In the by lanes of Malad a small place in Mumbai, a group of enthusiastic theater artists get together to celebrate theater. An art that seems to be lost in the hustle and bustle of Bollywood and it’s theaters.
Today I witnessed a culture that Mumbai has probably long forgotten, a culture that needs preservation and in opinion restoration.
The stage was set for the artists. It was a competition where contestants would recite a play either written by them or someone else. It’s called abhivachan spardha. In this format, you are not allowed to enact but only deliver the play through speech. The rendering was so impeccable that you could actually imagine the play being performed in front of you. It felt as though actors would have been redundant.
It is overwhelming to know that Mumbai has talent in such abundance. The oratory skills of some artists on that stage were beyond compare. Being able to create visual images in your audiences minds with only speech is something which got me thinking after the show.
Mumbai, a city which which was once dominated by its strong cultural values, today is a bustling metropolis full of people from all walks of life, brining in the traditions and culture that they carry as a part of their being.Though this city and it’s people have been accommodative in more than one way, what is really lost is their own identity.
Gone is the Mumbai where there were street plays to teach the importance of values that we today take so much for granted.
Gone are the days when all that Mumbai had were it’s simple people. Today these same people are looked down upon when they enter a mall. Amidst all this westernization of women with tank tops and men with three fourths is lost something that can be summed up in a phrase “simplicity is the essence of life”
Though i am not in any way against westernization or having a modern approach of thinking I feel somewhere we as Mumbaikars need to strike a balance to preserve what Mumbai really is than trying to build what Mumbai really wants to look like. If we continue like this probably somewhere in the next 10 years each one of us would need an app to tell us how Mumbai was.