional arts in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region also has historical reasons. The arts of the old Mysore region and the Bombay-Karnataka region received patronage under the British rule, but the Hyderabad Karnataka region which was under the repressive rule of the Nizam did not enjoy the same encouragement or appreciation for traditional forms of music and dance.

Although the Muslim rulers had a history of encouraging the arts, particularly music and dance, unfortunately in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, traditional art forms were only given secondary importance.

Even now, the original settlers in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region give more preference to Hindustani Music and exponents of the Hindustani music enjoy more recognition than their Carnatic counterparts. Except for occasional concerts of Hindustani music organised by institutions like the Nutan Vidyalaya Education Society, music or dance concerts are a rarity in Gulbarga.

For the entertainment starved people of the city, the occasional music concerts and dance programmes organised by Nutan Vidyalaya Education Society come as a welcome change from the monotony of daily life. One would not believe that Gulbarga district, considered to be the second largest in the state does not have even a single music or dance sabha.

However, these traditional arts are slowly finding a place in the life of people in this region, thanks to the initiatives taken by people who have migrated to Gulbarga from places like Bangalore and Mysore.

Like a small oasis in the vast expanse of the desert, a few music schools like the Varna Sindhu Nrutya Kala Kendra run by the noted Bharatanatya teacher Anant Chinchansur have opened new avenues and opportunities for young children to learn the nuances of traditional art forms. Established in 1996 with just seven children in its rolls, the Kendra has established an astonishing growth with more than 75 children of different age groups from six to 25 enrolling themselves in different training courses in different dance forms.

Anant Chinchansur, working as a clerk in Irrigation Department in Gulbarga is himself an ardent student of Narmada, a Bharatanatya exponent and teacher of repute. He has also undergone training in Kathak and choreography in Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography in Bangalore, under the watchful eyes of gurus Maya Rao, Chitra Venugopal and the late Sri Gopal Rao of Hyderabad.

The wards of Varna Sindhu Nrutya Kala Kendra have given performances in various centres and Chinchansur has won many awards and prizes at national and state level dance competitions — just proving that there is an eager and attentive audience ready to embrace these art forms.

Besides providing training at the Kendra, Chinchansur also provides regular dance coaching to the children in the Sangameshwar Mahila Mandal and visits Raichur once in a week to teach students there.

Although Gulbarga may have lagged behind in nurturing the growth of music and dance, the influx of art lovers and connoisseurs to the city is helping gradually mould its residents into a discerning audience.

T.V. SIVANANDAN

Recommended for you