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So far, the Winter Play Fest disappoints the audience

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karwat-(1)

The ongoing 23 days long, Winter Play Festival organized by the Gaiety Dramatic Society at the Historic Gaiety Theater, the Mall, Shimla, began with the hope of seeing some if not great but still good performances by the all art lovers but the festival kick stared on a very bad note.

From November 14 to 24, plays “Phir yaad aaye papa” by Natyanukriti Theatre Group ; “Rana Zhina” by Active Monal Thratre Kullu ; “Karwat” by Yuva Mandal Bhalavag; “Manto Katghare me” by the Platform Theatre Group Shimla; “The Typist” by Natyakaar Theatre Group Shimla; “Rangnath Ke waapsi” and “Bakri” by Anukriti Rangmandal Kanpur; “Batwaare ke aag” and “Chandan Van Ka Bagh” by Vinod Rastogi Samriti Sansthaan, Allahabad; “Vanka” by Muskaan Theatre Group, Shimla and “Billiya Batiyate hai” by Ab Theatre Group have been staged.

Phir yaad turned out to be too disappointing as inspite of having a sober theme play failed to connect to audience as one of the spectators said, “I slept in the play as the beginning was too boring father kept repeating the same thing which I felt monotonous other than that there was so much fumbling by the actor playing son that I failed to connect.”

On other hand we saw Rana Zhina was based on historic incident that took place in 15 Century in Kullu showcasing the doom of sensible king by the hand of Muchiyani due to ego. While commenting on play, Shweta Sood one of the spectators said, “There were so many scenes in this play so many times there was black out on stage. I personally feel that director could have thought some other way for executing this legendary story without breaking the continuity.”

Karwat based on Manto’s story showcased the hypocrisy and the double standard that exists in the society through incident between a noble man and a prostitute. However the play had too much experiment done with the light.

“Manto Katghare me”, dealt with three different well known controversial stories of Manto; that is Kali Salwaar, Bu and Thanda Gosht; for which he had been under court trial. All the stories showed various ways shades of physical relations.

While commenting on this play Monika Verma, a tourist said, “The theme of play was a delicate one and I personally felt that the aesthetic veil required to project it was missing as it became bit uncomfortable watching it in a public place. Protagonist in Bu has stiff body language. Manto was too weak and spot light was somewhere else while he vomited out his crammed dialogues in dark and at many places without voice modulation.”

Typist came as a bit relief as while commenting, Neha Sharma, one of the spectators said, “It came as a breath of fresh air. However I personally didn’t like the uproar of laughter when Paul calls his wife bitch though situation seemed comic but undertone laid a note showing that even females do not have any self respect for themselves that they enjoy such abusive language used for other female.”

Rangnath being a long play (2 hours) failed to bag massive audience as Gaurav Kumar, one of spectators said, “It was confusing in village there showed court trial instead of panchyat. Other than that the back stage moments were distracting as the posters on back cloth were moving a lot. The lawyer was too weak in his performance.”

Bakri showcased the story of 3 crooks fooling the poor villagers gave the messages that one person can bring a revolution if he makes up his mind but the biggest flaw of the play was that goat was shown alive so make it more realistic bleating sound could have been added in background to give it a more realistic approach.

“Batwaare” was a complete package as falling in genre of Natunki it was something very different from what was being staged in festival before. While commenting on the play, Sanjay Sood, local theater artist said, “They are the masters as it is said for any performance 3 elements are must song, music and acting; and they had it all.”

As per expectation even the other play “Chandan” though in different genre did not disappoint the audiences at all as it again proved to be a delightful experience. The makeup and the body language of the actor playing the lion were extraordinary.

“Vanka”, based on Anthon Chekhov story was staged showcasing the universal plight of orphans by being mistreated by the society back then though was a great effort as the actors belonged to college rather than professional but however “I was not able to figure out the end it was all abrupt and I fail to understand what the old man signified as though Vanka was sleeping at back and it was a dream sequel; which I learned later. There could have been some use to light to make it more clear”, said Ashok Kumar, a regular spectator.

Today “Billiya” was a treat to watch as there was uproar of laughter and for the first time applause by audience was heard in the middle of the performance. Again at certain places light did miss its timing by millisecond but considering the performance staged so far it was some few good ones. Considering the stage properties the amma chulla was the eye catcher.

In almost all the plays there was so much experimenting with lights that instead of enhancing the performances they left majority of action on stage in very dim light causing bit discomfort among the spectators. Other than that the backstage moments is couple of plays were again something that gave a bad taste.

A review by Ritanjali Hastir, Freelance Journalist, Shimla

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Art & Culture

Book Review: ‘The Billionaire Raj: A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age’ by James Crabtree

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The Billionaire Raj A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age

For long, we all have broached the subject of India’s experiment with socialism. The state-controlled the various fields of business, planning was central; also the means of production were not with capitalists but with the state. The state promised to uplift the poor form the poverty, raise their living standard by utilization of these means of production to bring economic and social equality in society.

But years after embracing socialism growth was still sluggish, corruption percolating deep into the system, choices with the people were far and few. Inequality was, as ever, still prevalent in the society. Amenities like telephone and exuded power and exclusivity. The world mocked our “License Raj” and we became notorious for our Hindu Growth rate.

Eventually, the closed economy turned sclerotic and ran into trouble. On the contrary, economies worldwide grew rapidly, at this time. India was left with no other option, but to open its economy to the world. Finally, India yielded and opened its economy in 1991, with an hope of removing the ills of corruption, creating more jobs, removing social inequality and to overcome challenges of economic development. The new era of neo-liberalization was considered augury of prosperity and egalitarian society.

