Thursday, November 29, 2007

Habba 2007 reinvents itself

Habba 2007 reinvents itself

Staff Reporter

Nandini Alva speaks about Bengalooru Habba

Celebration of creativity: A file photo of an earlier edition of the Bengalooru Habba. The festival promises a sensory feast for connoisseurs.

Bangalore: Bengalooru Habba is back with its repertoire of cultural events ranging from Carnatic music to rock, from Yakshagana to fashion shows, starting November 30. This year, the Habba will also feature a “swim meet” for children. Nandini Alva, trustee, Artistes’ Foundation for the Arts (AFFA), the organisers of the Habba, speaks to The Hindu about future plans for the Habba, and the constraints of commerce.

The Hindu : What is your vision for Habba 2007?

Nandini Alva: Our focus this year is to make the Habba a truly international city event. The festival has the makings of a carnival, with the potential to draw tourists from all over the world for the occasion. We want to make ourselves a global cultural event, which is why we are introducing genres like jazz.

TH: What is the concept behind the sports events at the Habba?

NA: We are trying to go beyond the performing arts to an exhibition of talent, and talent need not only be entertainment. This year we have added a swimming competition to the sport events. Next year we would like to see billiards and badminton, and in future perhaps bring in cricket and tennis too to attract more visitors. We intend to have a venue dedicated to creative writing and debating next year.

TH: What is the role of the State Government in supporting the Habba this year?

NA: The AFFA has never taken funds from the Government. The Department of Kannada and Culture will organise events at Ravindra Kalakshetra and the Town Hall. It makes sense to partner with the department because of their huge database of artistes and information on fine arts, folk tradition, theatre and poetry. The Government will also be helping with publicity in terms of hoardings.

TH: There was feedback last year of corporate sponsors being more visible than the ‘brand Habba’. The hoardings, some felt, distracted from the event…

NA: The visibility we give to the sponsors is justified as theirs is an advertising budget.

They don’t interfere in creative content or in the event itself. As organisers, we have a tough time raising money, and if we preach too much idealism, who will be the takers then? We need a meeting point between creativity and commerce.


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