A footpath natya-gritty goes viral!

Using Bharatanatyam steps, they navigate this obstacle-ridden road.

Footpaths are dumping grounds. And as common as the potholes that dot our city. Over the years, many campaigns and meetings have been held with regard to this civic issue — the lack of proper footpaths. Yet, the condition remains the same. Trying to do something unique, the Malleswaram Social, a local community recently came out with a video that highlights this issue. The Bharatnatya Saaku, #FootPathBeku video was created to raise awareness about the deteriorating condition of footpaths in Malleswaram. It has gotten over 2,40,000 views and over 3,000 people have shared it.

The foremost upholders of this outcry is the responsible and vocal senior citizen community in Malleswaram. Sriram Aravamudan, the creative director of the video shares, “Malleswaram consists of many senior citizens. With bad footpaths, many of them are prone to accidents. Malleswaram Social had tried various methods to highlight this problem, but the response was poor. Wanting to draw attention to the problem in an unconventional manner, they approached me. They wanted to draw attention in a comic way without hurting sentiments.” Since this locality is known for its cultural influence, no video on Malleswaram would be complete without showing the dance aspect as well. It was heart warming for Sriram that top Bharatnatyam dancers, Preeti Sunderajan and Sowmya Thanthri immediately stepped forward for this cause. Talking about the video, he adds, “Two women are stopped in their tracks when they find debris in the middle of a footpath. They wear Bharatanatyam anklets, and start dancing to a tilana by a band of musicians who also join them. Using Bharatanatyam steps, they navigate this obstacle-ridden road. The video tries to spread a message that if one wants to navigate these footpaths, learning Bharatanatyam is a must.” It is a light-hearted video which says that not everyone is a Bharatanatyam dancer, therefore something must be done! The Malleswaram Social has tried holding signature campaigns outside temples, near Sankey Tank and also met the comparator to address the issue. But this viral video has gotten a lot more attention. Mixing culture and civic issues is something that hasn’t been done before. Sriram adds, “Malleswaram is home to over six to seven major Bharatanatyam schools. Therefore it made sense to use these dancers in the video. It was also something that people could identify with. It is sort of like a motif of this area.”

Not only has it created awareness, surprisingly, the condition of footpaths has gotten better too. He adds, “The place where the dance happened has been cleared of debris. It may not be the best looking footpath, but it now thankfully resembles one! Seeing the momentum this video has gotten, they are planning to come out with other videos to keep this campaign going. Sriram adds, “The attention we got is great compared to what we expected. So to keep the buzz going, we plan on coming out with some more comedy videos as well as videos showing the real struggle of the people. We also plan on meeting the corporator and the people of the area as well.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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