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The mujra is back

art and culture Updated: Dec 16, 2010 02:01 IST
Hindustan Times
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Strippers and belly dancers are being given a run for their money, as mujra fever takes the Capital by storm. Be it bachelor parties or weddings, the exotic dance form, traditionally performed by courtesans in Mughal courts, is becoming the hot new thing in Delhi’s swish parties.

“This year, we arranged for several mujra performances for bachelor parties, mostly for boys as young as 23-25,” says Avijit Sinha, an event manager at Fun Films Ltd. “The songs in demand are Inhi Logon Ne from Pakeezah, and Rekha’s evergreen number, In Aankhon Ki Masti from Umrao Jaan. The seductive aspect of this form is what makes it so popular.”

To make sure the dancers are not troubled by leering crowds, there are bouncers lined up. “No one is allowed to touch the artistes. But, there have been rare cases in the past when the dancer was teased by some young men,” says Sinha.

Delhi’s socialites, too, are lapping up the trend. Last week, fashion designers Reshma and Bharat Grover invited two mujra artistes to entertain guests at their wedding anniversary party. “The mujra act has a great connect with our culture. We didn’t want anyone gyrating to techno beats,” says Reshma.

But, it comes at a price. Sharad Mathur, director, EMG Entertainment, says, “Depending on the popularity of the dancer, the fee starts from Rs 15,000 and may go upto Rs 15lakh, for an evening. Dancers are flown in from Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai.” Word of advice for first timers: “Don’t call them tawaifs, they take offence,” says Mathur.

“I’ve had several requests for such performances in Delhi. They’re gaining popularity,” says a Mumbai-based dancer, who does not wish to be named.

The mujra scene
Avg number of mujra parties in the capital in a month - 15-20
Price tags:
Junior artiste: Rs 15, 000
Mid-level artiste: Rs 50,000- Rs 1lakh
Expert artiste: Rs 1lakh - 15lakh
Most popular songs:
Salame ishq (Muqaddar Ka Sikander)
Tumhari adaon pe main wari (Mangal Pandey)
Salaam (Umrao Jaan - 2006)

Maar daala (Devdas)