By Shreya Maskara
While most of our ideas about entertainment are currently limited to watching Netflix or perhaps a more adventurous day venturing out to our nearest cinema to watch a movie, Navrasa Duende, a production house, has been working relentlessly to change the way Indians perceive entertainment.
Founded by Dinesh Singh, a former engineering professional, Navrasa Duende was based on his dream to promote the performing, visual, fine and literary arts of all genres, including modern, traditional, classical, or popular. “After more than a 40-year long career in engineering… I felt it was time to stoke my love for art,” Singh said. ” I realised that what I wanted to do was translate my affinity and love for the arts into something that could make them accessible to the public.”
Singh added he thinks the vision for the production house developed after seeing how the entertainment industry and corporate houses in India were so dismissive of indigenous global art forms and doubted how the Indian audience would receive such entertainment.
“That’s how Navrasa Duende was created. It was envisioned not just as a company producing events, but as a wholesome production house creating high-quality entertainment experiences for a wide audience.”
Singh added that his team hopes to enhance the taste of the audience by exposing them to global art forms and rebuild the concept of family entertainment as it currently exists in India.
Navrasa Duende’s first event was organised in 2017, My Journey – An Intimate Evening with Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj, and was loved by art enthusiasts and the general public alike. Since then, the production house has organised the World Classic Movie Festival which aimed to introduce Indian audiences to global cinema through the ages, with both popular classics as well as critically acclaimed films. The production house also brought the critically acclaimed Swan Lake ballet to the capital later that year, along with the Royal Russian Ballet.
Singh added that people were sceptical about the response Swan Lake would garner in India. “Despite the misgivings of a lot of people when we first announced the event, who told us that ballet does not have an audience in India, both our productions of Swan Lake, one in New Delhi in 2017 and the multi-city tour in 2018, were tremendously successful,” he said.
“We knew that as a newly established production house, the choice was rather unconventional, not to mention risky, but thankfully, my team shared my vision,” Sigh said. He added that organising the event, although very challenging, was certainly one of his favourite memories as he got the opportunity to provide a troupe of extremely talented and globally renowned artists with a new platform. Sigh added Navrasa Duende will continue their collaboration with the Russian Ballet and after the success of Swan Lake, will bring Romeo and Juliet, composed by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev as well as The Nutcracker to multiple cities in India.
The production house is also expanding into the theatre with a political satire adaptation of RK Laxman’s Common Man ready to hit the floors in December this year. “The play touches upon social and political themes from across the globe to draw humour and satire which can find relevance in any part of the world,” Singh said.
The play will be Navrasa Duende’s first complete in-house production as it has been written, produced as well as directed by their members. Singh added he thinks Common Man is relevant in any political or social milieu and he is certain that their adaptation will be a “fitting tribute to this iconic cartoonist whose sharp witticisms and astute social and political commentary have found an endless number of admirers over the years, including those he cartooned.” The production will be showcased in multiple cities in India as well as in the US, UK and other countries. Singh hopes the production will help revive Laxman’s genius globally and introduce a new generation to his works.
Talking about the future vision of the production house, Singh added he hopes to continue helping “seamlessly blend the East and West to engage audiences with Indian and global art forms like never before.” He added, “Moreover, we will continue to not only bring arts and artists from across the globe to India but also promote India’s art and culture among international audiences, in the future.”
Shreya Maskara is a sub editor at Qrius.
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