They gathered, they danced and they left. Now they are gathering, dancing, advertising, and dancing some more. In November, a group of youngsters introduced the city to the concept of flashmobs when they came together in seemingly random fashion, jived to the tunes of Rang De Basanti at CST, and dispersed.
Flashmobs springing up everywhere have tweaked the original flavour of the planned-yet-spontaneous gathering. "It's been done to death now," said Payal Kapadia, a filmmaker who shot the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus flashmob. "It's become more commercialised now, more of a marketing gimmick." Kapadia had two offers from companies to shoot their flashmobs.
High Street Phoenix, which hosted its second flashmob in three months on Wednesday, had a previous one as part of a film promotion in November.
Even people are becoming weary of the frequent assemble-dance-disperse routines which are threatening to be commonplace at malls and other public places. A publication had organised one at a station last month. However, it killed the surprise by revealing its plans in print.
"It was less of a flashmob and more of a performance piece. It ended up becoming more of a party," said one visitor at Phoenix Mills about the flashmob created by senior citizens, who refused to disperse at the end of the act.
It's not that simple though, say flash mobbers, given the permissions and security clearances required. "There has to be planning for anything you organise," said Dhanika Kothari, a Wilson College student who was part of the group that organised Wednesday's flashmob. "You don't want it to be a flop after all."
Erupting into dance spontaneously could be a recipe for a flop, as a flash mob in Delhi found out when they tried to stage an act a few months ago without necessary permissions.