Bollywood robbing classical dance of originality: Kathak exponent Vaswati Misra

An image of Vaswati Misra during one of her performances
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By Mudita Girotra

New Delhi–The originality of classical dance forms is getting lost because of the influence of Bollywood and alteration of the conventional patterns, according to noted Kathak exponent Vaswati Misra.

“The authenticity of the forms is getting lost because of Bollywood and dilution (from the original). People are chasing Western forms and they don’t know about the hard work that has been put in to take these forms to such a high level. Nobody has the right to deface them,” the classical dancer told IANS during her Dhwani academy’s annual “Aadi- Anant” show here on Monday.

An image of Vaswati Misra during one of her performances
An image of Vaswati Misra during one of her performances

Misra appreciated the efforts by students of Pandit Shambu Maharaj Academy who performed at “Aadi- Anant”, saying: “In today’s world, so filled with distractions and easy access to amusement, I am filled with wonder that there are so many young children and young adults who with great passion have devoted themselves to the classical arts.”

She talked about the classical forms having originated to develop aesthetics and why they deserve a lot of importance and value.

“Classical forms were established to develop aesthetics among the people. Performing arts/classical art forms have the power to change the entire perspective of life.”

“That’s why I always say that no matter if anybody takes it professionally or not, but everybody should be familiar with it as it develops a perspective towards life,” Misra said, adding: “Nobody has the prerogative to ruin such a rich heritage and its greatness.”

Misra, who has collaborated with a variety of people from world music and literature, felt that it was all about keeping a balance.

“It is about giving the correct space to every form and using the form without de-forming, keeping it intact and fusing and making it look aesthetically beautiful.

“I don’t believe in the kind of classical forms used in reality shows and I find the entire field disturbing,” she said.

“We need to create the confidence in the next generation that these are your forms. You are the ambassadors who have to keep them intact,” she added.

“I don’t have complaints against anyone because I have so much of confidence in our work. I see people from families who have no connection with classical dance coming to us. Not just the child who learns the form but the whole family’s perspective gets changed because of the classical form.

“Our (Dhwani’s) intention is to document and to pass over the authenticity of the forms to the next generation and to create interest in every student. Whether it is a child or an adult, the learner should be so passionate about it and learn out of sheer passion not out of compulsion,” Misra concluded. (IANS)



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