One for the community
The Parsi community may be small and dwindling in number but that hasn’t proved to be a deterrent while they try to make a mark in the performing arts. From theatre to music and dance, they have been making their presence felt in the cultural landscape of Mumbai for a long time now.
Keeping this in mind, a group of people from the community have come together to look for talents within their fraternity. Titled Bawas Got Talent, the show will give Parsis an opportunity to showcase their talents. The last time the group got together for something similar was four years ago, during Drame Bawas, which was an attempt to bring out fresh talent in the field of acting. “The result of Drame Bawas was, a lot of new people came in. For instance, normally, on a Parsi New Year day, there are three or four plays, but last year, there were around seven plays. So, the talent show helped, new groups came up because of it. But that was only for theatre, now we are extending it to group dance, singing, standup, etc. The idea is to unearth new Parsi talent, who, at the moment, perhaps, do not have the platform to perform,” says Burjor Patel, who was a pioneer and visionary of the Parsi-Gujarati and English stage.
Actor and producer Shernaz Patel, who is part of the organising committee, says it’s not like competitions like this don’t happen but they happen in “smaller pockets”. “So, organising something like this at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) raises the bar for everybody. If you’re talented, your opportunities may be furthered by something like this — by us celebrating your talent, by nurturing it — because between the elimination round and the final round, we are also hoping to provide some mentorship. We are hoping that the finals will be an entertaining evening but it’s also going to be hardcore. It’s not just fun and games, you come up on stage and really show off your talents,” she shares.
Due to migration and intermarriages, there are very few Parsis left in India. A 2016 statistics showed that their numbers are down to 61,000, and dwindling by the day. “Maybe that’s why it’s easier for us to organise events like this. When the community is large with lakhs of people, getting the message out is difficult. Because we’re small in number, it is much easier. A lot of people will know every third Parsi. We are also proud of our talents, so we want to showcase it,” says Hoshang Gotla, another member of the organising committee.
Call for entries for Bawas Got Talent is on till February 1. The elimination rounds will take place in mid-February and the final is scheduled for April. The finalists will be mentored by professionals from the industry. “We want to bring in popular and talented people as judges. We are hoping that the participants will get an opportunity to learn from them,” says Shernaz, adding “I also feel that even though we are such a small community, we are very artistically inclined. We love entertainment and we don’t mind giving it a shot.”