Mumbai was always the city that never slept! We were the entertainment capital of India where art and artists were appreciated, lauded and encouraged. We had the Indian film industry and some of the world’s finest musical and theatrical talents. If you wanted to achieve anything artistic you came to Mumbai. That was the dream.
And then slowly taxation went too high and it was more profitable for international artists to play in other cities and Mumbai missed seeing Internationally acclaimed live performances and artists because it didn’t make commercial sense to perform here.
Then we stopped allowing music to be played after 10 p.m. at night in stadiums and lawns. It disturbed the rest, they said. Even if the stadiums were no where near residential homes, the music had to stay off. And we obeyed despite the fact that most of us don’t return home till 8:30 p.m. at night after work and a live performance outside in a stadium would have been a wonderful treat for us.
And then the bars and nightclubs started shutting- first at 2 am, then earlier and now some shut at midnight or just before. This is because of our ‘rampant use of drugs and alcohol.’ The youth, it is said, is maligning Indian culture and it must be stopped. Raids are being conducted post 1 am in people’s houses now just to keep the youth in check.
I am the youth. I am one of those people you say maligns Indian culture. I do not drink. I do not do drugs. And I would like my entertainment back.
Music is one of the few things that erases boundaries- casts, hatreds, prejudices all disappear. Music satisfies the soul and though ‘Rave music’ to you maybe the devil’s own song, to some it may be just a form of music.
I agree that alcohol and drugs must be kept in check and the harshest of penalties must be imposed on those who drive under the influence or those who deal or do drugs but I cannot understand why the rest of us must be held guilty despite us being innocent.
I miss watching concerts in Mumbai. I miss dancing till dawn. I miss arguing over movies and scripts while eating a kebab roll late at night. I miss singing with my friends with just a guitar in Marine Drive.
All the madness, the insanity, the freedom to find our own expression- that was what Mumbai was about. That’s how Mumbai created artistic genius.
Give us back the music. Give us back our art. Give us back our freedom. Give us back Mumbai- the real city of Dreams.
‘When the creative impulse cannot flourish, when it cannot freely select its methods and objects, when it is deprived of spontaneity, then society severs the root of art.’ John F Kennedy
P.s.(Palat says)-: Engrossed in rehearsals of a new Comedy for later this month and scripting for a new TV show…and loving the first rains!