Bhopal: Dull affair for Bharat Bhavan on its 39th Foundation Day, event curtailed owing to pandemic

BHOPAL: The 39th Foundation Day function of the Bharat Bhavan, beginning from Saturday, is going to be a dull affair this year. The event, generally held for 11 days, has reduced to four days. The curtailment of the event has disappointed many art lovers in the city because it is the first cultural program being organised in Bharat Bhavan after the corona-induced lockdown.

The Bharat Bhavan was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on February 13, 1982. Since then, the Bhavan has been celebrating its Foundation Day with great fanfare with eminent artistes from the nation and abroad showcasing their performances. Last year, the event was 11-days long. It had begun with an International Ceramic Art Exhibition, which saw the participation of artists from the USA, Turkey, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

The low-key Foundation Day celebrations are being blamed on the coronavirus pandemic. The Culture Department, however, has been organising cultural events in the state since July last year. A series of programs titled 'Gamak' were held in Bhopal while Tansen Samaroh was organised at Gwalior in December last year. The department is also planning to hold Khajuraho Dance Festival and Mandu Festival this month.

The duration of the programme has been curtailed in view of the Corona-19 pandemic. There are no budgetary issues. This is just the beginning. In the coming months, we would be organising many more events.
-Prem Shankar Shukla, Administrative Officer, Bharat Bhavan

Dhrupad vocalist Padma Shri Umakant Gundecha said that the event should have been organised in keeping with the prestige of the Bharat Bhavan. "It is good that they are giving chance to local young artistes but I feel that they should have invited a national-level classical singer, dancer or instrumentalist to perform at the event," he told Free Press.

Sitar player Smita Nagdev said that it was good that the Bhavan was resuming cultural events but the Foundation Day festival should have been at least a week-long. "It seems they are just fulfilling a formality," she said.

"Bharat Bhavan is an internationally-renowned institution. Whatever may be the reason but it is disappointing that the festival has been reduced to a local event. It is a break from the tradition," said theatre director Prem Gupta.

Painter Anil Ijeri is happy that at least the event is being held, even if it has been scaled down. " Lack of adequate budget and Covid-19 pandemic may be the reason," he said.

The Bharat Bhavan's four-day long 39th Foundation Day festival will be inaugurated by Padma Shri winners Bhuri Bhai and Kapil Tiwari on February 13. On the first day, Hansraj Hans will present Punjabi folk and Sufi songs. Dhruva Band will perform under the direction of Sanjay Dwivedi. An exhibition of tribal artistes would also be inaugurated. On 14 February, a three-day drawing camp will be inaugurated and authors including Santosh Choubey and Urmila Shirish, would read their stories. The screening of film ‘Bhuvan Shom,’ ‘Talsaptak’ under the direction of Salim Allawalle and a poetry recitation session will be held. On February 15, Aamir Khan's Sarod recital and a play Zindagi Aur Zauk, directed by Bansi Kaul would be staged. On the last day, violin and Kathak recitals will be held.

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