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Singer Santosh Sawant to seek Maharashtra government’s help to preserve folk art forms

Noted folk singer Santosh Sawant says he will write to the state government seeking their help in keeping alive the traditional art forms.

Sawant wants the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state to continue its association with folk artists through scholarships, donations and other forms of support towards these arts.

“I will submit my letter to the state government in next couple of days asking for its support. Youngsters today are mostly interested in listening to Bollywood music, but if the government extends support, folk music can be made a popular genre throughout the world. We only require initial support, folk music will find its own way then,” Sawant said.

Maharashtra has a rich treasure of folk music, but many of its popular forms like Bharud (folk song and dance form that is an important part of annual fairs), Gondhal (folk dance), Lavani (traditional song and dance form noted for its powerful rhythm) and others like Povada, Bhaleri, Palane and Artya are slowly losing their sheen, he said.

Besides, there are about 130 ‘Tamasha’ troupes that perform seasonally while travelling across the state and nearly 15 full-time groups which enact this traditional form of Marathi theatre all through the year. Also, about 50 Kala Kendras in the state, mostly inMarathwada region, have been organising folk music shows.

“Folk singing has managed to remain alive due to the sincere efforts of the singers who have stayed true and honest to their art form despite struggling for their survival. We hope that the government and Bollywood stop neglecting folk singers,” he said.

Sawant, who has now forayed into filmmaking, would soon be releasing his Hindi movieJhamela, which showcases the struggles of a folk singer and also explores nuances of delicate relationships existing among rural folk in stark contrast to dry equations between people in the urban world.

“The movie has been inspired from a part of my life, my struggles as a folk singer and the art form ‘Jhamela’. I will first screen the movie at renowned international film festivals before releasing it in India,” he added.

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