On the birth centenary of Nanaji Deshmukh, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Art (IGNCA)and Deendayal Research Institute organised the Lok Gatha Utsav during 28th November to 3rd December. This was a display of the rich heritage of folk music, dance and art in India. IGNCA fused deftly fused the essentially folk culture festival with the modern. Hence, a host of star performers such as Mohit Chauhan, Hans Raj Hans and Manoj Tiwari also participated and sang at the event.
The IGNCA lawns were beautifully decorated with colourful masks and festoons. The whole place looked like a lavish village fair. 500 folk artists from all over the country were invited for showcasing the rich traditional cultural heritage of India. They came in processions and performed concurrently on the lawns. So many different music – dance – martial art forms in all their colourful and energetic glory set the whole area on fire. The visitors were awestruck and after a point the shutterbugs gave up clicking just to enjoy the grand show. We shall carry the images of Shattriya dancers, Chhau dancers from Bengal and Orissa, folk dancers from Chhatisgarh, Himachal or Maharashtra and South Indian actors donning the costumes of Hindu Gods with us for very long. The melange of diverse but joyful music added with the mind boggling performances sprouting at every corner of the lawns gave us goose bumps.
In addition, there were traditional food courts, craft stalls, textiles crafts workshop, and puppet shows during the event. We had chai and pakoras at the food court and also kachoris. Apart from the pebble that we found in the pakoras, rest was all good. The craft stalls had various rare folk work in their traditional and improvised versions. While we keep seeing crafts in various exhibitions in Delhi or Surajkund, what we saw at IGNCA was unique and had a certain spontaneity about it.
In fact uniqueness and spontaneity are two rare traits about the Lok Gatha Utsav and quite something we have not seen before. There was another lovely event concurrently running here – Leela . This was an lovely exhibition on Ram Leela performances and we visited that as well.
We look forward to enjoying the joie de vivre of Indian folk art and culture at the next edition of Lok Gatha Utsav.