By Alok Joshi
From a sleepy town in the late ‘80s to over three decades down the line, Dehradun has witnessed massive transformation in various sectors. The entertainment field is no exception. As a young executive, with my first posting in Doon, our only source of entertainment was my prized acquisition of the smallest possible box type TV. But, during my “second coming” to the valley, I am pleasantly surprised to find many avenues of entertainment available to the residents in the city.
Musical nights, fun fairs, theatre, sports, literary and cultural events are being held throughout the year. In particular, Bollywood is finding a big place in the city and the state. Movies are being shot every other day. Uttarakhand provides a multitude of beautiful natural locations. The local crowd is receptive. The government authorities are doing their best to make things easier for shooting films. A producer told me recently that he finished shooting his entire movie in Dehradun and surroundings within a month or so. Bollywood stars, producers/directors are thronging to promote their movies. All this is a welcome sign for a comparatively young state like Uttarakhand.
There are a lot of performances lined up in the next few weeks. First in line is Grafest, to be held at Graphic Era from 13 May. There will be famous Bollywood actor and singer Ayushmann Khurrana performing with his band, followed by Neha Kakkar’s power-packed live performance the next evening. To commemorate its 25th anniversary, GEU has roped in Saina Catherine, the youngest disc jockey in the international music world. Then we have Sanskriti at Tula’s Group of Colleges, Mithoon – ‘Tum Hi Ho’ of Aashiqui 2 fame singer, Asees Kaur – Raatan Lambiyan fame singer, Mohammad Irfan – singer and so on.
Most of these star performers are highly paid. The total budget could well be anywhere between Rs 8-10 crores. I wonder if Dehradun has ever seen such an ensemble of talented and pricey artists at one time.
All this cannot happen unless there are people interested in watching such shows. Dehradun is full of academic institutions and the young crowd is very eager to participate and enjoy a variety of entertainment shows. They are not just satisfied watching soap operas with family at home. They actually love the cumulative energy generated in the company of youngsters while cheering for their favourite stars.
There is also no dearth of local sponsors. The organisers find it easier to manage events in a smaller city like Dehradun. Several local professional event management companies are ready to take on new projects.
The vibrant and conducive environment of the valley also provides a great opportunity for the state authorities to use this transformation in a positive way and make Uttarakhand a favourite destination not only for Bollywood but the entire entertainment industry.
So, it’s time to rest your TV screens, come out of the four walls of your homes, unwind yourself and enjoy cultural performances and shows in the open air with your loved ones. What are you waiting for?
(Alok Joshi is an HR Advisor, freelance writer and author of “12 Sweet and Sour Years in China”)