As you are reading this, you must be sprawled in your living room or bedroom. Coronavirus has made you hit the ‘pause’ button on your hectic life. This seemed welcoming at first, but now with not much to do except exchange notes on how deadly the virus is, you could be suddenly confronted with a dreary existence.
But there are some enterprising souls who are working towards keeping your spirits high. Creative minds and artists are at work in the virtual world, seeking a dialogue with their fandom, friends, posting songs, going ‘live’ on FB, reading excerpts from their favourite works and enriching us with meaningful content.
Here are three such performers.
THE SHOW IS GOING ON
When Sunil ‘Raya’ Abhyankar, Anjali Marathe, Dattaprasad Ranade, Dwarkanath Sanzgiri, Vibhawari Deshpande get together, you know it’s going to be one cracker of a programme. They all went ‘live’ on Facebook, connected by Zoom app. Anjali, presented Gagan Sadan, a prayer song, much appreciated by those living abroad, their mornings having just begun. With Dattaprasad’s ghazal, Hoshwalon ko khabar kya (originally by Jagjit Singh), the whole experience of connecting with the artists went several notches higher. The witty, funny writings of Mangesh Padgaonkar read out by Vibhawari lightened the atmosphere.
The show, aptly titled Alpaviram (a pause), has been produced by Indian Magic Eye Pvt Ltd, that goes live every evening at 6 pm on Facebook. Shrirang Godbole, veteran writer-filmmaker, says, “The show emerged organically, out of the times that we are living in. We are inviting artists to connect with us on this show. All of them understand the novelty and importance of it. We are coming up with relevant content, not just for time pass. All this has lent a character to Alpaviram.”
The artists and audience have also responded well and Indian Magic Eye has been able to fix the line-up of artists and programmes, besides collaborating with a few like-minded people. “The first show that went live on March 22 featured musician Dr Saleel Kulkarni, poet and lyricist Sandeep Khare, cricketer and journalist Sunandan Lele, actor Sameer Chougule. On Tuesday, (March 24) actress Madhurani Prabhulkar, Kaushal Inamdar (musician), actor Anand Ingale and others performed. We also hope to work with actor-filmmaker Pravin Tarde, actor Sumeet Raghavan. The show is being anchored by Mrinmayee Godbole,” adds Shrirang, who is popularly known as Ranga.
Moving on to logistics, the artists connect on Zoom platform through their mobile phones, tablets or laptops. “On Zoom, which is like a meeting software, you can connect on multiple calls. The technical person works from his home. In live events, we have the audience and the artists together, in this case, we bring the artists together through technology and for the audience we do live streaming. Since it’s on Facebook, the audience can do farmaish (requests). This is quite similar to ‘live’ performances in the physical world.”
The performances are a little raw in terms of presentation as compared to live shows which have huge technical support. Here, the team has to work within available bandwidth, but even then it seems to have hit it off. “The audience have liked the spirit and solidarity that we want to express, of not getting bogged down by the pandemic. The show is going on…” says Shrirang.
SOME CLASSIC TUNES
In a candid chat with his followers on social media, Rahul Deshpande has been discussing how he is dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, what he did on the day of Janata Curfew and presenting some soulful compositions. And also sometimes explaining how his grandfather, the late vocalist Vasantrao Deshpande, rendered a particular song. In this case, Baglyanchi maal phule.
His followers even send him requests to sing a few more compositions, but he tells them, ‘Adhi awaj tar taapu de’ (let my voice warm up a bit). The classical vocalist has promised to post 15 songs for 15 days, that we can all appreciate from the comfort of our homes.
He has also started his YouTube channel and has requested for videos of his previous performances from his fans that he will put up on the channel. You can access his performances from his official FB page and also through ‘Smrutigandha’ page on the site.
THE ABC OF MARKETING
Prompted by a friend, writer Gouri Dange started reading out from her works, both fiction and non-fiction. She first read Patli Panna Cotta (March 18) and on the next day, The Gift that Comes Full Circle.
Dange also gives you a peek into what happens after you write your bestseller. How to promote it, how to din into readers, ‘Hey! Here’s my book. Read it…read it, will you?’ She has put up two videos on YouTube – So, you want to be published, huh?
In a very candid narration, Dange tells you how she set out to market her first baby, 3, Zakia Mansion. The narration is a hoot right from the interaction with bookstore assistants to a call from a certain Mr Hagavne.
“I am reading out every evening during the lockdown. The two videos on So, you want to be published, huh? is like a stand-up show. Just wicked fun,” she says.