“Art is the journey of a free soul”, says Alev Oguz. Indeed, it takes our mind on a migration towards infinite emotions and ideas, which remain concealed somewhere in the chambers of our heart. When this unforeseen pandemic locked our bodies behind the closed doors, our minds suffered more. This hotchpotch of emotions has conquered our mental health with drowning hope and curving down of optimism. With the increase of mental health issues leading to suicides, the artist community was our only rescue. Social media brought happiness in unleashing the veiled talents in lot many people, and a way of transpiring through the lockdown started to germinate.
Turning four walls into an artist’s abode the radicle of a Dance studio in Sonai Road was implanted.Nirantar came up with the vision of how art can never be contained; it’s free, directionless and constantly evolving. In a small room, Shamik Chanda joined by Yuvraj Acharya nurtured an idea that is therapeutic yet full of artistic technicalities. The concept of creation and carving out the inner potential in an artist has been beautifully executed by the founders of Nirantar.Shamik Chanda, a postgraduate in Kathak from the capital city of India, New Delhi has been rediscovering concepts through his dance. Many of us have flaunted our facebook timelines by sharing his art work titled ‘Quarantine Days Creation’, where dance truly came out as the hidden language of soul. His album ‘Dancing Feet’ treasures all those storytelling, his dance moves could do justice to. Yuvraj Acharya, a photographer working with ‘Dreams and Memories’ with his ecstatic cinematography skills has added a feather to crown of beauty of Nirantar. Yuvraj is an awesome dancer himself, choreographing songs in a rendition that isn’t ubiquitous. Nirantar is the brainchild of them, and keeps on creating art, that continues to grow everyday.The Nirantar in its inception was Nirantar Academy of Dance, having born in January, months before the country was wrapped in the shackles of Corona virus. Lockdown happened, our bodies were restricted but Shamik, Yuvraj and others made sure our mind didn’t. In order to feed our freedom starving mind that was slowly groped in depression artists began to create and stretch their form of goodwill to us.
Then sprouted the concept of ‘Rooh’- a series of collaborative video projects where artists from different genre came together to record artistic videos and post them on the timeline of Nirantar. The first video was released on 30th August, 2020 and since them it has been a perpetual.’Sangam’ followed, where 25 dancers from the three districts virtually came together to create a piece of art that was the flag bearer of optimism and auspiciousness; with the vision of Triveni Sangam where Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati merge, here we find the union of the three districts in Barak Valley. What a beauty of concept!’Shorbo Rupe Durga’ endeavoured to bring out that life force, the Durga in all its manifestations, the unveiling of the light in us driving away the darkness of uncertainty, in collaboration with Kheya Gaaner Dol.
“Dance and Mind” workshop was a postulation of a self experienced event of Shamik. During his getting trained in dance in New Delhi, Shamik had attended a similar workshop headed by Smt. Sujata Bannerjee, a dance therapist from the United Kingdom. This session had helped Shamik himself win over his struggles in mental health, and with this very thought it was introduced as a part of Nirantar.24 beautiful souls, with their inspiring stories, laughed, cried and processed their rainbow of emotions to infer to a calmness that is beyond divinity. Yuvraj, has been the other visionary to transform this idea into a successful venture, resultant of which are two more ‘Dance and Mind’ workshop coming in November. The workshop with the eyes of ‘explore, understand and unleash’ has opened the horizon to a series of emotions through sound, light and dance therapy. The blissful experiences have been shared by the participants on the timeline of Nirantar facebook page, where they write of running out of vocabulary ion expressing the experiences in a 3 day session at Nirantar. One can fathom from the photographs ,that how unique a venture these souls have felt and enjoyed.
The parturition of ‘The Black Box’ on 4th October,2020 with the idea of supporting local artists with meagre amount of honorarium was a first time experience in Silchar.The idea was to create a safe haven garnished with Art and Music.Shorik and Nirantar joined hands to live a concept where mini gigs with mellow lights embellished with light hearted music and dance shall engage the participants in varied discussions, musical experimentation with meditation and some conversations for life. With the selling of tickets for first day i.e. 17th October within just three hours, Shorik had to come for the next day too on 18th.
Shorik “ an acoustic band with their feet on the ground and heads up to the sky”, as they write in the instagram bio, is a band that specialises in Bengali folk yet idolises music of the spectral variance. The terrific trio, Dhritiman Chanda, Kashi Biswanath Das and Sobhraj Chakrabarty with their excellence in vocals and instrumentation have been spreading great music irrespective of age, gender and all differences. Their music is no less than a calming breeze on a face of a heat laden traveller soothing the soul from within. Shorik has had performed a lot in local stages, and aspires to reach us more in coming days. Their collaboration in Nirantar is also to join the journey of highlighting local artists and paying them considerate amount for their service that is beyond all prices. Shorik and Nirantar creates a space that makes people dive in an ocean of emotions, pleasure and spirituality that transcends all barriers.
Just like the black box in a flight, that records all data and is immune to all destructions, ‘The Black Box’ too makes you taste eternity and takes your mind on a flight to a world that resides in your own soul, sometimes unseen, unsung and unheard.
It is a privilege for someone like me to write about something great my city has experienced . When the darkness of demise and ill health had blanketed us with hopelessness, when our nomadic soul had sobbed sitting behind the window panes, Nirantar has transpired some life and hope in our souls through social media. While The artists, especially our local ones, everywhere have selflessly poured their greatness through their work, in live sessions, recorded videos and photographs ,is that not our moral obligation to support them in this crisis, the end of which is uncertain. This is to these amazing souls, may your breed grow and outshine all darkness. We stand with you , with our hand held tight, you and we aren’t different.
The dates for the next workshops are:
7th and 8th November: Karimganj
28th to 30th November: Silchar