Goa’s Capital calling
Bharadwaj is an Indian entrepreneur, poet, artistic Director and Founder of Ferriswheel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Currently based in Mumbai. A pioneer in the field of arts, Bharadwaj has a comprehensive and impressive body of work that lists creative services in more than fifty countries ranging from mid-sized festivals to large scale events.
Please tell us more about your contribution to the 28th edition of Surajkund Mela
Ans: Goa is the theme state at the Surajkund Mela this year. I am working as a consultant to the government of Goa and Ministry of Tourism, Goa for this event. The creatives and operations are being handled by my company Ferriswheel Entertainment Pvt Ltd. I decided that unlike the previous theme states, instead of just showcasing the state’s tradition, we should also bring out the festive and fun side of Goa. Witness both the traditional and modern and colourful side of Goa this year at the Surajkund Mela.
What are the highlights of this year's Surajkund Mela?
Ans: The major attraction this year at the Surajkund Mela is the Goan carnival that is being run through the Mela every day. Led by King Momo on a massive float covered with LED lights, the carnival parade brings to you the real Goan essence. It is basically a celebration of life and depicts the fun and frolic of four days of festivities. As a jolly monarch, King Momo orders his subjects to sing, dance and make merry for four days. The carnival was brought to Goan shores by the erstwhile Portuguese rulers. Since then Goans have appropriated it and made it very different from the other leading carnivals of the world - namely Rio de Janeiro and Venice. Tourists from all over India and the world flock to Goa to be a part of this unique cross-cultural phenomenon.
300 artists from such a small state have come to Surajkundmela to showcase their talent. Apart from handicrafts and artifacts, we also have customized dance performances which have been specially choreographed to give you a taste of the culture and tradition of Goa.
You can’t miss the Goan cuisine at the food stalls. From all kinds of sea-food to traditional Goan sweets, all that’s mouth-watering is available at the stalls.
The décor needs a special mention here. The whole place has been designed keeping in mind the Goan essence. A Goa pavilion has been constructed with a little beach and other elements to bring the sun and sand of Goa to Surajkund itself. And then there is Casa Goa or ‘Apna Ghar’ which is a life size replica of an actual Goan household. The house has been adorned with LED lights and real Goan vegetation. A Goan couple welcomes you into their household with a traditional Goan welcome. You can even sample local Goan food here. All the furniture, even the little knick-knacks in the ‘Apna Ghar’ have been brought straight from Goa.
How do you see the future of performing arts in the country?
Ans: The future of performing arts in the country is very bright. People slowly are getting a better understanding of this industry. We have a massive cost effective skilled workforce that is the backbone of the entertainment industry. People are seeing it as a viable career option now. There is maturity in the audience’s choice in terms of spending their money and free time. That shift is visible in the success of EDMs, the public outreach festivals, comedy stores, large-scale live public festivals. We are now also on an infrastructural upswing as far as venues are concerned. There are better quality stadiums and venues available. Even high quality technical equipment is available within the country now.
There is a whole dynamic shift in the perception of the performing arts industry and for us to be a part of this shift is very exciting. Our aim would be to create an educated performing arts community that has multiple avenues to generate business and Ferriswheel being a key player in that large shift.Ferriswheel is committed to changing the game of the performing arts market of the country.
What changes should the government bring in to promote artisans and artists both at national and international level?
Ans: The big change should come in the layman grass root understanding of artisans’ rights and privileges, concessions and schemes. Normally grants get given away to people who network at senior levels. The government should work on making outreach programmes to make their schemes heard by performers. A certain strata of performers also suffer immensely from taxation. The entertainment industry should unite to get a policy shift from the government. As a business, even though we are bracketed under the service industry, our output is seen as something that cannot be a primary collateral to bankers. A lot of young entertainment businesses collapse due to lack of funding and financial support. The government will have to work as a triangle focusing on artists, financing and entertainment businesses that create platforms for employment.
How big is the Indian art market?
Ans: The Indian art market is unstructured and nascent and does not have a collaborative figure that can be put together. But with serious players like us uniting in the market, we should hopefully be able to change the scenario in the next few years.