8th Rhythm Dhaker Ladai 2011 – Durga Puja 2011
Nondon Bagchi from the rock band Hip Pocket said that one should promote ‘dhak’ as it symbolises Bengali tradition. Rhythm Dhaker Ladai (RDL) provides the perfect platform for ‘dhak’ players to showcase their talent.
It is also being incorporated in movie scripts, background score for most of the Bengali numbers and part of music fusion. NR Group playing a pivotal role to enthuse the talent of Dhakis, takes a step ahead by announcing establishment of Rhythm Scholarship, a trust funded by Cycle Pure Agarbathies to support and promote this endangered art form.
Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty said that such a platform is important for them as they have very less opportunity to showcase their talent.
“Except Durga puja and Kali puja there are not many event for them to perform…Dhakis live a very hard life”, he added.
Dwaipayan Das, Marketing Manager, Cycle pure Agarbathies said, “After creating a paradigm change in the development of the art form, this year Rhythm Dhaker Ladai is keen to establish Dhak in the cultural map of the world.”
Among the four torch bearers, named as ‘Rhythm Dhaki Srestho’, who have been identified by RDL, Toton Das received the Rhythm Scholarship award.
The Scholarship will be utilised to groom, train and coach the potential talent so that they can take a step ahead to becoming a maestro in this art form, said Dwaipayan Das.
‘Dhaki Sresthos’ are experimenting and innovating new ways of playing ‘Dhak’.
Toton Das and noted tabla player Mallar Gosh entertained the audience with their jugalbandhi. Toton Das, 2010 ‘Dhaki Shrestha’, is being coached by Maller Gosh.
Dwaipayan Das said that they will be providing the other three ‘Dhaki Shestho’ with gurus under whose guidance their talent will be polished.
Probhat Das, one of the ‘Rhythm Dhaki Srestho’, said that the coming generation does not show much interest in this art since the earning is very less.
At least 350 Puja Committees across the city has already been invited by NR Group to participate in ‘Rhythm Dhaker Ladai’, informed Dwaipayan Das.
Dhakis from 45 shortlisted Puja committee will perform at the prelims on ‘Sasthi’. The finale will be held on ‘Ashtami’ i.e. Oct 4, he said.
Dhak is an integral part of the five-day long annual festivities associated with Durga Puja but dhakis are losing out to pre-recorded and cassettes.
Dhakis perform mostly in ‘pandals’ of ‘barowari pujas’, starting from Viswakarma Puja till Kali Puja, but are most prominent during Durga Puja.
The nuances of playing the instrument are handed down from generation to generation, but the old rhythms are undergoing changes. The rhythm is no longer as slow as in earlier generations.
The art of playing the dhak is now being referred to as a dying profession. While some of the dhakis may be lucky to retain old contacts, many are facing a decline and some are moving away from the traditional profession.