Navratri brings many reasons to celebrate. It is, however, the colourful and extravagant 10-day garba and dandiya events that stand out above all. These gatherings are a mass participation of people from all around the city and the country, dancing to the beats of the dhol.
Of late, the songs that are played at these venues have grown popular among the organisers and the public as well. Several Bollywood numbers and garba specific songs have been earmarked as ‘classics’ for these occasions. While the demand for songs that one can perform garba to grows as the season approaches, the singers and DJs have been on a lookout around the year, to note trends and shortlist the latest favourites. This 10-day festival generates a lot of energy and to match the enthusiasm of the public, the artists have to come prepared.
The artists and the organisers make the participants dance to their tunes and what goes into their preparation varies. According to Mehul Dalal, a singer and businessman by profession, all the old, traditional Gujarati songs are usually preferred at ‘proper’ Gujarati halls where Navratri is celebrated.
In his experience, Hyderabadis love listening and dancing to Bollywood-Gujarati remixes. In this Bollywood-Gujarati mix, the lyrics vary from Gujarati songs to famous Bollywood songs. “Famous numbers like Kaka Bapa Na Poriya, Rang Tali, Sanedo and Vithala are musts as they are always on public demand,” he says.
Zeny Momaya, who owns a catering business and organises several Navratri utsavs, shares that not only Gujaratis but the Telugu community, Marwadis, Punjabis and several others happily participate in this joyous occasion. “I have seen people belonging to other communities who join garba and dandiya workshops so that they can enjoy this festival,” she shares. They keep everyone happy by playing only Gujarati songs during the garba round and during the dandiya round switching to mostly Hindi songs with traditional Gujarati music. “Garba is usually played by all the Gujaratis but others make the effort to try that as well, which makes me very happy,” she says.
On other hand, disco dandiya is a different kind of fun altogether. “I have been playing for dandiya nights for 18 years now. Earlier, it was purely traditional but now it has changed with a lot of remixes thrown in. This year, I am playing the best of the 90s’ Bollywood tracks with a Gujarati twist,” concludes DJ Piyush Bajaj....