Falguni Pathak started her dandiya journey singing for the Roop Kala orchestra, in the Fort area of South Mumbai. She used to sing in a chorus when someone from the audience requested the organisers to have her as a lead singer.
This was about 22 years ago, and since that day, she has continued to entertain Mumbai at dandiya performances year after year. But, this year, she will perform in Ankleshwar, which is a municipality of Gujarat’s Bharuch district.
The show is scheduled for all 10 days of the Dussehra. So what made Falguni head for her home turf after so many years? Says organiser Dilip Bhuva, “This year, Gujarat has completed 50 years of its formation and the state’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi decided to celebrate it in the form of a Gujarat Festival. Falguni is originally from Ahmedabad, so she wanted to be a part of the celebration.”
Pathak has performed all over the world. In fact, for the last five or six years, she’s been regularly performing in the US, immediately after Navratri. She regularly visits Gujarat for live performances. But, as far as Navratri is concerned, this will be her first performance outside Mumbai. Sources say Falguni was paid a bombshell to move to Gujarat.
But Bhuva refutes such rumours, “These stories are baseless. A star of Falguni’s stature can earn money wherever she goes. But yes, in most cases you do get paid more than what you earn in Mumbai. Even soundmen and technicians get paid more outside Mumbai. Falguni wanted to perform at a new place this time.” Bhuva owns Kala Sangam, which has been organising Falguni’s performances in Mumbai over the years.
There’s going to be no difference in this year’s Gujarat show and the shows that Falguni has been performing in the city over the years, except that this time, the show will go live on ETV Gujarati as well, along with Sahara.
Even the tickets prices will be lesser than Mumbai. About 95 per cent of the songs played would be in Gujarati. Adds Bhuva, “Navratri is basically a Gujarati festival, hence the songs would be in the same language. In Mumbai, the crowd is of mixed origin, so we have to play Bollywood.”
There are about 12 Bollywood stars scheduled to perform, along with TV personalities and actors from Gujarati cinema. Bollywood stars who have been finalised at this juncture include Anil Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Tanushree Dutta, Chunkey Panday, Gulshan Grover, Prachi Desai and Sayali Bhagat. “We are also talking to Govinda and a lot more people,” reveals Bhuva.