However, who would have imagined that within 27 years of opening up the economy, the majority of the wealth would be held by a handful of people. James Crabtree in his debut book, “The Billionaire Raj: A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age, offers an overview of this fascinating journey of India’s new Gilded Age.”

He writes,

Yet the decades after 1947, it at least grew economically more equal, with an elite that lived modestly by the standard of the industrialized West.

A silver lining to India’s bygone era of socialism.

The Billionaire Raj is the narrative of the breakneck rise of the Indian riches- Bollygarchs, as he calls them- corporate power, their lifestyle and the mansions.

The book is an overview of the concomitant of wealth: inequality, crony capitalism, massive corruption and mega scams. The writer explores the exorbitant funding of political parties by these tycoons, the costly affair of India’s election.

The book talks at length about the deep-rooted problem of mounting debt, IPL, about Modi and his tenure as Prime Minister of India. The pro and cons of various reforms ushered under his regime. Mr. Crabtree is successful in raising the fundamental question that holds imperative to India’s future.

The book is well researched, the exceptional storytelling skill of the writer keeps the readers engrossed; the personal interview with various business tycoons like Vijay Mallya, Naveen Jindal, Gautam Adani etc, offer the readers classic vignettes of their life, their perspective about the event that unfolded in this age.

The writer has successfully flagged various fissures as a warning that can pull India down. The country will have to fix these fissures first, only then it can fulfil the ambition to lead Asia.

Today India stands at the crossroads of what sort of superpower it will become

, he further writes.

Mr. Crabtree offers an optimistic view about India’s future:

India’s new Gilded Age can blossom into a progressive Era of its own, in which the perils of inequality and crony capitalism are left decisively behind,

he writes.

The Billionaire Raj will make us ruminate about the era of Neo-liberalization, as we did aggressively about Indian Socialism in the past. The Billionaire Raj is an eye-opener for all of us and will certainly be helpful in paving the way for our future ahead. The book is Locus classicus on the contemporary history of India- a must read for every Indian.

About James Crabtree

James Crabtree, a former Mumbai bureau chief for The Financial Times. He spent 5 years in India before moving to Singapore. At present, he is an Associate Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore.

Book Review by Sunny Grack, Kotgarh, Shimla

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Art & Culture

HIMCOSTE’s workshop to aware rural artisans of Geographical Indications Act

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HIMCOSTE WOrkshop on Geographical Indications

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Patent Information Centre (HPPIC) established under the aegis of Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) has been declared as the nodal agency for the filing of Geographical Indications applications for traditional valuable products of H.P under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, IFS Kunal Satyarthi Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE, today informed.

He said till date, the Centre has been able to obtain registration for Kullu shawl, Kangra Tea, Kinnauri Shawl, Chamba Ruma and Kangra Paintings under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

The applications of Chamba Chappal, Kala Zeera, Chulli Oil are under process with the Registrar of Geographical indications at Chennai
.
The Centre has identified a number of products (agriculture/horticulture/handicrafts/metal crafts etc.) for registration under GI Act, 1999 (for eg. Bharmour Rajmah, Chamba Chappal, Chamba metal crafts, Angoori, Kalpa Wine, Kinnauri Apple, Rajmah).

Also, the Centre has facilitated registration of about 200 Authorized Users (AU) of registered GIs from H.P.

Recently, the State Govt.has issued a notification on State Level committee on Registration and Protection of Goods in H.P and the State Govt. has also issued a notification regulation of Kullu Shawl GI under the Chairmanship of D.C Kullu.

The above committees would perform the task of checking falsification /counterfeiting of Registered GIs in H.P and would approach the appropriate authorities for taking necessary action in the matter.

HIMCOSTE’s One-Day GI Awareness Workshop

On August 3, 2018, one-day awareness workshop on Geographical Indication, “Creating Value through Geographical indication” will be organized by HIMCOSTE in collaboration with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, GoI.

Through this workshop, the HIMCOSTE aims to spread awareness and make the participants aware of the Geographical Indications Act. It would result in providing commercial opportunities to rural artisans of District Kullu, which in turn would result in the socio-economic development of rural artisans. During the workshop, applicants would be asked for registration of Authorised Usership of Kullu Shawl under Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) of Goods Act, 1999.

After the workshop, D.C Kullu would chair a meeting of the committee constituted by Govt. of Himachal Pradesh. Issues related to infringement of Kullu Shawl and regulation of Kullu Shawl GI would be discussed in the meeting. About 200 participants would attend the workshop.

The Chief Guest for the workshop will be Minister of Forests, H.P Govind Singh Thakur. Yunus Khan, Deputy Commissioner, Kullu, IPS Shalini Agnihotri, Superintendent of Police, Kullu and will be the Guest of Honour.

On behalf of HIMCOSTE, Sh. Kunal Satyarthi, IFS, Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE will remain present during the workshop.

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Incentives to Himachali films under State’s own Film Policy: Govt

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Film policy of Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government today announced that it would form its own film-policy and will encourage local films and artists in various ways.

A meeting regarding formulating the film policy of the State was held here today under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary Dr. Shrikant Baldi.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Baldi said the state had the advantage of adventurous, heritage, spiritual, seasonal and unexplored destinations and the efforts would be made to attract the filmmakers for film production in the state.

He said that the cultural, mythological, historical heritage and glorious traditions of the state would also be publicized in a big way to attract investment in the film sector in the state.

The government would endeavour to provide an opportunity to the talents in the field of acting and other related fields besides generating employment opportunities to the youth of the state.

Dr. Baldi said that production of regional films based on Himachali dialects would be especially encouraged, for which the government would provide various incentives to the producers.

Various other important issues like establishing required infrastructure and to make available desired facilities to the filmmakers and providing them attractive financial incentives were also discussed in the meeting.

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