Role of the artiste at Presidential Election
Those who are gifted with a particular creative skill are denoted by
the term ‘artistes’. The artistes are of various types. Some are
singers, while some are dancers. Some others are performers of various
fields inclusive of stage, radio and television. From time to time they
emerge as opinion leaders, who help the masses to evaluate and/or
promote certain significant social attitudes, ideologies and projects.
They are by and large accepted by the masses for their sensitive and
sensible creative communication skills that may have had a particular
effect on the society.
expressing solidarity with the President for a better future
for art. File photo
When they present themselves before the masses, the needed cause is
either signified illuminated or accepted. I remember an occasion when
certain actress, Sophia Loren stood up in Paris for the animal
protection cause. The masses listened to her more keenly than any other
individual. In the same manner Save the Children Funds are more or less
promoted via popular artistes who matter. They appear more like opinion
leaders than mere promoters.
During the recent Presidential Election period, quite a number of
artistes rallied round from various parts of the country, in small
groups as well as in large groups, both in the capacity of entertainers
as well as opinion holders for a promotional cause. In the first
instance their basic stance was to signify as a group as to why they
clamour for another period for the President. One of the visible factors
was the need for a better cultural climate via the formulation of State
sponsored, but independent bodies like, a board which governs or
regulates a viable cultural policy for the country.
This was also observed as co-related to a Regulatory Council, which
inherently defines the needs, functions, protection and welfare measures
of artistes by way of understanding their respective professions. One of
the senior stage play actors told me that, “this aim could only be
achieved through the formation of a well defined cultural policy, one of
the neglected areas on the part of the Cultural Affairs Ministry.” Then
a certain tele-drama director of pointed out that, “the tele-channels
which emphasize the mere threshold low brow entertainment factor, has to
be changed to respect the viewer’s cultural susceptibilities.
He was of the view that the tele-channels which cater to the masses
with an overdose of low brow series of teleplays should be governed by a
well planned strategy of ethics. But he also emphasized that it is not a
measure to introduce a “Cultural Police” or a “television media police,”
but an attempt to safeguard the well-being of the society at a glance
the appearance of varying types of artistes holding views on cultural
regulatory measures and cultural policies, may look controversial. But
there is an element of social necessity which has to be clarified
Mahinda Chintana has given way to the building up of a discourse on
the ideology, which the artistes may have felt as needed. The President
too had laid emphasis at several instances on the need for a cultural
policy. The time is perhaps ripe for the formulation of such a policy,
which went oversighted by the cultural authorities of the country.
The emphasis on the part of the cultural authorities were laid more
on the two annual festivals, the State Literary Festival, and the State
Drama Festival. True enough, there may have been several other events
that had come to pass, but the public at large only feel the
implementation of the two festivals cited. The Cultural Ministry
activities are not quite transparent, albeit the number of annual cash
awards that go to individuals.
Most artistes wish to express their gratitude to the President in
advance for a better climate of culture and arts in the country. One
senior musician told me that ‘it is only the presidential interference
that may bring a change in the local cultural scene. It is he who knows
about the local cultural inheritance. All we desire is the ushering in
of a better cultural media and educational climate, that enables us to
create and recreate in a better frame of mind.”
A reputed art critic told me that ‘the time is ripe for cultural
exchange programs with well planned links with other countries that
matter. Perhaps the SAARC countries could get-together and formulate
this cultural exchange program. In this direction he also pointed out
the necessity to create awareness in cultural similarities and
dissimilarities. The artistes would have the change of being exposed to
their respective fields, as existing in other countries in the region.
It is not the stamp of the mere administrator that matters in the new
formulation, pointed out yet another artiste. But it is more of the
administrative structure that matters in the guidance and formulation of
a long needed State Cultural Policy. This should not be misunderstood as
another State owned or State sponsored governing body. By all means it
should not be another “Kala Mandalaya” of the pattern that exists today.
The suitability and the abilities of the individuals matter as against
favouritism and forming cliques.